Unleashing Creative Genius:
Camp Invention Returns to Radford University
RADFORD -- Lucas Guest has lofty ambitions for when he grows up.
“I want to cure cancer,” said the “8-and-a-quarter-year-old” Guest, an aspiring biologist and chemist who is sharpening his scientific prowess this week at Camp Invention on the Radford University campus.
Throughout the week, school children who love to explore new ideas and tinker with the unknown are satisfying their curiosities at a camp designed to engage the young students in learning more about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Guest and fellow rising third grader Jared Wharton were part of a group using screwdrivers and pliers to take apart disposable items they brought from home, such as old computers, VCRs and DVD players. The purpose of the dismantling was to gather parts for a project later in the week in which the campers will invent and create gizmos to help, with a little imagination, solve a problem.
“One of the kids said it bugs him when his sister jumps on his bed,” said Ashley Buttery, a Camp Invention teacher and RU 2009 graduate. “So, he will use his imagination to invent a device that might – if he uses his imagination – make his sister fly back to her room.”
While sister-tossing mechanisms were being meticulously designed in one room of RU’s Curie Hall, another group was building robots and another was out in the sun discovering the mathematical properties of bubbles using homemade blowers and a small pool filled with soapy water.
For the second consecutive year, RU’s College of Science and Technology is sponsoring Camp Invention, which is designed as a summer enrichment program created specifically for rising first through sixth graders.
"The College of Science and Technology is pleased to host Camp Invention for aspiring scientists and inventors,” said CSAT Dean Orion Rogers. “The students experience creative problem solving and the thrill of discovery in the laboratories and teaching facilities of Reed and Curie Halls. Director Ann Brown and her dedicated staff of teachers and counselors provide campers opportunities for learning science and having fun while exploring prospective college majors in science and technology."
Each session at Camp Invention is taught by educators from local schools. Throughout each day, students engage in activities to help them explore cultures from around the world and experience the joys and frustrations of being an inventor.
Since its inception in 1990, the Camp Invention program has grown to include nearly 1,500 sites in 49 states. In 2009, more than 65,000 children participated nationwide. Approximately 60 children are expected to attend RU’s Camp Invention.