Camp Invention participants survived an alien planet and “greened up” a polluted city

DeForest Camp Invention photo
Students learn about landfills in "Saving Sludge City"
DeForest Camp Invention
Students took apart old broken appliances to make a new Rube Goldberg type machine

The nationally acclaimed Camp Invention program came to De Forest this summer.  Created for children entering grades one through six, the exciting Camp Invention program is a week-long adventure in creativity that immerses its participants in engaging, hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as history and the arts.  The DeForest program was held June 20-24 at DeForest Area Middle School, and was directed by Rachel Bohlman, 2nd grade teacher at Eagle Point Elementary School.

“We are focused on the STEM subject areas that will help the United States address a critical shortage of scientists and engineers in the global workforce of the 21st century,” explains Michael J. Oister, Chief Operating Officer for Invent Now, Inc.  “Our programs nurture creative thinking in children, providing them with open-ended opportunities to explore ideas, make mistakes, and reinvent solutions.”

Each day, children rotated through five integrated modules that employed creative thinking to solve real-world challenges.  Children learned vital 21st century life skills such as problem solving and teamwork through imaginative play.

In this summer’s CREATE program, children were challenged to survive harsh living conditions after crash-landing on an alien planet in the Problem Solving on Planet ZAK® module.  They instituted green city design by employing eco-friendly water filtration and safe waste disposal systems in the Saving Sludge City module.  In the Imagination Point:  Ride Physics module children uncovered the science behind thrill rides as they build model roller coasters.  By popular demand, all Camp Invention programs include a module in which children participate in high-energy games that challenge their minds and bodies, as well as a renowned invention module, in which children upcycle pieces and parts of discarded household appliances and other donated materials to create new machines.

Since Camp Invention’s inception in 1990, the program has grown to include over 1,100 school partnerships in 49 states.  In 2010, more than 65,000 children participated nationwide.  The Camp Invention program was created in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which continues to support Invent Now’s mission to inspire creativity and inventive thinking in children of all ages.  Regional program sponsors include ZPS Patent Solutions.

DeForest Camp Invention
Students learned about centripetal force before creating their own roller coasters

The Camp Invention program has been featured in Child, Principal, and Better Homes and Gardens magazines, as well as dozens of other publications and educational journals.  The program has also been the focus of National Public Radio’s Science Friday and was studied by Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.  In a recent survey, 90 percent of parents said that the Camp Invention program helped their children to enjoy science.

Every program participant received a Camp Invention T-shirt featuring clever, new artwork.  To learn more about Invent Now programming, visit or call 800.968.4332.

DeForest Camp Invention
Camp Invention instructor and De Forest teacher Barb Bauer explains water use and filtration to campers

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