It’s Camp Invention!

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kids kept up their creativity and problem-solving skills Tuesday as they worked to clean polluted lakes and took apart electronics as part of Camp Invention at Albert Lea High School.

Twenty students in first through sixth grade will complete five classes this week that build their creative thinking, brainstorming and science skills, said organizer Tiffany Severson.

“They love it,” she said.

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This was the second year Camp Invention was available in Albert Lea. The camp began in 1990 in Akron, Ohio.

Each class focuses on a different subject. Even recess has planned activities for the kids, Severson said.

“The curriculum is awesome,” she said.

Kids rotate through Fantasy Inventions and Complicated Machines, Saving Sludge City, Art Park, Moving at Rocket Speed and Recess Remix.

In the Fantasy Inventions course, students take apart electronics that no longer work and will build a machine that launches water balloons. Saving Sludge City has kids analyzing a simulated polluted lake and working to clean it up.

“I can’t wait until we actually save Sludge City,” said 9-year-old Spencer Kurth of Albert Lea.

Kurth said his favorite part of the camp so far was the Sludge City and Fantasy Machines classes.

“It’s really, really fun,” he said.

Art Park gets the students working together to build a totem pole for a sculpture garden, while Moving at Rocket Speed has the kids build a rocket to Mars and figure out how to communicate with Earth.

“It’s awesome,” said 9-year-old Lauren Wetzel of Wells. “You get to do a lot of fun stuff.

“It’s really fun, and I’d like other people to try it,” she continued.

The classes and projects are not set up as a classroom atmosphere but more of a camp. The kids are separated into two groups that alternate back and forth on projects and classes. Each group has a designated teacher and counselor that travels with them to each class.

And each project is hands-on.

“A lot of kids learn better with their hands,” Severson said.

“It’s pretty fun,” said 10-year-old Ben Haugen of Albert Lea as he took apart a DVD player.

At 2:45 p.m. Friday the camp will culminate in an inventors showcase, where students will show off the projects they worked on all week. Parents and friends are invited to the showcase.

Students at the camp came from Alden, Wells, Albert Lea and Mason City, Iowa.

Camp Invention was made available to area students through District 241 partnering with Community Education. The camp pays local teachers to instruct the classes based on Camp Invention curriculum.