Camp Invention offers new opportunities for Zionsville students

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Children at Camp Invention create tracks for the Optibot , a small, self-driving robot that senses changes in light. (Submitted photo by Ken Torisky)

By Ben Traylor

Zionsville Community Schools students entering kindergarten through sixth grade, and others from the surrounding area, recently the opportunity to join a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) based summer program at ZCHS.

The program, called Camp Invention,  was held June 11 through June15 at the ZCS Freshman Center.

“(Camp Invention) is a totally hands-on environment that encourages creativity,” said Darren Hale, Zionsville Camp Invention director. “Students get to work with peers and learn about new concepts. Most of them are fascinated with being able to take apart and build new things with (materials) they’ve brought in. It certainly stimulates and fosters imagination.”

Concepts taught during Camp Invention are regulated by the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The organization, based in Alexandria, Va., oversees all programs at Camp Invention sites and ensures a consistent and seamless curriculum.

“The advantage of Camp Invention is based in its curriculum,” Hale said. “The national office tests new things every year. They have time to test out everything and ensure everything works. It’s scripted and any problems in the activities are fixed before we even get it. It really doesn’t compare to any other summer camp for students. There are some half-day and science camps, but none of them combine the inventing and teamwork quite like Camp Invention.”

Hale said teaching students those disciplines creates a unique experience that they will take with them in the future.

“While there are some individual portions of this camp, 90 percent of it involves working with other kids,” Hale said. “Most of the time, these are (peers) that they have just met. It teaches students to work with people they’ve never met before almost immediately, one of the most important skills we can teach students.”

Additional camps in the surrounding area will be offered until mid-July. For more, or to find the nearest location to register, visit campinvention.org.


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