Students delve into science

FAIRMONT – From making “bionic hands” for use in the deepest part of the ocean, to assembling a “pinbug” machine out of old electronics, Camp Invention is the place where science and imagination go hand in hand.

“It’s so exciting to see kids excited about learning,” said Char Kahler of Fairmont Area Kinship.

About 45 students from grades 1-6 are participating in Camp Invention this week.

“There are four stations the students rotate between throughout the day,” said Brad Haugen, director of the camp. “There is amplified, morphed, super go and the I Can Invent: pinbug. The ‘pinbug’ one is we’re taking things apart, and making those things into a pinball machine that has a bug theme.”

The amplified station involves the five senses, while the Super Go station involves a basic car model that students find different ways to propel.

“Yesterday, they were propelling them with a fan,” Haugen said. “Today, they’re being connected to batteries. They thought they were going fast yesterday, wait until today.”

The morph station is a design studio.

“They’ve designed a car of the future, the theme there is just designing something new,” Haugen said. “They can take something and invent something new out of it.”

The event concentrates on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) while giving students many fun, hands-on activities.

At the end of the camp on Friday, there will be an inventor showcase at which students will display the items they have created during the week.

“The main thing is to show that all inventions came from big ideas,” Haugen said.

“It’s fun with science,” said Kellyn Walsey, one of the Camp Invention teachers. “It’s a hands-on opportunity for them to enjoy science.”

Camp Invention was brought back to Fairmont this year in part to a grant from 3M to Fairmont Area Kinship. Martin County Youth Foundation provided some youth activities scholarships.

“The support of the sponsors and the organizations has been so great,” Haugen said. “And the school is phenomenal in doing this. We’ve already set a goal to help 75 students get to Camp Invention next year.”