Photos courtesy of the Massapequa School District
From electricity to robots to space, elementary students in the Massapequa School District explored a variety of scientific concepts at Camp Invention. The annual summer STEM program was held from Aug. 8 to 12 at Unqua Elementary School.
The camp touched on all the core principles of STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students were led by certified teachers with assistance from leader interns from Massapequa High School and middle school-age leaders-in-training. Campers rotated among four different stations each day, along with snack and lunch.
In the spacecation center, students constructed an astro-arm to use throughout their journey. They made discoveries about ice on the moon, studied planets and the asteroid belt, and observed an egg that eventually hatched to reveal a mystery animal.
Children put their engineering skills to the test in marble arcade. After learning about potential and kinetic energy, they built their own marble mazes. The young scientists learned about force, motion, pushes and pulls by exploring simple machines.
Robotic aquatics combined robots with marine science, as students built devices to retrieve florescent jellyfish and created aquatic habitats. They had a blast when they programmed Link robots. In the attic, children solved riddles to learn about different inventions such as the motion picture projector and the sewing machine. They also used different battery-powered devices to make artistic masterpieces.
“It’s fun and you get to create stuff,” Kaitlyn Considine said of Camp Invention. Entering third grade at Lockhart Elementary School, this was her first year taking part in the program and she enjoyed making friends from the other schools in Massapequa.Teamwork is one reason that East Lake Elementary School fifth grader Jack Turkewitz is a repeat participant in Camp Invention. His favorite center this year was robotics.
“I like science, I like the hands-on projects and I like exploring and working together with my friends,” he said.
High school student assistants, known as leader interns, are a valuable asset to Camp Invention. They ensure that children get to each station and help the teachers implement the lessons. Massapequa High School junior Carlie Brophy worked with the program for the second time after a great experience last summer.
“I enjoy helping the kids create, be inventive and persevere,” she said. Carlie added that many of the projects are challenging, and she encourages them to keep trying and work through different solutions.
Program coordinator Heather Kulok explained that Camp Invention is an interactive program, with activities designed to keep children engaged.
“They’re coming up with the scientific concepts and scientific ideas through discovery and exploration,” she said. “It’s an experience that they will never forget.”