Young inventors turn fresh ideas into cool devices

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - At one summer camp in Ocean Springs, it's okay to let your imagination go wild.  The children, some of them are as young as six years old, are designing and building their own roller coaster.

"Let's try it and see with a smaller loop," a teacher told a group of excited children.

And in another room, the children are pretending that their spaceship has crashed on the planet ZAK.  And they have to use their creativity and teamwork to survive and find a way to get home.

"They can just make noise and get those creative juices flowing. And another thing, they work in groups.  Cooperative learning is very important," said the camp director Brenda Schwegman.

Camp Invention is going on this week at St. Alphonsus Catholic Elementary School in Ocean Springs. Forty four children are using their science and math skills to turn their fresh ideas into reality.

"This is the keyboard that I took apart," said nine-year-old Jack McKee.

Jack is tearing apart his computer hard drive to build a more realistic arcade game called Auto Tank.

"The Auto Tank will be like a VH3 video game system," Jack explained. "It'll have shoulder pads. It'll be a dome with a video camera on the outside."

Nearby, Nicolas Taylor is using parts from his radio to build a military tank, while a young lady is creating a solar-powered security system.

"They need that hands-on creative thinking, critical thinking," Schwegman said. "If you have a problem, if you have something, what can I do to solve it or make it better or to do that job?"

Who knows. Some of the products you use in the future could come from these young inventors.

There are other challenges at Camp Invention. One is called "Save Sludge City" where the children have to find ways to clean up a polluted city. Another challenge involves designing a machine that can catapult an egg into a frying pan. The camp ends on Friday.

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