Bon Lin camp inspires ‘duct tape billionaires’
For an exciting week this summer, Bartlett-area students who will be entering kindergarten through sixth grade this fall designed their billion-dollar ideas and created products from those ideas. They also explored distant galaxies, were challenged to invent a device to rescue micro chickens and save them from the fried chicken bucket, and created a personalized spy gadget alarm. This was all while having fun and covertly learning about science and business. All of this excitement happened at Bon Lin Elementary 3rd annual Camp Invention.
To become a Duct Tape Billionaire, participants were instructed to improve on an existing product or come up with one of their own. They first had to create a prototype and then their imaginations were free to create the product from recyclables and duct tape. But the creativity didn’t stop there. They created logos, taglines and marketing campaigns too.
At the end of the week, students were tasked to find out what their income statement was by looking at their initial investment (from angel investors and other sources), subtracting their start-up costs and coming up with their working capital. Although no one became a billionaire that week, it did give students insight into the business world of inventing.
There is a whole newly discovered galaxy where students created new environments, starting with explore the new galaxy. Upon “arrival” to the newly discovered planet, students grew new species of trees and waited for unknown animal eggs to hatch.
A returning camper from Arkansas, Hayden Pounders, said, “I love Mission Space Makers because we got to make different planets and crafts for our planets.”
What happens when students take apart an unused appliance or electronic and are given the task to create their own personal Spy Gadget Alarm Box? You have days where students don safety goggles and, with the help of counselors and high school volunteers, they take a hammer or a screwdriver to the old item and are given the freedom to create something spectacular. What might appear to be destructive to the unsuspecting passerby is actually an opportunity for students to disassemble everyday items and see what is behind that plastic case. Then they create something entirely different from the salvaged pieces.
Cohen Clay, a fourth-grader at Bon Lin and a newcomer to Camp Invention, said, “My favorite part of Camp Invention was Operation Keep Out because I got to see what was inside a Hatchimal.”
In the Have a Blast activity, students were tasked to save micro chickens from the fried chicken bucket by creating a device to scoop them from the fryer, which was hung high on a wall, and fling them back to the farm. In addition to saving the chickens, students created various air-powered flingers and slingers. Some were based on slingshot designs, and some were based on rockets made of used soda bottles.
At the end of the final camp day, parents came to see the student products and inventions at the Product Showcase. Excited participants led parents through the stations, explaining what they created or learned.
One of the goals of Camp Invention is for students to take their experiences from the week and continue to use their imaginations and resources to expand their exposure and love of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics).
Lacy Speight, rising 4th grader at Bon Lin and newcomer to Camp Invention, got the spark. She exclaimed, “This was pretty much the best camp I’ve ever been to!”
Written by Becca Priddy, special to the Express.