'Camp Invention' puts STEM in summer learning

July 14, 2017 05:01 PM

LATHAM - "Camp Invention" is back at Shaker High School in Latham. The national program has been held there locally for the last three years. The kids love it and they're learning about STEM while they're at it.

For example, students are trying to figure out how to survive on a new planet and food is one of them. They really seem to have a hankering for cheese. In addition to cheese, they came up with crystal trees that create water.

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"They’re going to learn how to terraform a planet. They're going to learn about what they need to live on a different planet," explained Anthony Mezza a leadership intern.

Their new planet is called "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse." Each group created their own that included a secret handshake, of course.

"We’re exposing the kids to lots of different ideas at a young age, so if they can grab something that they're passionate about, follow it through their educational career and hopefully into their professional careers later on," noted Brian Ashline, the camp director.

Another classroom had a farm theme.

"Our warthog and our big chicken came in and they stole all of the little chickens, they put them inside of our bucket and the kids are supposed to be inventing something to rescue the little tiny chickens from being fried for the warthog's dinner," explained Danielle Bornt an instructor.

"It’s not like there's like a lesson where you have to make it this way. There can be someone who has the same idea, but three people make it totally different way and one might work and one might not," pointed out 12-year-old Mason Dils.

Once they rescued the chickens from the bucket, the next mission was to build a slingshot to get them back to the farm.

"Our hope is that they find fun in STEM activities now, so that later on when they're picking classes or they're picking careers that they feel like this is something they can do and really enjoy," reasoned Bornt.

So far, so good.

"This camp, you're learning everything you need to learn, but you're also having a great time," beamed 10-year-old Ansen Chamberlain.


WNYT Staff

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