Ready, set, learn.
Lakeville students are primed to tackle Camp Invention this week when it opens today at under the guidance of Terri Tech, who in addition to other duties, is a substitute teacher in Lakeville.
The camp, rooted in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, gives students, who are entering first through sixth grade, an opportunity for what Tech calls a "hands-on educational experience."
Students will get the opportunity to work together in the week-long camp to build a clubhouse, decipher mysterious codes and tear apart broken appliances and revamp them into multi-step inventions akin to a Rube Goldberg-type machine, which performs a task.
Taught by local educators, each Camp Invention program consists of five modules, which comprise 32.5 hours of prgramming. Typically delivered in five consecutive 6.5 hour days, all five modules align with national and state education standards and are designed to meet the needs of varying age groups through primary and intermediate activities.
“It is a great camp and we always have an amazing week of fun and learning,” Tech said of the camp.
And apparently so do children.
Started in 1990 as an outreach program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum, Susan Clarke, regional coordinator for Camp Invention in Minnesota, said the nonprofit has grown to 48 states. Last year, 66,000 kids participated in various summer programs.
“It’s learning with a twist,” Clarke said. “Everything is open-ended. There are no right or wrong answers.”
Camp Invention touts four different programs, which rotate annually through participating schools so kids have a chance to try different activities each year.
This year Lakeville is equipped with the SPARK program, which offers five different daily lessons. They are:
• W!LD: Wondrous Innovations and Living Designs module, which give the children an opportunity to learn about inventive animals and their characteristics, like mimicry or snails that create iron-plated armor.
• The Curious Cypher Club, which challenges students to solve a daily coded message to earn materials to build a clubhouse, aimed at building teamwork.
• Bounce! An Atomic Journey, which teaches children about chemistry and physical science where students conduct experiments and create a bouncy ball to take home.
• Game On: Power Play, which challenges children to use nontraditional equipment to play classic games.
• I Can Invent: Edison’s Workshop, which challenges students to tear apart a broken appliance and re-imagine it into a multi-step machine that solves a challenge.
The I Can Invent workshop is the signature unit of Camp Invention and anchors all four programs.
“(The children) would be perfectly happy to do that all week long,” Clarke laughed. “They love investigating how things work.”
At the end of the week, family, friends and community members are invited to Kenwood Trail to see what each student made.
WANT TO SIGN YOUR KID UP?
HOW: You can register by visiting the Camp Invention website or calling 800-968-4332. Walk-ins are welcome on the first day of camp, which starts at 8:30 a.m. Monday at Kenwood Trail.
COST: $210—scholarships are available
WHAT A DAY LOOKS LIKE:
A day at the Camp Invention program is packed with hands-on activities, brainstorming, experimentation, and unbelievable action! Although daily activities are widely diverse and vary based on the program being hosted, as well as the number of participants, here is a quick glimpse of what a typical day of fun at the Camp Invention program looks like...
9 a.m.—Children are signed in by their parents and join their counselor and age-appropriate group at the Base Camp area. During this gathering period each morning, they might build a newspaper tower or learn the Camp Invention cheer.
9:15 a.m.—Children move to their first module, during which they might be crash-landed astronauts on an alien planet! After assessing their strange new surroundings, children might be challenged to design shelters and spacesuits that are able to withstand the planet’s harsh conditions and acid rain.
10:20 a.m.—Children enjoy a morning snack.
10:30 a.m.—Children move to their second module, during which they might find themselves in safety goggles and using real tools to take apart and investigate small appliances.
11:40 a.m.—Half of the children gather in the common area for lunch, while the other half indulges in high-energy games and activities in the gymnasium or outdoors.
12:10 p.m.—Children who ate lunch earlier now work off that energy by switching with the other group, who now gather in the common area for lunch.
1:05 p.m.—Children move to their next module of the day, during which they might explore Newton’s first law of motion by conducting an experiment based on a magician’s tablecloth trick or participating in a relay race that demonstrates the concept of inertia.
2:10 p.m.—Children move to their final module of the day, during which they might clean up a simulated landfill that is leaking toxic chemicals into groundwater.
3:15 p.m.—Children gather in the Base Camp area with their counselor, where they might create a marshmallow sculpture or create soda pop fountains until their parents arrive.
3:30 p.m.—The fun comes to an end, and children are signed out by their parents.
Source: Camp Invention