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Invention the focus of summer camp

Godwin Heights — Fifth-grader Termaine Culp loves math, and he was quick to grab a pencil and show off his skills.

He also enjoys the technical side of learning how things go together, which is why he wanted to attend the four-day Camp Invention, North Godwin’s first school-run summer STEM program, in early June.

Karen Baum, North Godwin’s instructional specialist, said the camp was designed “so (students) feel confident in their older years in doing other things such as robotics or other STEM opportunities.”

Last year’s program was run by Grand Valley State University. This year, the school received a grant from the National Inventors Hall of Fame to host its own summer program, making the camp an all-Godwin effort.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame provides all the resources and materials, which the school gets to keep, Baum said.

Four North Godwin teachers each led a module: “Operation Hydrodrop” focused on water conservation; “Light’s Glow” was about light through inventions and glowing animals; “Prototyping Studio,” showed how ideas transformed into inventions; and “In the Game” tasked students to build their own. The teachers were assisted by Godwin Heights high school students who served as leadership interns.

Campers had to have been in second through fifth grades in the 2023-24 school year to participate. Baum said spots filled quickly, and that the school plans to increase the number of openings next year.

Something Different For Summer

During the six-and-half hour day, which included a lunch break and free time, students rotated through the four different modules.

In the prototyping room, fourth-graders Taisha Saldana and Gabby Taylor worked on an electronic holder for cell phones, tablets and other devices.

“We decided to change the name from phone holder to electronic (holder), to show that it is more than just for your phone,” Gabby explained.

The students were learning about prototyping using various materials and then gave a short presentation on what they have built, said teacher Meghan Shannon.

Down the hall, teacher Diane VanderMeulen demonstrated how to connect wires to a battery pack to create a lightbox using LEDs and fiber optics. 

“I like the glow room,” said third-grader Isaia James from the room exploring the water challenges around the world. “I also like being able to build machines, the sticker activities and other things.”

In Hydrodrop, she and others built tiny houses in preparation to figure out how to create a recycled water system.

“The program is very creative,” Isaia said.

Sixth-grader Adalynn Tanjarion said Camp Invention offered something new for summer.

“I wanted to do something different, especially since I am going to be in middle school next year,” Adalynn said. “I was able to do different activities such as study water and build a tool box, which made it interesting.”

Read more from Godwin Heights: 
Fifth-graders prepare for STEM project with an animal visit
E is for Engineering

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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