Camp Invention whets scientific curiosity

Camp invention art
Scientific show and tell capped the showcase at the recent Camp Invention hosted at Radford University's Center for the Sciences and Reed-Curie Hall.

Radford University's Center for the Sciences bubbled with curiosity and creativity June 23 as more than 80 Camp Invention participants joined their families for a showcase of youthful innovation.

Between its classrooms in Reed-Curie, diverse showcases of science and technology in the Center for the Sciences and its staff, the camp had a distinctive Radford flair. The staff features alumni and practicing teachers who appreciate the way the campus enhances the teaching and learning environment. The five-day camp has been hosted at Radford since 2009.

"Radford is great places to help children discover what science is all about," said Elizabeth Nuckols '09, who led the “Have a Blast” section in which the elementary school-age students launched rockets they made and crafted sling shots. "The kids can do cool stuff that they don’t usually do in the classroom and design and build things that actually work."

Other sections included the Duct Tape Billionaire in which the students used the ubiquitous adhesive to fashion a product and then discussed bringing it to market. In Mission Space Makers, they used laboratory procedures to explore a planet upon which they landed. In Operation Keep Out, they converted circuit boards and parts from items they had disassembled into a Spy Gadget Alarm box.

camp invention art
Maddie Sexton, left, and her mother, Christy, review the Camp Invention experience at the camp showcase.

“It was fun taking things apart and seeing how they work,” said Maddie Sexton, a rising 6th-grader at Wallace Middle School in Bristol, Virginia. “I really liked it and want to come back.” 

After issuing the obligatory “don’t try this at home” warning, Maddie’s mother, Christy, said, “It is nice to see her expand her interests and be curious about how things work.”

Camp Invention Director Erin Buttery '07, a nine-year veteran of operating the camp, said she is always struck by the enthusiasm for science and innovation the camp ignites.

“After a week of focusing on STEM subjects and activities, it is exciting to see the students begin to appreciate the many applications of science to their lives,” Buttery said.

The Radford University site also makes this camp distinctive, she said. 

“No other Camp Invention has such a rich site for immersing children in its space and innovation-oriented curriculum,” Buttery said. “The Planetarium and Museum of the Earth Sciences are treasures and the displays and labs help make the topics and opportunities for the kids come alive.”

Jun 27, 2017
Don Bowman
(540) 831-5182