Source: Sherman Publications

Shooting Stars
Young scientists invent gadgets

by Wendi Reardon

August 08, 2012

Laura Lemerond studied the parts of the VCR as she took apart the machine during Camp Invention on July 24.

She was looking for pieces she could use to pop a water balloon in the I Can Invent module.

Lemerond and everyone else in the room were learning about simple machines, and they needed to pop a water balloon. They took apart items from home and used the parts and their thinking and creative skills to make a machine to pop the balloon.

I Can Invent was one of five modules at this year's Camp Invention. This year's program was called Encounter. The other modules included Inventeureka,Magnetropolis, Action and Adventure Games, and Gadget Garage: Widgets,Gizmos and Contraptions.

In Inventeureka the campers took an adventure in the Ci6000 Space Modulator Time machine.

"They explored the world of invention," said Missy Ludd, a teacher at Sashabaw Middle School. "They traveled to various destinations. We met Leonardo DaVinci, who was inspired by birds. It took the world by flight.Then, they are inspired to come up with their own idea from an invention to either change or make it better."

They also learned about mash-up - taking two inventions to make one like the camera phone.

In the Magnetropolis module, campers rebuilt a barren island while learning about magnets and the Earth's magnetic pull. They explored the island after learning how to use a compass. After rebuilding the island they had to find a way to bring people to the island with light.

The scientists went to work in the Gadget Garage by creating different gadgets. They used a gear box on July 24 for their motion challenge to keep rabbits from a garden, make an ant amusement park or wind ropes.

"They create with a gear box so the gadget moves around," said teacher Beth Rogers. "They talk and brainstorm."

The campers learned about teamwork while playing games both physical and mental in Action and Adventures.

This year's Camp Invention had 98 participants in grades first through fifth.

Dennis Klenow added there were a lot of returners. Some included counselors in training who have been going to Camp Invention since they were in first grade and are now going into sixth or seventh grade.

Camp Invention is sponsored by United States Patent and Trademark Office, Ford Motor Company Fund, The Dow Corning Foundation and Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association.

Camp Invention is offered through Clarkston Community Education. For more information, visit or call 248-623-4326.