Critical thinking camp’s focus

Published 8:24 pm Friday, June 10, 2016

Learning can be fun — even in the summer.

Camp Invention was held this week at Warrenton Elementary School for 60 rising first through sixth grade students who wanted to learn more this summer through projects in the science, technology, electronics and math, or STEM fields.

“When you do STEM, it’s critical thinking so we really wanted them to have that background during the summer so when they came back they would know this is the way the engineering process works, this is the way you approach a problem,” Pruitt said.

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Students did a lot of building and creating through fun projects while also integrating language arts with an inventor’s poetry notebook.

“The STEM is going to be incorporated in everything from language arts to social studies and of course math and science,” Pruitt said. “It really encompasses everything.”

The camp met from 8 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. Monday through Friday and was set up in four modules: the Marker’s Studio, Crickobots, Epic Park and Where Pigs Fly.

“They don’t even know they’re learning,” Pruitt said.

Sixth grade teacher Denise Harris led the crickobot module. Crickobots are solar power crickets the students created with a motor, battery and some googly eyes, third grader Camren Nunnally, 8, said.

“When you put a light on it, it will vibrate, and when it’s in the sun it will vibrate,” he said.

He also said he made an alarm and a fan with batteries and motors in the Marker’s Studio with third grade teacher Christine Figueroa. Children took apart old items to see what was inside them and how how they worked before creating a new invention from the parts.

Fourth grader Sydney Swayzer, 9, was proud of the electronic fan she made out of paper. “All I had to do was color this end, hot glue the motor on the back of it and put the battery in between the two wires and it starts working,” Swayer said.

Where Pigs Fly was the lab where “kids are able to do the impossible.” Children made slime, programed robots, used detonators to blow up cups and learned about LED lights, among other things, with lead teacher Ashley Smith.

In Epic Park, students like sixth grader Maggie Steele, 10, made tree houses and slides out of paper towel rolls and water jugs with kindergarten teacher Katina Hunter.

“It’s basically just science and building and rebuilding. Figuring out what went wrong and how you can make it better. Just fun,” Hunter said.

Camp Invention is hosted by the National Inventors Hall of Fame and is entirely funded by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center and the Army Educational Outreach Program.

“They gave us 60 scholarships and paid for all of the materials,” Pruitt said.

The same camp is held this summer at Bowmar Avenue Elementary, Beechwood Elementary, Dana Road Elementary and Warren Central Intermediate.