The Robotic Pet Vet module at Camp Invention this year will give students the opportunity to nurse their robotic puppy back to health and design and build a bark park.

Camp Invention comes to Wayne Elementary

From June 11-15, students in the area will be immersed into the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to find their inner inventor.

Camp Invention, a nationally recognized nonprofit program, partners with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to offer a new way of learning.

Camp is open to children entering first through sixth grade. In Wayne, Camp Invention is hosted at the Elementary School and runs from 9 a.m. until 3:30 each day for the duration of the camp. Campers bring their own sack lunch. 

Now it its fifth year at Wayne, the camp gives students an opportunity to use critical thinking skills and encourages them to be resourceful while having fun. 

"There are four different modules or sections that they spend about 75 minutes in," said camp director Sonya Tompkins

This year's modules are called Optibot,  Robotic Pet Vet, Mod My Mini Mansion and Stick to it.

Tompkins went on to describe the four modules in more detail.

In the Optibot module, campers will construct a self-driving robot that can sense changes in light.

The Robotic Pet Vet module allows campers to nurse their robotic puppy back to health as well as design and build dog parks.

In the Mod My Mini Mansion section, students are designing and building a smart home.

And finally the Stick To It module is the module that changes each day. Camp Invention campers will build something new each day and learn about patents.

Part of the fun of camp is the deconstruction.

"There's always one module where they take something apart. In previous years, obsolete appliances have been brought in and they take it apart and use those pieces to build something new. It's fun to see what's on the inside. This year Camp Invention is supplying the take-apart item rather than have parents try to find something. It also goes along with their curriculum to have this specific item."

Campers rotate modules throughout the day.

"They go through the four sections throughout the day but there's always Camp Invention games that we play outside each day. Usually water is involved in that," Tompkins said. "They have two modules, then they go to games and lunch and then they go to the other two modules in the afternoon."

Campers bring recyclables on the first day of camp to go toward the storage room, Tompkins said. Then after the camper has designed their invention, they are able to go into the storage area to get the supplies they need to build their design. 

This teaches them the engineering process and encourages them to be creative and resourceful in their builds. Some times it all comes together, and other times Tompkins said, students get to learn that just because it looked okay on paper doesn't mean technology will do what we want it to.

But regardless of the success of each project, students are learning how to work with their hands and think critically.

"The whole time is hands-on creating. Every day they have a message from someone who has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. That group is who come up with the curriculum for the camp."

Thanks to generous support from the community, there shouldn't be any reason financially that a student can't participate.

Wayne State College and Rod Tompkins each donate to the camp to make scholarship funds available to students who would otherwise not be able to attend. There is a limit on scholarship monies, however, so early registration is the best way to ensure availability. 

The camp finale includes a show for family members to come see what their student has created during the week. 

"They get to go through all the different rooms to see the creations their children have made and stories behind those creations."

Camp Invention serves more than 140,000 students each year -- roughly 65 of those students are attending Wayne's camp. Students don't have to be Wayne school students, however, to participate.

"It really helps them to think outside the box. Rather than saying ''here's a situation, here's how to deal with it,' it's 'here's a situation, how do you deal with it?' " 

The Wayne Herald

Mailing Address:
114 Main Street
Wayne, NE 68787
Phone: 402-375-2600

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