Minden Elementary students invent, learn from electronics | RecordCourier.com

Minden Elementary students invent, learn from electronics

10-year-old Faith Strabala shows off her squid fingers Wednesday at Camp Invention.
Brad Coman |

Ever wonder what to do with those old electronics lying around the house or all the empty milk jugs, cardboard boxes and newspapers? Why not give them to the kids and have them invent something new. That is what 99 kids did at Camp Invention at Minden Elementary School on Wednesday.

Camp Invention is a weeklong event that brings science, technology, engineering and math skills to kids through hands-on activities. Director of the program, Lauren Spires, said it helps build their creativity and strengthen problem-solving skills by using recycled materials, such as old electronics, newspapers and containers to invent something new.

“It’s been neat to see the kids interact with the different modules we have here,” said Spires. “They’re enjoying it and learning while being creative and having fun.”

There were four modules set up in each classroom, which the kids rotated throughout the day. They learned how to take apart electronics and how to reverse engineer them into something different in the ‘Take Apart’ room.

“I learned how to take out screws and put them back together,” said 7-year-old Dominic Salazar. He was creating a robot from an Xbox 360 and was excited when he found the right screwdriver he needed to continue building his robot.

In the ‘Epic Park’ room, kids learned about eco-systems and were building a tourist destination in the rain forest. They had to build roads, homes and power infrastructures with cardboard strips, tape and other recyclables.

In another module the kids learned about squids and had to create a catcher to capture a squid without disturbing their habitat.

“A kid from another group had left behind their catcher and when the next group came through, another child said this doesn’t work, so she made improvements to it,” said volunteer Riana Testa, a leadership intern from Douglas High School. “ It’s been interesting to see them create something new and make improvements to something that doesn’t work the first time.”

The kids also got to battle solar powered spiders and crickets in the ‘Cricko Bot’ room where they learned about the anatomy of insects, weight differences and inventing skills.

“I’m surprised at how much they can do,” said Luke Heinrichs, a senior at Douglas High School and a leadership intern. “They don’t have anything high tech, but only recycled material and are still able to make some interesting stuff and make them work.”