Students at Butler Elementary’s Camp Invention get hands-on experience

 

Jay Molony already knows what he wants to do with one week of his summer a year from now.

The 9-year-old Elmhurst resident returned June 16-20 for the third consecutive year in which Butler Elementary District 53 has hosted Camp Invention.

The program was created at Invent Now, an Ohio-based nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention everywhere, promoting creativity and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“I’ll definitely come back again next year,” Jay said. “I tried it the first year because I just thought it would be fun, and I really liked it. It’s been fun every year because we do some different things each year.”

After having his most fun a year ago while making a catapult-like rubber duck launcher, making a pinball machine and a model car tied for the top spot on this year’s highlight list.

“This program is about getting them to think outside the box,” said Kirsten Schramm, a Brook Forest School instructional aid who was assistant director for the 2014 camp at Butler Junior High. “We give them the foundation and then encourage them to really think while they’re doing things.”

Camp Director Christine Grollo said teamwork also is a focus for activities. The 2014 camp had 107 students, including 21 from District 53.

“We want them to have a good time and work together while they explore things,” she said.

Camp Invention was comprised of five modules: Super Go, in which students made model cars; Amplified, in which use of the five senses were the focus; Design Studio, during which students made invention-related crafts; Pinbug,” which offered the opportunity to make pinball machines using parts from other devices; and Energized, which focused on group play.

“This is a great opportunity for them to really put thought into what they’re doing as they’re doing it,” said Adam Nicholson, a Brook Forest teacher who taught Pinbug and is a former Camp Invention participant himself. “This class is kind of like reverse engineering — they take things apart to see how they work and use the part to make a pinball machine.”

Brook Forest student Collin Clark, 6, was glad he was signed up for his first Camp Invention this year.

“You get to do more things than you do in school,” he said. “I want to come back again next year.”

While some of the projects for students in Camp Intervention seem complicated for students heading into first through sixth grades, 8-year-old Ana Bareno of Westmont found the key to making it more simple.

“If you listen to directions, it’s not too hard,” she said. “All you have to do is listen to the teacher, and it’s fun.”

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