After several days spent dreaming, designing and creating at the first local Camp Invention, the students are aiming high.
“I never thought I could actually invent something and here, I have,” said Stubbe, 9. “I especially never thought I could work with something electronic, and I am. It’s kind of exciting.”
Stubbe is one of 43 area children spending the week at Washington State Community College for the camp, designing roller coasters, creating and crash-testing safety devices for cars and skateboards using water bottles and eggs, and, in the largest project, taking apart home electronics like VCRs and radios and creating something new from the parts.
“The first thing they have to learn is patience, and then how to work in a team,” said camp instructor and Marietta Middle School teacher Connie Frazier. “Perseverance is something we’ve also talked about.”
The trial-and-error part of inventing and engineering is sometimes frustrating, said Marietta Middle School sixth-grader Ryan Myers, 11, but the camp is showing him how to get past it.
“You problem-solve and you think through it,” he said. “Then you go back to what you were doing and think harder. It works out.”
With the most important rule simply to think outside of the box, the students are able to achieve a higher level of thinking, said camp director Tangie Rumbold, coordinator of gifted services for Marietta City Schools.
“This gives kids an environment where they can create,” she said. “It’s all hands-on. They spend five minutes of each session listening to the instructor. They come in every morning excited and when they leave they’re all saying to their parents, ‘Guess what I did today?’”
The campers will have a chance Friday to share everything they’ve created this week at a 2:30 p.m. showcase in the commons area of Washington State’s main building. The showcase is open to parents and interested community members. Marietta Mayor Michael Mullen will proclaim Friday “Young Inventors Day” in the city.
By Wednesday, the roller coasters the students have built filled the walls of the building, a demonstration of much of what they’ve already learned.
“It was hard once we started trying to add in more drops and making sure it didn’t lose speed,” said Zebadiah Offenberger, 11, of Waterford. “But it worked out better than I thought it would.”
And the process doesn’t even begin to compare to the feeling the students get once they’ve completed a project, said Myers.
“It feels really cool to do something, to put something together,” he said. “It’s an amazing experience.”
MITCH CASEY The Marietta Times
Teammates Abi Watson, 11, left, Kaylee Lang, 14, and Mason Cline, 9, work to find parts from old computers and appliances to create a new machine Wednesday during a building event at Camp Invention at Washington State Community College.
Fact BoxWhat is Camp Invention?
¯ Originating in Akron, Camp Invention is a program used nationwide to encourage students to explore science and creative problem-solving.
¯ Projects vary from having students learn to survive on a fictional planet to letting them build new things from dismantled household electronics.