Innovation at the heart of annual Camp Invention

Published 9:09 am Thursday, June 22, 2017

Broken pieces of keyboards, DVD players and even an old boom box were strewn across the classroom floor, as campers gleefully tore the old electronics apart Tuesday.

Tearing apart old electronics was the first step in the curriculum for campers in the Operation Keep Out class of Camp Invention at Bowmar Elementary. Later in the week, the campers will use the disassembled parts to construct alarm boxes and circuits.

The week-long camp at Bowmar is the fifth and final Camp Invention hosted by the Vicksburg Warren School District this summer.

This is the 11th year the VWSD has held Camp Invention, which uses a curriculum developed through a partnership between the U.S. Patent Office and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

“It is an imagination camp,” Bowmar camp director Tondia Ferracci said. “It is STEM for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“It is really feeding into careers and academics more so than typical summer camps that might be athletic or sport oriented, church oriented. It is a different category all together.”

Throughout the five sites, 338 students participated in the camp including 81 at Bowmar. Many of the students were able to participate thanks to 300 camp scholarships provided by ERDC through the Army Education Outreach Program. This is the seventh year that ERDC has sponsored Camp Invention scholarships.

The campers participated in a Mission Space Makers class that included launching rockets and learning about space, a Duct Tape Billionaires class where they learned about inventors and worked to make items out of duct tape and the class Have a Blast where they learned to use engineering skills.

“We made a rocket ship, we are doing shooting thingys, slingshots,” camper Maxwell Robinson, 10, said. “I like this class [Have a Blast]. I think this class is really cool because you are able to build cool things. In the beginning, we made a castle and it had to be as tall as the tallest person in our group.”

The goal of the camp is to take the STEM lessons in science, technology, engineering and math and use them to build and create.

“I like how we build and we’ve taken apart the things we brought to Camp Invention,” camper Jonathan Anderson, 11, said. “We’ve been doing castle building and team exercises and I think it is a good help. I brought a DVD player. It took a while, because we had to take two structures out. That took us like two days to do.”

The camp is open to students preparing to enter first grade through those that will be starting 6th grade in the fall.

“Everything,” camper Carson Porter, 6, said of what he liked about the camp. “We went through a maze thing, a rover race. We were acting like we were the rovers.”

Activities throughout the week included launching rockets, building snowball fight slingshots, building water rockets and building a UV light circuit.