GREENFIELD — From solar-powered cricket robots to slime chemistry, projects at the first Camp Invention at J.B. Stephens Elementary School gave students plenty to keep them interested.
Camp Invention, which recently drew 77 first- through sixth-graders to the elementary school for a week-long day camp, draws its ideas and curriculum from the nonprofit elementary summer enrichment program backed by the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Students were split up into groups and tested their science, technology, engineering and math skills with four different modules throughout the week, said Amanda Bradford, J.B. Stephens’ dean of students, who oversaw the camp.
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In addition to five Greenfield-Central School Corp. teachers, the camp received supervision through three parent volunteers and five leadership interns — high school students from Greenfield-Central and Mt. Vernon school districts, Bradford said.
Tyler Mullen, a second-grader at Weston Elementary School, had to figure out how to keep his solar-powered cricket robot, or Crickobot, from being eaten by a theoretical spider during one module.
The next day, he and other students had to devise a plan to get their plastic and metal Crickobots across a pond.
In the “I can invent” studio, the campers cannibalized defunct electronics like clock radios or TV remotes to attempt to make new inventions.
Sarah Stonerock, a Maxwell Intermediate School fourth-grader, took on the challenge with enthusiasm.
She combined a computer fan with LED lights in an attempt to construct a deep-sea camera.
“I’m trying to make a camera to go deep where humans can’t go so we can study marine biology,” she said, adding it was a lot of fun to play and invent with the electronics.
Bradford said she and other teachers involved with the camp were thrilled with the turnout and hoped to draw 100 students to Camp Invention next year.
Kay Lithgow, a fifth-grade teacher at Greenfield Intermediate School, said she hopes to use some of the camp’s curriculum during her math and science classes; she’s particularly interested in recreating an activity that uses a coordinate grid on the floor to plan a tower, which is later knocked over by cars.
She said the project kept students engaged and taught them a lot.
“We had so much fun every single day,” she added.