“[Camp Invention] helps them retain [what they’ve learned] rather than just answering questions out of a book — they’re actually doing something,” Assistant Professor of Biology and camp coordinator Merry Clark said.
For example, students had to work together in teams to construct a “duck chuck” device from used electronics they brought from home. Small groups of campers built with the devices an apparatus to launch a rubber duck under the scenario that the ducks, each from different countries, were migrating with their flocks and got lost along the way. Thus, the groups tried to launch their duck the farthest in order to catch up with their flocks.
“They brought in VCRs, clocks, DVD players, keyboards, computers — all that kind of stuff,” camp counselor and Mission Road Elementary School teacher Anita Webb said. “The other thing is they have to get along and work together, which is usually the biggest problem, but they’ve really done well with this.
“The major rule is they cannot touch the duck. They had to build a launch pad and [launch the duck] at least 10 feet to be in the running for the competition.”
While working on the “duck chuck,” Alexandra Kanturek, an exiting fourth-grader from Pine Log Elementary, along with her group, applied one of the most integral tools that all Southern inventors, young or old, have used at one time or another when working on a project.
“We’ve been using lots of duct tape,” Kanturek said, adding she also enjoyed learning about Earth science during the camp, such as volcanoes and earthquakes.
Students also had to construct a model and provide an explanation to real-world problems and scenarios.
“There was not enough room in Singapore so we had to find a solution to make more land there,” Cartersville Elementary School exiting fifth-grader Alex Cliver said. “The team I was in, we thought of [building] land up in the sky on multiple levels, so you would have separate areas of land you could rent.”
Webb explained, “They were trying to utilize separate areas of land, so a lot of them put [the areas] floating in the sky, in tunnels ... One of the [challenges] was the water in Honduras was being polluted so one of the groups designed a netting system that cleaned the trash, but we didn’t want to ruin the marine life, so they had a sonar-type sound that emitted from [the net] and it scared the fish away and they also had baiters to keep the fish away.”
Cliver said his group learned to work together to apply their ideas to their projects.
“We kind of all had our ideas and we put them together,” he said. “We had three people to a group ... and we put each [idea] into one big plan.”
Cliver said he plans to apply some of what he learned at Camp Invention when pursuing his passion — inventing.
“I kind of just like making stuff,” Cliver said. “I’m definitely going to be an inventor when I grow up and I love science.”
Clark said six campers received camp scholarships through contributions from Chemical Products Corporation.