New Castle News

Local News

June 30, 2014

Project showcase wraps up week for young inventors

NEW CASTLE — An inventors showcase filled the walls and halls of Neshannock Elementary School on Friday.

Hundreds of people viewed the works as their young inventors, creators and designers stood by proudly.

The special program wrapped up the week-long Camp Invention Day Camp held at the school.

Camp Invention is a nationwide program that takes place at more than 1,200 sites across the country. Neshannock is the only site in Lawrence County. This is its second year.

Camp Invention is for students going into first through sixth grades. According to director Alicia Measel, a sixth grade teacher at Neshannock, it is “geared toward exploring creativity and critical-thinking skills centered on a hands-on approach to learning.”

Camp Invention focuses on STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — as its key concentrations. Ninety-three children from nearly a dozen Lawrence County schools attended, and at the end of the week each took home various inventions he or she had worked on.

As kids left Friday for the final time, both theirs and their parents’ arms were full of their projects.

Students created pinball machines based on the metamorphoses of bugs; vehicles that could not only run, but also fly and float; water balloon parachutes; bionic eyes and hands; sound catchers; and road course tracks for the cars they had invented. They also learned to upcycle old items many would consider trash into useful or wearable new items.

As one parent was leaving loaded down with inventions, she joking asked Measel why they didn’t send out a memo to bring a U-Haul trailer to bring home all their kids inventions.

Nearly 25 staff members guided kids from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. through the day as campers moved from module to module, where they learned about many aspects of being inventors and worked on their various inventions. Each child kept a log of ideas, blueprints and plans for his or her various inventions. They were encouraged to continue using these journals beyond the camp for new ideas.

Measel said that she could not be more thankful for her staff, whom she said made the week the great success it was.

“I am especially appreciative of the efforts of Connie Fiorante, director of people services at Neshannock,” she said. “She was an integral part of the planning and the execution of Camp Invention.”

Plans are already in effect for next year’s Camp Invention, and kids and adults alike are already thinking about it.

Angelina Fontana, 9, who just completed her second year of camp, was all smiles as she showed off her inventions to her grandmothers. She said her favorite part was “all the cool things we made, like the car and our pin bug machines.”

“I can’t wait,” she added, “for next year.”


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