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Students enjoy hands-on STEM activities

| June 28, 2018

COSHOCTON – Tracey Herron was more than willing to help when she heard about the chance to expand Camp Invention opportunities for students in Coshocton County.

“We were contacted last year about the possibility of opening it up to more kids in the county and I thought it was a super idea,” she said.

Herron was the site director for the camp held June 25-29 at Warsaw Elementary School, where she is the principal. Camp Invention has been held in Coshocton for a number of years, but this was the first time two sessions of the program were offered to students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Seventy-eight students attended Camp Invention at Warsaw. They also had a counselor in training, who is a student in seventh through ninth grade, and several leadership interns, which are students in 10th through 12th grade.

“One of the teachers at my high school recommended this to me,” said Alicia Lonsinger, one of the leadership interns. “I’ve loved it and working with the kids. I’ve got to have fun and help them learn things. It’s been neat to see the different age groups and how they learn differently.”

The teen volunteers and teachers from Warsaw who donated their time to the camp led students in modulars called: Robotic Pet Vet; Optibot, Mod My Mini Mansion and Stick To It. Lessons in each were presented to the students at their grade level.

“In Robotic Pet Vet we provided robot dogs that they were able to take apart and see how the anatomy worked,” said Patricia Holmes, associate director of development for the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Camp Invention is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Holmes makes visits to the camp sites and was in Warsaw on June 27.

Students tested their robotic dogs for different health problems and made them collars and leashes.

Luke Prouty, who will be in kindergarten this fall, really enjoyed working with his dog, which he named Alex.

“They make noise and you can move his head,” Prouty said.

Zackary Richards also liked this part of camp.

“I liked the dogs and really everything else,” said the first grader.

Fourth grader Kelsey McCleelan liked the robotic dogs and camp overall.

“I love science and creating new things,” she said.

Ava Donnell, another fourth grader enrolled in camp, agreed with her.

“I like trying to make new things and inventions,” she said.

Holmes said the students get sent home with activities they can do with their families and they receive an invention log to work on.

“Our inductees have to document their ideas and research before they can get a patent,” she said. “We give the students these to experience that and at the end of the week they get a mock patent certificate.”

In addition to practicing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills, they also worked on 21st Century Skills such as problem solving, learning to work together as a team and reverse engineering.

“If you don’t get them interested in STEM before fourth grade research shows they will start self eliminating and saying science and math are too hard, but these are the areas right now where you see the fastest growing number of jobs,” Holmes said.

Herron said the camp was a positive experience for her teachers.

“Everyone has been commenting on how well behaved the kids are and we’ve realized that it is because they are engaged with the hands-on activities,” she said. “We’ve been talking about how to put that in to our real classrooms. The camp has been a win-win for all of us.”

Herron was very thankful for the sponsors that made it possible to bring Camp Invention to Warsaw and lower the cost from $225 a camper to only $25.

“We’d love to be able to do this again next year,” she said. “It’s been awesome.”

Local donors to the Camp Invention program in Coshocton were: The Coshocton Foundation, The Montgomery Foundation, Simpson Family Donor Advised Fund of the Coshocton Foundation, Edwin F. Mulligan Endowed Fund, Ralph D. & Judy P. Wisenburg Fund, Coshocton Kiwanis Club, Coshocton Rotary Club, and Dean’s Jewelry.

“The Montgomery Foundation is very interested in the education of Coshocton County’s students and its citizens,” said Linda Scott from the foundation. “Camp Invention adheres to STEM philosophies that can be very valuable and we felt this was something important to be available to all students. I’m glad we had the funds available to help expand the program. I hope it is here for a long time and continues to grow.”


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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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