The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

July 26, 2013

DACC offers new camp to inspire youngsters

BY CAROL ROEHM
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — A new summer enrichment program for youngsters that emphasizes engineering and entrepreneurialism will be offered for the first time next month at Danville Area Community College.

Camp Invention, which is in partnership with Invent Now, will inspire creativity and inventive thinking through “real world” challenges for first- through sixth-graders. The camp will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 5-9 in the Mary Miller Complex on the DACC campus.

“This is a brand new activity we’re offering for the first time,” said Kathy Sturgeon, dean of DACC’s Math, Science and Health Professions Division.

“I always wanted to offer a camp that was engineering related,” she said.

After speaking with a representative from Invent Now, Sturgeon said she knew this was the type of camp she wanted to offer.

“The whole idea of the camp is to get kids into the entrepreneurial part of engineering,” she said.    

This year’s camp curriculum is “create.” The camp will be led by DACC instructors Susan Foreman, who is a former NASA engineer, and Wendy Brown, who will teach the biology sections of the camp.  

The activities featured are:

Problem-solving on Planet Zak — After crash landing, use critical thinking skills to create shelter and clothing, find food and ultimately build a spaceship to blast off for home.

“The students will plan what they’re going to wear to survive and rebuild their spaceship,” Sturgeon said.

Saving Sludge City — Help save the pollution-filled Sludge City. Construct eco-friendly buildings and transportation, decontaminate the city’s water and generate green solutions.

“Sludge City has overpopulated itself, and students have to develop strategies to filter water, get rid of trash and rebuild the city at the end,” she said.   

Geo-Games — Design sporting and game equipment, get wet and go wild as global games are fused with dynamic, high-energy activities.

“Students will be redesigning games,” she said. 

I Can Invent: Launchitude — Put physics to use taking apart machines and re-engineering them to create a Duck Chucking Device to destroy competitor duck territory.

“The most important aspect of the camp is I Can Invent,” Sturgeon said. “The students will receive a list of appliances and things they can bring in from home. They literally take the object apart and use the parts to build a device for rubber ducks.”  

“Students in today’s society don’t understand how to invent or how something is invented,” she added. “The camp also teaches them the importance of sustainability and repurposing.”    

In addition, the camp includes a leadership component for junior high, high school and college students who are too old to participate in the camp’s activities.

“It has some leadership skills training for high school and college students, and junior high students can participate as assistant camp counselors,” Sturgeon said.

Twenty-two youngsters already have registered to attend the camp, but there is room to accommodate about a half-dozen more children.       

The cost of the weeklong camp is $220, but an additional discount exists for online registration at http://www.campinvention.org.

Invent Now is a nonprofit organization that partners with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and nationwide schools to provide enrichment that instills creative problem solving and teamwork through hands-on application of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). In 2012, more than 1,100 schools districts and more than 77,000 elementary students nationwide participated in the Camp Invention programs.

An extensive website featuring the Camp Invention may be found at http://www.campinvention.org.