Photo courtesy of Concetta Amey
OJ McGrudder is working on a STEM project for Camp Invention Connect.
Coweta elementary and middle school students participated in Camp Invention Connect, a virtual science, technology, engineering and math camp.
The camp is managed by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and locally it was coordinated by Mary Thompson, REACH teacher at Ruth Hill Elementary School.
Thompson said the camp is normally held face-to-face, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the camp has been held virtually this year and last year.
“It’s hands-on STEM where they do all kinds of things through STEM,” she said. “It helps build their confidence and promotes problem solving and collaboration.”
As the camp was going virtually, the students each received a box with bags of supplies they would need in the mail for various activities.
Camp activities included building a microphone, launch pad, solar-powered robotic crickets, and a customizable vehicle.
Thompson said students also learn about inventors and what makes inventions possible, in addition to STEM concepts.
The students were given instructions to complete the inventions, but the projects were open so that the students could make any adjustments or modifications, if they discovered a different way to accomplish the task, Thompson said.
After projects were completed, students shared with others through Google Meet to compare and discuss their inventions.
For Maira Hollis, camp coach and music teacher at Northside Elementary School, CIC was the first time she had taught virtually.
“I taught (at camp) face to face, and I thought the students might not be as engaged or might not have enough content to spark their interest throughout the time, however, they were engaged from start to finish, ”she said. .
Due to Hollis’ unfamiliarity with virtual education, she relied on students who had experience in virtual education.
“I had someone in charge of the chatbox, and if there were any difficulties, that person would let me know,” she said. “It created another leadership role for my students, which they came to love.”
Hollis said she had a box with the same supplies the students had. When camp started in the morning and everyone met via Google Meet, Hollis said she would show a replica of what the students would build that day so they could familiarize themselves with the project.
Hollis said she showed the students how to put the invention together before giving them time to try it out.
“I was watching them step by step to make sure they could do it. Some were in kindergarten and I wanted to see them, their struggle and their victories,” she said.
According to Thompson, 12 students were able to attend the camp thanks to full scholarships provided by Yamaha and Golden’s on the Square. Camp Invention Connect will be held again in winter. For more information on Invention Connect Winter Camp, contact Mary Thompson at [email protected]