Carroll County Public Schools recently completed five week-long sessions of Camp Invention Connect through a continuing partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF). The virtual camp focused on hands-on STEM activities where students from several elementary schools had the opportunity to collaborate on problem solving, creation, and invention.
More than 160 students participated in engaging activities that led to a design challenge using materials that were delivered to their doorstep. They investigated topics such as flight, sports complex design, entrepreneurship, and ecosystem rescue.
Students met virtually at the beginning of each day with their coach, a CCPS teacher, and 8-10 team members to prepare for the day, specify the challenge, identify important equipment, review safety constraints, and get motivated. Each day ended with collaboration between team members and their coach regarding design sharing, challenges that were tackled, areas where perseverance was necessary, and celebration.
Approximately 15 educators served as coaches during the camps. In addition to the guidance they provided to students, these educators benefited from this professional learning opportunity by gaining experience in a virtual collaborative environment.
According to Danielle Midkiff, a teacher in the PRIDE program, “This was a wonderful experience. It was great to see the kids actively engaged in learning
and science in a virtual world. The students were asking questions, showing their inventions and praising and complimenting each other. It was great hearing them refer to the campers and their camp friends! By the end of the first day I felt like we were connected and I knew them as learners.”
Monica Moreno, a teacher at Sandymount Elementary School, also considered the camp an amazing experience for herself and the students who participated. “The variety of inventions and creations gave them an opportunity to explore and take risks without leaving the comfort of their home. I noticed how much they grew as explorers. Watching students from Kindergarten all the way to 5th grade interact and share ideas made coaching the camp so worth it,” Moreno said.
Camp participant Zayda Sanda said, “Camp Invention was so much fun! I loved the activities they had us do and they pushed us to take our creativity to another level. My favorite activity was taking apart the robot and learning about how it works on the inside. I learned that it has this goo to help the gears move so they don't get stuck. Camp Invention is a place I recommend to future inventors.”
Carroll County Public Schools (CCPS) places great value on the continued and expanding relationship with the National Inventors Hall of Fame to provide these opportunities for our students.