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Camp Invention leads students to learning through having fun

Rick Wagner • Jun 8, 2013 at 10:52 PM

KINGSPORT — Some elementary school minds have been busy this past week designing pollution filters, “chucking” ducks, finding their way off another planet and changing game rules.

“They don’t really realize they’re learning. They just think they’re having fun,” said April Heard, a fifth-grade teacher at Kennedy Elementary School and director of Camp Invention.

The weeklong camp finished up Friday afternoon at Kennedy, where 35 rising fourth- and fifth-graders from Kennedy and Roosevelt elementaries in the Lynn Garden community of Kingsport have spent the week in four modules of science-related activities.

“It’s innovative, real-world science action,” Assistant Superintendent Dory Creech said.

This marked the first time Camp Invention has been held for Kennedy or Roosevelt children, although it was once held a few years ago at Jefferson Elementary.

It has four modules:

•For I Can Invent: Launchitude had students used either slingshots or catapults to hurl rubber ducks 10 feet back to their country of origin, which tied in some geography to science as ducks from Madagascar and Australia were hurled home.

Preston Ware, a rising fifth-grader at Kennedy, said the “duck chucking” was his favorite.

“We used a slingshot,” Preston said.

Sara Lord, a rising fourth-grader at Roosevelt, said her group used yardsticks to make a slingshot.

•In Problem Solving on Planet Zack, students crash landed on a planet, where they had to find food, build shelter and then build a ship to get back to earth.

“I enjoyed making the spaceship to go back home from Planet Zack,” said Haley Gilliam, a rising fourth-grader at Roosevelt.

She said balloons, paper plates, toilet paper tubes, cups and other things went into making the ship.

•For Geo-Games, students played games from across the world but changed the rules to adapt them for themselves.

Seth Hilton, a rising fifth-grader at Kennedy, said he liked playing mancala, an African game that uses people in place of game pieces.

The program also had children change the rules of “tag” by shrinking the boundaries.

•In Saving Sludge City, students designed a filter to take pollution out of the water and then rebuilt the city.

“I liked Sludge City because we got to build a model city of it,” said Jake Campbell, a rising fifth-grader at Roosevelt.

Students who participated got a T-shirt, and lunch and snacks were provided each day.

Students brought in items to recycle at the camp, including old computers, and the items were integrated into the inventions. One catapult was mounted atop a remote-controlled car.

Twins Bailey and Brooke Graham, rising 10th-graders at Daniel Boone High School were interns for the camp. Instructors were Christy Gardner and Crystal Holland.

Friday ended at the camp with parents coming to see a 2:45 p.m. showcase of invention.

Other summer programs in the school system and elsewhere in the greater Kingsport community are available and still may have slots open. For more information, go to the city system website at www.k12k.com.

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