Camp Invention tests creativity

Sophia Lopresti, 7, disassembles a computer to be repurposed at Camp Invention at Strong School.

Sophia Lopresti, 7, disassembles a computer to be repurposed at Camp Invention at Strong School.

By TAMMI NAUDUS
STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

This past week, more than 100 local students converged on Strong School for Camp Invention. The second annual camp is a weeklong summer adventure with lessons that explore connections between science, technology, engineering, and innovation.

Children worked together to seek solutions to real-world problems, children turn ordinary into extraordinary and sharpen critical 21st century learning skills

“This year we have a full house of 110 elementary school children, 10 middle school children, and 11 high school students. We have five instructors and an assistant director.” site director Dave DeStefano said in a release.  “The students rotate through several modules during each day of the program.”

Each module had a specific focus. In the KartWheel module, children let their engineering skills glide them across the finish line as they build, enhance, and upgrade their very own freestyle racing cart. Campers explored the development of a product from scratch during the Design Studio: Illuminate module.

In the I Can Invent: Next Level Gamers module, participants recycled unused appliances to create a physical video game model. Finally, in the Inducted module, personalized video challenges from National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees are introduced along with hands-on activities.

The middle school and high school students work to assist the elementary students on a mentor level.

“The rules aren’t as strict as at home.  Here they will not get in trouble for making a mess and taking things apart,” said Cole Brock, a sophomore at Southington High. “A lot of these kids will come in not knowing how to use a screw driver, but by the time they leave at the end of the week they can tell you how to take apart a computer

The older student mentors are not limited from joining in all of the fun activities.  “My favorite part so far this week was when we helped the students create their own shields,” said Daniel Yu, and eighth grade student mentor from DePaolo Middle School. “We the used them in a game where we threw water balloons at each other and whoever got the least wet was the winner.”

Students were encouraged to bring in any items from home that may be able to be repurposed and used to create something new.  They collected items such as milk cartons, used cereal and snack boxes, empty yogurt containers, old water bottles, tin cans, and duct tape—lots of duct tape.

Lauren Fritz worked on a project using a cereal box, water bottles, an empty roll of paper towels, and tape.

“I’m building a car-slash-van.  It’s going to be like a micro house…I am also going to test it out to see if it will float, using the water bottles,” said Juliet Murphy. “I made a birdhouse using a basket and some bells.  It was the most fun project that I did, I love to build stuff.”

Students also tried their hands at circuit-wiring as a team.  “We have to put in the batteries to make the switch go off,” said Jack Breen. “We have to figure out the path to make the lights work.”

The week culminated with a showcase presentation where parents were invited into the school to view the children’s inventions.

To comment on this story or to contact staff photographer Tammi Naudus, email her at TNaudus@BristolObserver.com.

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A group works together on a circuit board.

A group works together on a circuit board.

Derek Thibault and Haley Hardenburg build a robot.

Derek Thibault and Haley Hardenburg build a robot.

Juliet Murphy and Paige Raines work together on their project.

Juliet Murphy and Paige Raines work together on their project.

Kaira Simonson, 7, peeks out of her project.

Kaira Simonson, 7, peeks out of her project.

Kyle Gagnier constructs a shield out of cardboard  to be used in a game.

Kyle Gagnier constructs a shield out of cardboard to be used in a game.

Lauren Fritz enjoys her craft.

Lauren Fritz enjoys her craft.

Sophia, Margaret, Jake, and Griffin try to build a robot out of recycled materials.

Sophia, Margaret, Jake, and Griffin try to build a robot out of recycled materials.

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