Miami Valley students learn STEM skills at Camp Invention

Local News

BELLBROOK, Ohio (WDTN) – Some students here are choosing to spend their first week of summer vacation back in the classroom.

Tuesday, Bell Creek Intermediate School held its second day of Camp Invention, a national summer STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program for K-6 grade students. This year’s week-long day camp at its Bellbrook location attracted enough participants to split into two groups.

Camper Lucy Carpenter returned for a second year after enjoying a similar camp in 2017.

“I hear this year they were going to be doing a lot of fun robot stuff and I’m really into robots,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter’s classmate Landon Brown said the activities fit into his aspirations to become an engineer.

“I kind of want to be a roller coaster engineer because I really love roller coasters and that type of stuff,” Brown said.

Big-name sponsors supply the camps with high-quality materials Bellbrook-Sugarcreek STEM teacher Dee Van Brackel said aren’t typically within a school district’s budget.

Four different hands-on activities included learning about miniature, self-driving robots, designing smart homes with green technology, putting together and taking care of robotic pets and building prototypes of inventions meant to solve real-world problems.

Van Brackel, who also serves as camp director, said the program gives students an early advantage in a growing STEM field.

“Bottom line, that’s where the jobs are,” she said.

The director explained Ohio employers were looking to fill more than 100,000 science and computer skill – related jobs in 2017, but the state typically graduates fewer than 1,000 students in those career fields. She said she hoped building those skills will encourage more kids to pursue STEM.

“I’ve got my kindergartners coding,” Van Brackel said. “So as they pick this up and they understand it, they’re going to be able to take this so much further as they get older.” 

To learn more about Camp Invention or find a camp near you, click here.

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