Lifestyle

Camp Invention brings innovation to the classroom

A room full of mixed-age children sporting safety goggles and screwdrivers, tables full of old electronics and teachers monitoring the orchestrated destruction of past technology equaled Camp Invention this week.

"Our campers are from all over the county including South Kitsap, Bremerton, Belfair, Central Kitsap and North Kitsap," Patti Nelson said.

Nelson, director of the Camp Invention program and fourth-grade teacher at Sylvan Way Christian School in Bremerton, said the school is in its third year offering the Camp Invention program. The popularity of the camp continues to grow because children are challenged with hands-on activities that foster creativity, teamwork, science literacy, and inventive-thinking skills, she said.

The program was this week from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily and ends today with a showing of the inventions created by the campers.

It was created in 1990 by the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, with support from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, according to Invent Now Kids, the subsidiary company that provides education enrichment for the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation.

The program's top priority is to provide quality enrichment activities for children entering first through sixth grades and to enhance their understanding of science, math, history and the arts.

Each day, children rotate between five thematic modules that build upon what was learned the previous day. The program's integrated curriculum align with national and state education standards, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

"Teachers from all over the county take part in this program," Nelson said.

Michael J. Oister, president of Invent Now Kids, said the program helps schools make the connection between fun and learning to motivates kids to learn using the "hands-on, minds-on" education model.

"We're getting to the root of innovation by providing motivation to learn, create and excel, particularly in the critical areas of math and science," he said.

During this summer's Camp Invention program, children had the opportunity to become the first to find the hidden treasure of the Vikings in the Viking Treasure Trek: The Quest Begins module; engineer and build the next great land vehicle in the Land Sled X-Treme module; learn how superheroes fly and create their ideal comic book star in the Comic Book Science: FlyJack and Jill module; and take apart discarded household appliances and create new inventions in the I Can Invent: Complicated Machines & Fantasy Inventions module.

"Camp Invention provides a hands-on science and creativity day-camp that disguises learning as fun," Nelson said. "It engages the campers because it is action-packed, uses inquiry-based learning, brainstorming and inventive-thinking skills. I love that it provides an immersive classroom environment that feeds into the sensation of fun and 'cool.' The campers leave camp with their incredible inventions, an inventor's kit to continue inventing at home, a new t-shirt, new ideas, enhanced thinking skills, new friends and a great summer memory."

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