Camp Invention keeps kids thinking

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By Kelly Cantrall

A local camp works to keep light bulbs burning bright in children’s minds even through the lackadaisical days of summer.


Camp Invention at Hardin County Schools runs at G.C. Burkhead Elementary School this week, after  a stint last week at Meadow View Elementary School. The camp gives incoming first- through sixth-graders an opportunity to stretch their minds during the summer with problem-solving and new skills in multiple areas.

Students focused on three areas Wednesday morning and many sported interesting headgear — it was “Crazy Hat Day.” 

In one room, students learned about electrons and static electricity. In another, children broke codes to gather directions to build a clubhouse.

In a third room, campers built mazes with cardboard paper towel rolls and duct tape that were being tested with a “nano,” a bug-like robotic creature that scurried through the mazes and found flaws in students’ creations.

G.C. Burkhead hosted about 50 campers  from area private, public and home schools. Some attended through scholarships from Dow Corning. Carla D’Alessio, director for the camp at G.C. Burkhead, said many students return year after year.

Mary Kirsten Reilly first attended after finishing kindergarten — and she’s about to enter middle school.

“It was really fun and it made me think of things in a new way,” Reilly said of her first year.

Campers also take apart household items and try to create new tools with them, “which was kind of awesome,” she said.

D’Alessio said she loves watching students think problems through and create interesting innovations.

“You see the twinkle in their eye,” she said.

Emily Pierce, an incoming sixth-grader, said students learn a lot every day and meet new people with whom they might go to school.

Reilly said the camp can be helpful for school work during the year.

“It teaches you a lot of math and science, but it teaches you how to solve problems and think on your feet,” she said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.