Students Geo-Quest at Camp Invention |

Students Geo-Quest at Camp Invention

by Caryn Haller
Eight-year-old Alex Wood works to dismantle a VCR at Camp Invention at Minden Elementary School last summer.
Shannon Litz file photo |

Flocks of international ducks landed in the Camp Invention lab Wednesday, and it was up to some ingenious campers to invent a duck-chucking device to send them back to their countries of origin.

“I know I’m going to do a slingshot, but I don’t know how I’m going to make it yet,” said 7-year-old Jeff Lehmann as he scavenged parts from an iHome radio. “I like that we can build stuff and use tools we don’t usually get to use, and it’s fun.”

Today, the campers will use their devices, made from recycled items, to launch their ducks at least 10 feet into their buckets of origin.

The I Can Invent: Launchitude module was one of four campers rotated through learning about global challenges, geography, earth science and more.

In it’s sixth year, Camp Invention is a weeklong summer day program for students entering grades one through six that engages children to discover their own creativity through hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics content.

“It’s neat for kids from all different schools to come together and meet each other,” said director Lauren Spires of the 78 campers. “It’s fun and it’s things kids don’t get to do during the school year, and they’re learning from doing it.”

In the Cache Dash module, Liam Allen, 11, and his group were charged with finding a solution to the excess trash problem in the Honduras.

“We’re making a boat with a net that will only catch the top rubbish and avoid the fish,” Liam said. “We’re building it on a small scale, but if it was bigger, it would work.”

This is Liam’s fifth year at Camp Invention.

“I like that you get to take things apart and make stuff, and it doesn’t have to be the same,” he added. “I also like that you can work in a group instead of by yourself and have a hard time.”

The Amazing Atlas module took campers to places with extreme heat, height, cold, salt and crystals.

The campers went spelunking Wednesday in a dark obstacle course simulating a crystal-filled cave.

“I have a real crystal I got at a shop in Virginia City,” 9-year-old Matthew Geskell said. “I like learning about different places and the heat.”

Todd Gosselin, 7, and his group in the Ecoverse module brainstormed ideas to build a seismoscope to detect earthquakes.

“We’re going to hang a ball from a box so it moves when we shake the table and pretend it was an earthquake,” Todd said.

Camp Invention ends today with an inventor’s showcase at 3 p.m. for the campers to show off their inventions to family and friends.

For more information about Camp Invention, visit