Blasting Into Summer

Welcome to Summer!  That time of year when teachers can rejoice, recharge, rejuvenate, and renew for the upcoming school year.

I spent my first official week of summer at Camp Invention.  We built castles with flags on a pulley.  We had a joust.  We built snowball launchers (AKA slingshots).  We created targets and launched rockets.  We put together Bubble Blasters.  We truly had a blast this week!

The kids enjoyed creating and building with recyclable materials.  They thoroughly enjoyed designing and bringing their ideas to life.  Most of them didn’t seem to care when their Snowball Launchers failed.  (We didn’t have quite the right materials.)They had a blast just using their creative talents.  They couldn’t have been happier getting soaked when we launched their Bottle Rockets.  They may not remember the complete definitions of lift and trajectory, but they will always remember how far their rocket flew and how wet they were afterward.

I love Camp Invention.  There are no guided reading levels to attain.  There are no assessments to prepare for.  There are no RTI groups to facilitate.  We just had fun!  We had fun learning.  We had fun creating.  We had fun challenging ourselves to new heights.

If you, your child, your grandchild, or someone you know and love, gets a chance to participate in Camp Invention, don’t pass it up.  You will revel in an experience that makes learning and having fun synonymous in way that was always meant to be.

Each group added to the original castle constructed. The kids were all excited the next day to see how their castles had changed.
These castles formed an alliance and a treaty. These words weren’t part of our content, but we learned them anyway.





Snowball Launcher (AKA Slingshot)
Target practice!

Camp Invention

This summer I participated in Camp Invention.  This is an amazing program designed to engage kids in STEAM activities.  Kids will participate in challenges and activities designed toward problem solving and 21st century skills.  I was the facilitator of the Maker Studio of the Epic Park series.  Students going into grades 1-6 rotated through the activities every day.  In Maker Studio the kids bring a machine from home to take apart.  The idea is to learn how the item works by reverse engineering.  As kids take the machine apart, hopefully they are learning what each part is and what each part does to make the machine work.

Camp Invention 3

Camp invention 2

Camp invention 4

These youngsters learn how to use tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, pry bars, and allen wrenches. They learn about power sources with batteries of different voltages.  They learn about manual power sources such as a hand crank.  They watch videos of inventors that challenge their problem solving skills as well as their creativity.  After a few days of taking apart the machines, these young inventors get to start planning how they can re-purpose the parts into new inventions.  The Camp Invention program supplies all materials needed.  The kids bring take-apart machines from home and recyclable materials to use in various projects and inventions.  Campers brought old VCR machines, flashlights, radios, DVD players, mixers, and many other types of machines to take apart.  One camper brought an old sewing machine.  They also brought many, many, many different recyclable materials:  egg cartons, boxes, carpet squares, legos, puzzles pieces.  You name it, someone probably brought it.  It took two large classroom to hold all of these materials.  On the last day of the week long program, campers showcase their inventions and parents visite the showcase to see all of the wondrous learning that has taken place.  This was an exciting week!  There are many different kinds of summer camps:  baseball, football, soccer, and just about every other sport camp imaginable.  Some communities offer various music camps.  Camp Invention is a place for those kids not interested in sports to go for a week of summer fun.  Don’t get me wrong though, Camp Invention is for all kids!   Every child who participates will walk away with new ideas, concepts, creations, and inventions.  Every child will walk away with a sense of accomplishment and a keenness to keep inventing!

Here is a link to the Camp Invention website.  Check it out, you won’t regret it.