Camp Invention held for Anoka-Hennepin students

School’s out for summer – but wheels keep turning in inventive young minds.

To satiate children’s inquisitive intellect, Camp Invention was offered at Anoka Middle School for the Arts Fred Moore campus.

In partnership with Invent Now, Anoka-Hennepin School District’s Community Education Department hosted the week-long, enrichment day camp for children entering grades one through six.

The adventure kicked off June 17 and immersed children in imaginative play that reinforced and supplemented school-year learning in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math.

Children worked together to seek innovative solutions to real-world challenges and sharpen critical 21st century learning skills as they rotated through four modules each day.

“It’s so neat to see kids so young get so excited about learning, resolving, creating, inventing. Every day everything is so different and they work so hard – they love it,” said Camp Invention Director Julia Wippler.

In the Cache Dash module, children navigated their way to treasure-filled caches and solved global challenges presented by youth from around the world.

In the Ecoverse module, students invented tools to reveal hidden messages while exploring the earthly realms of sky, sea, land and underground.

In the Amazing Atlas Games module, classic high-energy games were fused with global fun.

And in the Launchitude module, Camp Invention campers used real tools to take apart broken or unused appliances (donated by parents) and then re-engineer the gears and other components to invent a Duck Chucking Device.

(In this fictional scenario, the Duck Chucking Device was needed in order to return ducks lost during international migration to their home country. Rubber ducks were used for this assignment.)

Local educators facilitated the Camp Invention modules with high school and college students serving as leadership interns.

In addition to lessons in science, technology, engineering and math, campers simultaneously practiced social skills, team work, cooperation and leadership.

“Their minds are so free and open they get so much out of this and they’re having such a good time,” Wippler said.

This year 81 students participated in Camp Invention – double the number of students from last year.

“That tells you how much the kids love it. We’re hoping it grows every year,” Wippler said.

As a climax to Camp Invention, students showcased their inventions to parents with a Friday afternoon presentation staged in the middle school auditorium.

And then, students took home their newly-invented tools and devices, and leftover items from the take-apart collection were bagged up and distributed so that each camper could take one home and continue their inventive ways.

“I’m going to do this again next year. I like science and math and this is so much fun – more fun than regular school,” said one satisfied Camp Invention camper, who wished to remain anonymous.

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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