Camp Invention arrives in Frisco
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
FRISCO ” As storms rip across Planet Zak, a cluster of young scientists fights desperately to build a shelter that will hold up against the strange and treacherous weather conditions. Later this week they will begin constructing another spacecraft to take them away from this dark place, where their first craft crashed just days ago.
The ominous situation has produced nothing but giggles from this band of first- and second-graders at Frisco Elementary while they build their shelter using desks, trash bags and adhesive bandages.
The school is buzzing with budding scientists and their wacky inventions this week as 105 district first- through sixth-graders take part in Camp Invention, a week-long summer program encouraging kids to explore their creative sides.
“It’s a fun learning environment where kids don’t realize they’re learning a lot about science,” said Dr. Laurie Schwanitz, camp director and local pediatrician at High Country Health Care.
The camp, a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, offers more than 53,000 kids across the country opportunities to design and build their own inventions. Each day participants rotate through five classes, which focus on different aspects of science and inventing. District teachers and local high school students and recent graduates serve as instructors.
Down the hall from Planet Zak, kids don goggles to deconstruct appliances they’ve brought from home and use the parts to build their own inventions.
Madison and Meredith Bolthouse, twins who are entering sixth grade at Breckenridge Elementary, said they signed up for the program because they liked the idea of taking apart things and inventing new stuff. As Meredith breaks down a Barbie CD player, Madison disassembles a disc drive. Both girls said they’ve learned a lot.
“Even though it’s easy to use them, they’re really complicated inside,” Madison said of the appliances.
The girls said they would recommend the camp to other kids.
Daniel Acosta, also a student at Breckenridge Elementary, is learning about Newton’s laws of motion by swinging a cup, filled with pieces of cork, on a string. The cup represents a roller coaster car, the cork its riders.
“If you swing the cup faster and harder, the cork stays in,” he said, demonstrating the newly learned principle.
The class will design a miniature roller coaster later this week, once they’ve mastered their understanding of g-force, speed and friction.
Schwanitz, whose son attends Frisco Elementary, heard about the national program at a conference in Arizona. When she brought the idea back to the school district, administrators and the Summit Enrichment Advocates, a parent group, agreed the program would offer a great summer enrichment opportunity.
So far, Schwanitz has received positive feedback from parents and seen a lot enthusiasm from students. The teachers and counselors also said they enjoyed watching the kids learn in such an interactive way.
“It’s fun to meet the kids in the community and see how their minds work,” said counselor Nicole Granati.
Schwanitz said the district is hopeful that it can put the program on again next summer.
For more information about Camp Invention, including information on tuition and scholarships, go online at: http://www.campinvention.org.
Julia Connors can be reached at (970) 668-4620.
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