Comanche Students Explore at Camp Invention

Comanche Camp Invention
Shawnee Mission School District

Comanche Elementary students explored, imagined and invented this summer at Camp Invention.  Camp Invention is a hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) camp. It is rooted in inventing, offering students a weeklong experience full of solving a series of challenges while having fun.

Students entering second through sixth grade work independently and collaboratively on projects. They used their imagination in modules throughout the week.

In a module called Duck Chuck, students simulated a duck migration, creating famous landmarks that provided stops along the way. After creating the environment, students worked to launch rubber ducks back home as they learned about velocity and direction. 

Another module included experimenting with circuits and energy while creating a habitat for robotic crickets and a solution to get solar-powered bots across a pond safely.

The Open Mic module time was a favorite among students.  Students reverse-engineered microphones, discovering and exploring sound waves in action.  Using their pitch skills on stage, students used their microphone daily to share about their explorations, discoveries and promote their own inventions.

“This activity was a favorite”, shared Jordan Hetzel, camp director and third grade Comanche teacher. “It built confidence, creativity and introduced STEM skills through hands-on challenges.” 

The camp was supported through the generosity of various community members, partners, including Davidson Architecture and Engineering and Missouri Science and Technology College, and several community donors. This is the third summer Camp Invention has been hosted in the Shawnee Mission School District and the second year being onsite at Comanche Elementary. 

“I have never seen another camp like this,” Hetzel exclaimed, “It is hands on, collaborative, and such a great experience for not only the campers, but also the volunteers and instructors. We are so lucky to have such wonderful community members and community partners who are willing to donate and allow these students who may not usually get this opportunity to attend camp.”

Camp instructors included Comanche teachers, Lisa Kraus, third grade and Denise Alphson, second grade, joined by five high school age leadership interns.