Orange students have not put learning on hold this summer. The school district is offering innovative ways to keep students learning and challenging their minds. In July, 50 elementary school students from each of the three schools attended the “Camp Invention Epic” Program at Mary L. Tracy School. “As a result, these students had the unique opportunity to access curriculum inspired by the inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame,” said Schools Superintendent Vince Scarpetti. “Children engaged in meaningful experiences that promoted and supported problem-solving and critical thinking.”
As participants made and adopted their own CrickoBot, they merged STEM concepts and real-world challenges, explored biology and used their own ideas to create new insect-inspired innovations. “Specifically, students learned to power a circuit using solar energy; they utilized the concepts of physics to engineer inventions inspired by the unique characteristics of crickets; and they designed spider bots that moved using a vibrating motor and counter balance,” Scarpetti said. “Youngsters also had the chance to create Epic Parks with zip-lines, water flumes and hi-tech eco-gear.”
The program consisted of four separate hands-on activities including CrickoBot and Epic Parks. In the ‘Where Pigs Fly Lab,’ children explored demolition, coding, squids, slime, and sound-activated lights.
“Each afternoon, our eager innovators donned safety goggles and engaged in authentic exploration by applying reverse engineering principles to disassemble broken appliances, then redesign these into prototypes with real tools,” said Scarpetti, who admitted he had a great time watching the participants create and work as a team. “Each day a new lens was added to the learning to deepen it. Observations and realizations were recorded in a notebook just like the one created by the inventor of the digital camera. Students, teachers, and families were pleased. It was so much fun for administration to observe.”
By Melissa Nicefaro