Campers create and innovate at Camp Invention

Instructor Jason Greasley explains and shows campers how an Optibot follows marker-drawn lines during Wilton’s second Camp Invention week.
Campers play with slime as part of Camp Invention’s Stick To It module.
Campers cut out stencil outlines from cardboard to decorate their robotic dogs as part of Camp Invention’s Robotic Pet Vet module.
A counselor-in-training assists a camper in testing the ‘urine’ of his robotic dog in order to find out why it’s ‘sick’ as part of Camp Invention’s Robotic Pet Vet module.

Kendra Baker photos

More than 180 rising first- through sixth-graders engaged in innovative and creative projects at Wilton High School this summer during Camp Invention.

This was the first year two Camp Invention sessions were held in Wilton. The first camp took place July 23 through July 27, and the second took place July 30 through Aug. 3.

Sixty-seven campers attended the first camp, while the second camp had 121 campers.

Since Wilton held its first Camp Invention four years ago, the number of female campers has continually increased, according to second-grade Miller-Driscoll teacher and Wilton’s Camp Invention director, Bryan Ennis — from roughly 25% of campers in 2015 to 45% this year.

The week-long day camps are designed to foster innovation and creativity in students as well as  build self-esteem, teamwork, persistence and goal-setting skills.

Both camps were run by teachers and students. Rising seventh- through ninth-graders from Wilton worked as counselors-in-training (CITs), rising 10th through 12th-graders from Wilton and other towns worked as the leadership interns, and eight Wilton public school teachers served as camp instructors.

Activities

Each Camp Invention features a different theme. The theme of Wilton’s first camp week was “Create,” while the second week’s was “Fast Forward.” Each camp week featured hands-on modules for campers.

During Wilton’s first week of Camp Invention, campers:

  • Wrote a script and designed a science fiction movie, crafted a spacecraft and interpreted weather data in order to design adequate shelter and clothing in the Problem Solving on Planet ZAK module.
  • Rebuilt a polluted city and made it more clean and eco-friendly in the Saving Sludge City module.
  • Brainstormed product ideas and built original prototypes using tools and components found in everyday devices in the I Can Invent Maker Studio module.
  • Worked as design interns for a large, new amusement park and used their creativity and imaginations to design prototypes of rides in the Point: Ride in Physics module.

During the second week, campers:

  • Built robotic dogs, designed them with cut-out patterns, then tested their “urine” to find out what ailed the dogs before nursing them back to health in the Robotic Pet Vet module.
  • Designed their own futuristic smart home filled with gadgets, LEDs, technology and innovations in the Mod My Mini Mansion module.
  • Explored what it’s like to be an inventor and invented new “sticky” things each day — such as magnetic slime — in the Stick To It module.
  • Built their own self-driving robots that sense changes in light and follows marker-drawn lines in the Optibot module. Here is a video of campers playing with Optibots on July 31:

They also participated in a module called Camp Invention Games in the Zeoli Field House, consisting of various team-building games and activities.

Wilton’s Camp Invention is offered through Wilton Continuing Education.

Information: campinvention.org

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