James Vandixhorn may be just 6 years old, but he already has developed a scientific theory.

"It's a lot more fun taking things apart than putting them back together," he said.

James found the evidence he needed for his theory during Camp Invention, held June 12-16 at Edison Intermediate/ Larson Middle School.

"I got to take a CD player apart," he said June 15. "It was really cool to see all of the pieces that were behind the screen. Then I worked on putting it back together. I liked looking inside it more."

The Columbus resident and his twin sister, Felicity, were among the 80 youngsters in grades K-6 who spent the week exploring creativity, innovation and problem-solving.

Camp Invention is a grant program funded by the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

"It's such a wonderful program, because it allows children who have an interest in science to explore subjects like chemistry, physics and engineering through an engaging curriculum of fun activities," said Jamie Lusher, Grandview Heights City School District chief academic officer.

"One of the best things for the participants is that they're getting to spend time interacting with like-minded kids," she said. "Sometimes the importance of science gets lost in the outside world. Camp Invention ratifies their interest in science."

This year's Camp Invention theme was "Launch."

During the week, students participated in several modules.

In Duct Tape Billionaires, students designed and built their own creations out of duct tape and presented their products to faux investors.

"They were learning that an inventor starts with an idea, then cultivates and grows it into a product," Lusher said. "It provides a real-world look at the invention process. They learned about entrepreneurship, marketing and messaging."

As part of the Mission Space Makers module, students did more than invent a product -- they created a new planet for human habitation.

"We learned about exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) and the students spent time terraforming a planet," said Jill Walker, a fifth-grade science teacher at the school who served as the instructor for Mission Space Makers. "They used a globe to design their own planet and came up with designs for spacesuits and habitats that people would use on the planet."

"It really allowed their imaginations to soar," she said.

The chance to take nonworking devices apart was one of the activities in the Operation Keep Out module, which also let students to build their own device: a spy-gadget alarm box to secure valued items.

"If someone tries to open the box to get your treasure, an alarm goes off," said Mary Herlihy, 7, of Grandview.

"I like being here because science is probably my favorite subject," Mary said. "You get to make whatever you want out of materials."

Crosby Philipps, 6, of Grandview probably was dreaming of future projects as he built his alarm box.

"I'm going to be an inventor some day," he said. "I just like building stuff. I like to play with my Legos all the time. I like figuring out what I can build with them."

At another table, James and Felicity were consulting with each other about their alarm-box projects.

"We decided to come to Camp Invention because our parents think we're pretty good at science," Felicity said. "We do like science a lot. It's fun because you get to discover new things."

afroman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekAfroman