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Camp Invention: Children explore innovation in nature

At Westside Elementary this summer, elementary students will explore the fields of bioengineering and biomimicry as they discover the secrets of Mother Nature's most innovative creatures.  The nationally-acclaimed Camp Invention  program is returning to West Fargo on June 13 - 17.  Created for children entering grades one through six, this exciting program immerses the participants in a series of hands-on activities that emphasize science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). 

Participants will hone their critical thinking skills by tackling real-world challenges as they rotate through five different modules each day.  They will also develop vital 21st century life skills such as problem-solving, creativity, decision-making, and teamwork through structured imaginative play.

New to the 2011 Camp Invention lineup is the SPARK curriculum, in which children will learn about nanotechnology and polymers as they investigate the science behind bouncy balls, explore nature as the inspiration for modern inventions, and be challenged to decipher secret codes to solve a mystery. Children will also use real tools to take apart a discarded household appliance and upcycle its gears and gadgets to create a model of a new invention.

At a time when fewer than half of U.S. students are proficient in science, Camp Invention is designed to spark its participants' interest and confidence in the STEM subjects.  After her child attended the Camp Invention program last summer, one Jamestown, N.D. parent commented, "It's great to have a program like this for kids to be excited about that is educational. It shows that it's cool to be smart and that the world always needs inventors!"  Another parent from Fargo reported that her son "got an 'I can do it' attitude (without help or supervision from mom)."

Since its inception in 1990, the Camp Invention program has grown to include nearly 1,500 sites in 49 states. In 2010, more than 3,500 children participated in Minnesota and the Dakotas.  The Camp Invention program is offered by the nonprofit Invent Now organization in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  It is proudly supported in this region by the South East Education Cooperative.

The Camp Invention program will be presented in collaboration with the West Fargo Public School District by local teachers for children entering grades 1 - 6.  For more information, visit or call 800-968-4332.