Camp Invention offers hands-on learning experience |

Camp Invention offers hands-on learning experience

by Caryn Haller

The future of the island of Magnetropolis was in the hands of 62 children this week who were tasked with rebuilding the ghost town, and relighting its towers that will lead ships to its magnetic shores.

Magnetropolis was one of four learning modules students participated in during Camp Invention at Minden Elementary School.

“The goal is to rebuild the city and discover the characteristics and qualities of magnets, and incorporate them into their building designs,” Bill Harvey, Minden Elementary School teacher, said Wednesday. “By Friday they should be able to light up something in their city.”

Sterling Atlan, 10, and her team designed the housing area of Magnetropolis.

“We had to decide what to make the houses out of and what to make the water out of. We made little trees,” Sterling said. “I enjoy having your own ideas about it, and having everybody agree with it. I enjoy doing it.”

During the Inventeureka module Brayden Worthington, 9, and Joseph Yankoskie, 9, used toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, boxes, bubble wrap and duct tape to create a robot.

“It captures bad guys and when you write something on its belly, it pops out,” Brayden said. “It can change into a submarine and a helicopter and it has a grenade launcher.”

The purpose of Inventeureka was to learn about inventions that have changed history and the process of inventing. The children time traveled each day to different countries and galaxies to explore how their inventions could be used.

In the Balloon Burst module children disassembled appliances from home to create a machine that could pop a water balloon.

Six-year-old Jordan Hoffman made quick work out of taking apart a DVD player for her balloon bursting machine.

“It’s actually pretty easy. You just unscrew things,” she said. “We’re going to be able to pop a lot of balloons.”

Volunteer Alex Resney, 14, enjoyed seeing the creativity of the children’s inventions.

“They all have their own way of figuring out how to pop the balloons,” she said. “It’s cute to watch them. They are all so imaginative.”

Outside on Wednesday, campers cooled off in the Action and Adventure Games module with some water laser tag. Players had to protect paper targets on their chest from getting wet.

“It’s awesome,” 9-year-old Ben Hirt said while refilling his cup for a second attack. “Camp Invention is very fun.”

Minden Elementary School hosts Camp Invention every year as a way of keeping students learning during the summer.

“We concentrate so much on reading and math during the year, that there’s not enough time to work with materials and create,” camp director Lauren Spires said. “This gives students the time to discover, play with materials and problem solve.”

For more information about Camp Invention, visit