This past week the Make48 team were invited to see a nationally acclaimed camp called Camp Invention. A program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Camp Invention was started 29 years ago and has grown into a nationwide program. The nonprofit enrichment program, with a strong STEM foundation, aims to unlock your child’s potential and encourages students to be innovative thinkers and find their inner inventor. Using four modules, campers take on four exciting challenges using teamwork and hands-on, creative problem-solving.
Make48 visited the innovative camp, held at Park University in Parkville, Missouri. Led by camp director (and full-time computer science teacher), Keri Martensen, and Laura Leibman, the regional program manager at the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Our team spent the day with 71 campers (K-6th), 4 certified instructors and 10 leadership interns (high school volunteers). We spent time in each of the classrooms, learning about the different modules, and the challenges the campers had to meet. The 2019 Camp Invention modules include:
Deep Sea Mystery Module™: After receiving a message in a bottle, campers dive into an adventure to dig up tools and build survival tools. Among the challenges are learning about fossils and building a boat that carries cargo to navigate their way back home after embarking on a research adventure at sea.
Innovation Force Module™: Superheroes come to life with Innovation Force. Students team up with NIHF Inductees, and campers have to battle the evil Plagiarizer, a supervillain out to steal your ideas. The module is an introduction to inventors and campers come up with their own Superhero identity while learning the importance of collaboration and patents.
DIY Orbot Module™: Campers explore custom-designed robots. During the week the students learn about frequency, circuit boards, motors and gears to engineer a remote-controlled DIY Orbot. The students adapt their DIY Orbot to perform challenging tasks from sports to art to their ultimate task, The Ring of Fire.
Farm Tech Module™: Campers learn how to manage their own farms in this module. With some help from ANN-E, a programmable robot, students learn the basics of running a farm. Aspects include harvesting and feeding cattle, creating hay bale launchers, using coding techniques to maximize their time and profits, and performing mock DNA experiments to check the health of their cattle.
To help create the children’s prototype in each module, the Upcycle Room teaches the campers you don’t have to have a lot of money to invent. The Upcycle Room is an area where students can walk in and find parts for their projects. Donated by families in the community, items include wood, nuts and bolts, cardboard, shoe boxes, cloth, buttons, etc. It shows the campers a way to be creative and design neat products with simple items around the home.
After a week full of creating and designing, the campers put on an Inventors Showcase for their families, friends and other campers. Each group of campers took turns on stage, showing off their superhero identity and sharing the concepts they learned at camp. Thank you to the staff and campers for showing us how much fun summer camp can be!