For the second year in a row, Camp Invention, a national summer enrichment day camp program, has come to Richmond Hill.
Students entering grades 1-6 in the fall were invited to participate in the day camp, which began on Monday.
The weeklong day camp, which ends Friday, encourages inventive young minds through hands-on problem solving using science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a fun and creative atmosphere.
The camp is taking place at the Richmond Hill Middle School and the programs are being taught by teachers within the community.
“It gives the kids a chance to be more creative than we can be every day in the classroom,” said Cindy Youmans, who teaches eighth grade at RHMS. “In the classroom, sometimes we have to be a little more focused, and here it’s more open-ended. It motivates me and gives me practice in letting the classroom be more student-centered rather than teacher-centered when I go back to teach.”
Camp Invent also gives Youmans a chance to work with a different age group than she’s used to.
“Selecting a camp is an important decision for parents and our goal is to provide children with a curriculum that allows them to fully express their inventive young minds by exploring different types of technology through real-world problem solving challenges and building and taking things apart, while still having fun and developing new skills,” said Barbara Myer, Camp Invention director at Allen ISD and District Advanced Academics/Gifted and Talented coordinator.
“Every year, I am impressed by not only the level of thinking and time that goes into the curriculum, but also by the level of fun and excitement that I see on my students’ faces.”
This year’s curriculum is called “Morphed!” It immerses students in hands-on activities, such as building original prototypes and creating a personalized motor-powered vehicle.
“You can just see their little brains working and here them talking and coming up with new ideas,” said Youmans, who taught at the camp last year too. “I like to see the creativity they have.”
Some students will be able to bring old electronics from home, such as a VCR that no longer works, to disassemble the electronics and rebuild it into something new.
This year, students will build an insect-themed pinball machine from their old electronics.
Youmans also said the children will be making vehicles that can morph into something else such as a boat or airplane. On Friday, the children will build tunnels and obstacles where they will race their vehicles.
“Camp Invention is proud to inspire and challenge our next generation of innovators through this nationally acclaimed educational program,” said Michael Oister, CEO of Invent Now, the organization responsible for organizing more than 1,200 Camp Invention day camps throughout the U.S., which serves 80,000 students every year.
“During the past 20 years, we have helped to ignite a passion for creativity and invention in more than 900,000 children while leaving them with great camp memories and lifelong friendships.”
Camp Invention was founded by Inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and it is the hope of those who work with Camp Invention that a child who attended the camp will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the future.
The programming is inspired by some of the world’s most well-known inventors and is developed through partnerships with the USPTO and the Collegiate Inventors Competition.