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Posted: 06/25/14



SUMMER FUN. Above, students worked with volunteers to build a variety of creations during Camp Invention. At left, fourth-grade student Greyson Opatich looks for parts to use for building a pinball machine.

(Observer photos by Chris Gray)

Students learn, create during
2014 Camp Invention

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      The next Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs may have had their creativity ignited last week at Washington Elementary.
       Around 80 students from Romeo, Oxford and Shelby put their brains to work during Camp Invention, held June 16-20 by Romeo Community Schools.
       Sue Trush, Hevel Elementary teacher, has coordinated the program for five years. She said students in grades 1-5 that sign up get the chance to learn about science, inventing, patience and teamwork.
       "I think they're pretty engaged with what they're doing," Trush said. "Hopefully the ideas they generate here will go on for the rest of the summer."
       Each camp has an overarching theme, with this year being "Morphed." Trush said the idea is that students could explore how things change or can be adapted, from designing and modifying vehicles to making the fives senses bionic.
       In four stations, students created a pinball machine, built battery-powered cars, built inventions or explored their senses and how other animals use them. Students were grouped together by grade level.
       Each day also challenged students to invent a new look, such as a crazy hat, crazy hair or mix-and-match.
       To create all these contraptions and outfits, students upcycled materials they brought in during the week, including everything from computer parts and cardboard to duct tape and golf balls.
       Giovanni Cavataio, a fifth-grade student, said it was challenging to create a pinball machine. Even so, his team had a working, spring-loaded launcher and flippers.
       "We're going to make it a little challenging," he said. "It's hard to find all the materials, but we found enough."
       Patrick Grabowski, a soon-to-be third grade student, was putting the finishing touches on his car, hoping to make it go faster.
       "You get to create stuff and it's really fun," he said. "We're trying to make cars like animals and get ideas from animals like sharks, birds."
       Emily Rawlings, who will be a Romeo High School junior in the fall, was one of the nearly 20 volunteers on hand to assist students with their projects. She said she wished she could've enrolled in Camp Invention when she was in grade school.
       "I really like it because all the kids can do a bunch of different inventions and you get to see what they can make," she said.
       Dean Rife of Shelby Township was volunteering through his job at Ford Motor Company, which helped sponsor the week. He said he was impressed by the program and the student's projects.
       "It's great to see them use their creativity," he said.
       Other volunteers included teachers from the district or parents interested in helping out, including a patent attorney and engineer.
       The camp culminated on Friday with an inventors showcase program, where students could show off what they learned and built during the week to their friends and family.
      


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