MIDLOTHIAN

The nationally recognized summer program, Camp Invention, is back for the fifth year in Midlothian. With the highest enrollment yet — over 180 students with the majority of the group female — the students are in for a special surprise.

The main priority of Camp Invention is to “inspire future innovators and build their confidence in the natural ability to dream and create,” according to its website.

The national program campaigned “Invent Girl Power” to enroll more female students to work with STEM.

“Our camp had the most girls sign up during that period. It was pretty neat to see we had the most girls in the nation sign up in our camp,” said the Midlothian Camp Invention Director Kim Moss.

Radia Perlman, an American computer programmer, and network engineer will speak at the camp. In 2016, she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the Internet Hall of Fame in 2014. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate will speak on Thursday about innovation. The speaker will bring in other surrounding camps to learn about perseverance in modern technology.

“It’s a pretty big deal she’s coming,” Moss emphasized.

Camp Innovation is open to all students in the area and outside of Midlothian. Each year the National Inventors Hall of Fame partners with 1,300 schools and districts in all 50 states.

“I think with the direction our school district is going with innovation and designing and thinking, I think it’s been a really big push in our district which is why I think there are so many kids participating," Moss elaborated.

The camp begins the week of July 9, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.—2 p.m at LaRue Mille Elementary. The program is constructed for students in pre-kindergarten to early college students to benefit from the hands-on experiences. Three groups of students comprise the camp. The campers include pre-kindergarten students through fifth grade, while kids in middle school are the "counselors in training" who aid the teachers with workshops and is hands-on with the campers.

“The counselors in training is a way to get those in camp invention who don’t want to quit going to step into a new role," Moss explained. "They help the teachers; they help the students. They are kind of in a transition of being able to lead the kids on their own and being a camper."

The older students serve as leadership interns as camp counselors who help mentor and lead team cheers and undergo training before camp.

“I’m just so excited because it’s a testimony to our school district,” Moss expressed.

Hands-on challenges, teamwork, innovations, collaboration is the primary focus of the activities. Midlothian ISD teachers lead all of the workshops.

With the curriculum changing each year, the 2018 campers will divulge their minds in the future of technology and robotics. The program name is “Fast Forward.”

The National Inventors Hall of Fame arranged the themed curriculum.

The students go through the rotations, and they will be instructed through the modules.

“The best thing about Camp Invention is that they don’t tell the kids exactly how to do something. Instead, they say, ‘hey, this is what you have to do, and these are the materials that you can choose from,” Moss explained.

INNOVATIVE ACTIVITIES

Optibot

Campers will test a small, self-driving robot that senses changes in light. The students will design a track for the robot to follow. With a black, fat tip marker, a student draws a track, and the robot follows it. Students will explore impact sensors with the crash dummy, and discover the usage of sensors in autonomous vehicles. Campers will take their won tracing robot home.

Robotic Pet Vet

Throughout this module, campers will diagnose puppy problems and use tools to take apart robotic dogs and compare their inner mechanics to the anatomy and physiology of a real dog. Students will analyze simple mechanics and circuits used such as motor and verbal functions and lights. This subject helps explore spatial reasoning and design engineering as they construct a dog park for the healthy puppies.

Mod My Mini Mansion

Campers will design their own futuristic home comprised of gadgets, LEDs and technologies. First, students will construct their mini mansion with their imagination and materials. Through the Internet of Things, the students will discover how smart devices are connected and controlled. This exercise will allow the students to explore renewable sources to power up their eco-smart mini-mansions and also change letters into numbers using binary code to create a message.

Stick To It

Every day students will invent something new and explore what it’s like to be a physicist, engineer and entrepreneur. With magnetic slime, campers will create their own dancing dinosaur with the mechanical gearbox in the “Dance to Your Own Beat” challenge. The “Silver lining” challenge will have students create a robotic arm to retrieve silver coins. They will also build a plush cupcake catapult in the “It Will Be a Piece of Cake” challenge. This activity focuses on the exploration of chemistry, non-Newtonian fluids and magnetism.

ABOUT CAMP INVENTION

Camp Invention is the only nationally recognized summer program focused on creativity, innovation, real-world problem solving and the spirit of invention.

Through hands-on programming, Camp Invention encourages children entering kindergarten through sixth grade to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum inspired by some of the world's greatest inventors. Since 1990, the education programs have served more than 1.3 million children, and 125,000 teachers and Leadership Interns.