From building bubble blasters and water rockets to becoming "duct-tape dynamos," Camp Invention is all about the "launch" this year.

The one-week STEM enrichment summer camp kicked off June 5 at Summit Road STEM Elementary School with about 45 students.

Created and sponsored by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Camp Invention has a different theme each year, Summit Road teacher leader Heidi Leeds said.

Sessions are underway at central Ohio schools this week and a few are upcoming, including programs scheduled June 19-22 at Wyandot Run Elementary School, 2800 Carriage Road in Powell, and July 17-21 at Central College Christian Academy, 975 S. Sunbury Road in Westerville.

Students from kindergarten through sixth grade are working through four modules over five days -- Have a Blast, Operation Keep Out, Duct Tape Billionaire and Mission Space.

"Each module focuses on hands-on, inquiry-based education to disguise learning as fun," Leeds said.

The Have a Blast module involved building a high-tech bubble blaster, complete with flashing lights. Students could also build water rockets out of plastic water bottles and compete in friendly "air battles."

In Mission Space, teams of students learned how to sprout living plants and grow crystal trees while on a mission to "locate and prepare a new planet" for human habitation.

Students launched a business in Duct Tape Billionaire, creating products made of duct tape and selling them to mock investors.

Operation Keep Out used old machine parts to create a spy-gadget alarm box.

"The goal of Camp Invention is to promote creativity and advance the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship," Leeds said. "We wanted students to bridge 21st-century skills with STEM curriculum and, of course, have fun while doing it."

She said students are empowered to have big ideas during each Camp Invention because they take on challenges "that inspire them to question, brainstorm and work as a team to build amazing invention prototypes."

"This is our first year hosting Camp Invention at Summit," Leeds said. "My own daughter attended a camp last summer and I couldn't believe how much it aligned with what we do at Summit Road every day through inquiry learning and design challenges."

Principal Melissa Drury said Summit Road was a "natural fit" to play host to a camp this year.

"Camp Invention involves students in design-cycle thinking and provides opportunities for them to apply their design thinking to solve problems, which is exactly what we want kids to do here at Summit," she said. "At the same time, kids are having fun and working on developing skills of collaboration, communication, solving problems and more."

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