More than 100 students this week have occupied classrooms of G.C. Burkhead Elementary School to learn and have fun at Camp Invention.
The camp is a nonprofit summer enrichment program that contains modules and activities where students get to build and learn about various inventions.
Last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the camp took an online-only format with students staying home and using materials shipped to their home.
Alisa Nichols, a second-grade teacher at G.C. Burkhead and the camp’s coach, has been involved with the camp for the past 13 years.
Nichols said first through sixth grade students are always on the go, switching between five different classes each day. They are allowed to invent, create and think outside of the box as compared to a traditional classroom environment.
“They learn, but they don’t realize they’re learning,” Nichols said.
Nichols said they have 121 students with nine leaders in training. The cap for the camp is 124.
The total cost of a week of camp for each student is $235. However, Nichols said those who signed up early for the camp received a discount, and there also are scholarships the camp has for students.
Students receive breakfast and lunch while attending the camp. They also leave each day with the projects they work on and create.
Madison Kisselbaugh, a recent graduate of Campbellsville University and a Central Hardin High School graduate, has been teaching the classes for the activity “Road Rally,” where students “design nature-inspired vehicles that can zoom across land and add prototype elements for moving through air and water,” according to a news release.
Kisselbaugh said she is certified to teach kindergarten through fifth-grade students. She said Nichols reached out to her about the summer teaching position.
“I wanted to spend some time with some of the local kiddos here, and wanted to be able to get to know some of them,” Kisselbaugh said.
She said the camp provides all the supplies, materials and lessons, with not a lot of need of preparing.
Kisselbaugh said the camp is another chance for students to learn and develop during the summer.
“This is kind of just a extra little boost for them to grow and continue using their critical thinking throughout the summer,” Kisselbaugh said.
Students are encouraged to bring recyclable items such as milk jugs, water bottles and empty boxes to use as materials for their projects.
Nichols said those who teach classes must adapt their instruction as they work with different grade levels.
Sarah Kolley is a first-year teacher working as a kindergarten teacher at Panther Academy. Her aunt, Nichols, reached out to her about working at the camp this summer.
Kolley specifically has worked with students on the module “Open Mic.”
Students are given an actual microphone, and take apart and learn about it during the camp. Kolley said students also learn about the inventor of the microphone, and also take notes in their logbooks which are also given to the students.
Kolley said they also go through the process of creating an invention, including identifying the problem that a person wants to fix with an invention, and then eventually creating something with materials.
She said the camp is giving students the ability to take risks and create things while also having fun.
“I think for this whole camp in general, not just my open mind is just encouraging the students to be risk takers and to search for solutions,” Kolley said.
The program, which ends today, also has been held this week at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Hodgenville.