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Children get hands on science with new Southington summer program


SOUTHINGTON — A new summer program for students in grades one through six will have them creating gadgets, building pinball machines and designing other small machines.

Summer school director Dave DeStefano said it is the first time the district has offered the one-week program at Strong School called Camp Invention created by the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The National Inventors Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization that helps inventors and their inventions.

The camp also offers another chance for students to receive instruction in science, technology, engineering, and math, a group of subjects commonly referred to as STEM.

“I’m excited that it’s 100 percent creativity,” DeStefano said. “It’s all hands on; investigate through inquiry. It’s what they call STEM enrichment. If you look at the new common core of teaching, it’s all STEM based.”

It is a change from the enrichment program offered during the summer. The enrichment program runs for three weeks, three hours a day, with about 10 courses offered. Camp Invention is one week long and runs from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Students will get a taste of four different activities every day throughout the week. The camp is broken into four different modules. One component called Amplified has students investigate their five senses and develop bionic gadgets. Another electronics component prompts students to build an insect-themed pinball machine, DeStefano said. That part is called Pinbug. “Super Go” has students create small vehicles that can work on land or underwater. A design studio, Morphed, allows children to “tinker with circuits,” create items and then market them, DeStefano said.

Every child will participate in each of the units.

The school district and Southington Education Foundation have been working to initiate a district-wide virtual STEM website that will host programs and lesson plans. Lesson plans will be created by teachers. Having another program such as Camp Invention only helps support education in those areas, said Dawn Miceli, foundation chairwoman.

“It sounds terrific and in order to help our students be 21st century global citizens, it behooves us to introduce more and more STEM into their curriculum,” Miceli said. “Whether it’s a summer program or what (the education foundation) is doing in the daily curriculum, it all benefits our students and helps with graduation requirements.”

Students can register for the program now, DeStefano said, and it will run in August.

“It puts together hands-on activities,” DeStefano said. “I think that’s what parents like to see is that their kids are doing something meaningful.”

To register visit www.campinvention.org.

fduffany@record-journal.com (203) 317-2212 Twitter: @FollowingFarrah



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