FRAMINGHAM – Inside a Dunning Elementary classroom, dozens of students were taking apart every thing they encountered. Pieces of electronics, recycled cardboard, and pieces of items may would consider junk were then reconfigured into new items by students. The five dozen boys and girls were part of the first-ever Camp Invention at Framingham Public Schools.
Created by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Camp Invention is the only nationally-recognized summer program focused on creativity, innovation, real-world problem solving and the spirit of invention. The camp partners with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Collegiate Inventors Competition to inspire elementary-aged students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
More than two million curious students have explored, created, and invented with the camps since it began.
This summer, the U.S. Army, Natick Labs, provided the funding for Camp Invention within the Framingham Public Schools, said Christine Tache, who was the director of the 1-week camp at Dunning Elementary at the end of July.
“They paid for 60 students, the entire group of campers, to participate,” said Tache. Students were chosen at each of the town’s nine elementary school by staff. Campers attended the program for five days from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
“It is amazing what is going on in these classrooms,” said Tache.
Annually, Camp Invention uses “innovative curricula that align with state and national education standards” to immerse students into learning and creativity.
Students, entering grades first through sixth grade, using physics, created an Epic Park. The park is located on an island, with a rain forest, waterfalls, steep cliffs, rolling hills, and sandy beaches. Students were tasked with designing and construction water flumes, and other entertainment, at the park.
In the CrickoBotTM lab, campers learned to construct their own robotic cricket, powered by solar energy. Campers also created cricket-sized trampolines and tire swings. Later, the campers investigated the sound crickets make, and participated in a Chirp-Off, where they played their musical instrument inventions.
Finally, in the fourth lab, campers created their own invention using gears, motors, lights, an other spare parts in the Maker Studio.