Summer camp offers STEM focus

STeM program partners with Patent and Trademark Office and Collegiate Inventors Competition

By Denise Dick


Chaney STEM seventh- graders Nathan Austin, Daevon McDowell, Osa Omoregie and Moses Lytle engineered lever launch, hurtling pingpong balls through the air and into a bucket.

The boys racked up the most points of the groups in their session Tuesday at Camp Invention at Discovery at Kirkmere.

Camp Invention, which runs through Friday, offers students in first through sixth grades hands-on activities that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The boys made their launcher using a yardstick as the lever, balancing it on two plastic cups. A small, paper cup at one end held the small plastic ball.

The key, explained Nathan, 11, is how to position the yardstick on the plastic cups.

“If you put it here, that gives you height,” he said, indicating one end of the yardstick.

The other end gives the ball distance. The team put it in the middle, to get the most of both, Nathan said.

“Camp Invention is the educational arm of the National Inventors Hall of Fame,” said Vondea Sheaffer, manager, development and endowment at Invent Now.

The camp partners with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Collegiate Inventors Competition.

“The aim is to spark creativity and innovation,” Sheaffer said.

Students are able to take things apart to learn how they work. They design an invention, logging its development in their inventor’s journals. The camp wraps up with an inventors’ showcase where the students show off their inventions.

“That’s open to the parents,” said Pam Lubich, STEM coordinator at Chaney.

This marks the third year Camp Invention has been offered in the city schools.

Next week, the program will be offered at Taft Elementary School and spots remain for third- through sixth-graders. Participation is free.

Parents should call 800-968-4332 to register their children. Breakfast and lunch are served each day of the camp, and transportation is provided for city school students. Camp sponsors are The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, the Nordson Corporation Foundation and PNC Charitable Trust.

In another session, students build their own video-game models.

A first step Tuesday was creating a superhero and a villain from clay.

Harding Elementary School student Ameer Jackson, 9, called his superhero King Jasper.

“He can fly and hypnotize people to worship him,” Ameer explained. His villain has those same powers.

“The villain uses them in evil ways,” he said. “He gets people to worship him so he can rule the world. The superhero uses them to get people to come to their senses.”

Alvin White, 8, a fourth-grader at Discovery at Kirkmere, pinned his superhero, Legendary, against villain Buttface McGee and McGee’s sidekick Four.

“The sidekick is always with the villain,” Alvin explained.

Golden Paulus, 9, a fourth-grader who was home-schooled last school year, shaped his mound of clay into Iron Man. He hadn’t decided yet what villain to make to face down the good guy.

Eghosa Omoregie, 9, a fourth-grader at Kirkmere, calls his villain, Jeff, and his superhero Zelda. They’re based on a video game.

“He has super strength and night vision,” he said of Jeff.

Zelda has super strength, too, but with laser eyes.

“He shoots lasers out of them,” Eghosa said.

Clarence Franklin’s story involves Superman, Super Kid and a bad guy with tentacles. Just like in the movies though, good triumphs over evil in the Kirkmere fourth-grader’s tale.

“Superman wins,” said Clarence, 9.