Particle physics experiments

Hands-on experiences keep students sharp during the summer months


  • Camp Invention is a national STEM summer camp for students from Kindergarten to Grade 6.
  • The program has been in Coshocton since 2009 with Coshocton camps and Warsaw primary schools.
  • This year’s mods included building solar-powered robots, a duck launcher, and reverse-engineering a microphone.
  • In addition to local teachers serving as instructors, high school students also serve as mentors and assistants.

COSHOCTON – Mattie Thomas, a fourth grader at Coshocton Elementary School, is attending Camp Invention for the first time. She was happy to spend part of her summer learning and doing science experiments with her friends.

“I liked it a lot. We can make things up and be with all of our friends,” she said.

Camp Invention is a national program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Using hands-on activities, Camp Invention promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning for children entering Kindergarten to Grade 6.

The program has been in Coshocton since 2009. Almost 100 students attended this week’s camp at Coshocton Primary School. The same camp took place last week at the Warsaw Primary School.

Barb Snyder, a chemistry teacher at Coshocton High School, is in her first year as a camp principal at CES. However, she has been an instructor for the camp since its local launch. Her own children also participated.

“I would have driven my kids to Columbus if it wasn’t for Columbus,” Snyder said. “Children need skills. They need creativity. These 21st century skills are going to be huge. ”

Fourth-grader Gavin Schott works on a morphing car that must be able to adapt to air and sea travel during Invention Camp at Coshocton Elementary School.  The annual STEM camp is a national program that has been taking place in Coshocton since 2009.

This year’s activities include building a device for throwing rubber ducks to learn about physics, designing a nature-inspired prototype vehicle that can adapt to air and water travel, the reverse-engineering a wireless microphone and building a solar-powered robot that looks like an insect. Snyder said the modules included connected lessons like learning about patent law and keeping a journal of their ideas.

Donna Yoder, who teaches math in fourth grade, was in charge of the Road Rally section where kids built and raced vehicles. The prototypes had to be able to evolve to cope with air and sea travel. The idea was to teach concepts on simple machines. Students can take anything they have created, such as cars.

Laura Skjold demonstrates an activity for grade two students during Invention Camp at Coshocton Elementary School.  High school students, many of whom went through Camp Invention when they were younger, serve as assistants.

Yoder said schools in the town of Coshocton focus on developing skills such as teamwork, creative thinking, problem solving and a passion for lifelong learning. She said these are all aspects of Camp Invention and a little different from what they get in the regular classroom.

“I think it’s important for students to see the many jobs that are out there in science, engineering, and math,” Yoder said.

Konner Lipps helps Astrid Ely and Emma Bechtol transform their cars during Camp Invention at Coshocton Primary School.  High school students, many of whom went through Camp Invention when they were younger, serve as assistants.

Carlye Shaw, a fourth-grade language arts teacher, is in her first year as assistant camp director. She has also been an instructor in the past. Along with teachers, high school students serve as assistants. Many went through Camp Invention when they were younger.

Shaw said older students provide assistance to attendees. Additionally, young people generally connect well with those who are only a few years older.

“The kids admire them more than I think they admire the teachers,” Shaw said. “At the end of the week, it’s almost like they’re a teacher. They’re learning new skills and new ways of doing things.”

A home-based version of Camp Invention was implemented last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shaw is happy that they are back in the building this year and believes something like the program is important as the pandemic abates.

“It’s been something normal and familiar. They can be with their friends again,” Shaw said.

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