Rio abuzz with innovation

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – They brought their imaginations, glanced at their materials, donned their protective goggles and got down to work.

It didn’t take long for smiles, laughter and fun-filled adventure to take over the Rio Grande campus as these young inventors dived into a weeklong world of discovery.

In partnership with Invent Now, the University of Rio Grande / Rio Grande Community College hosted the Camp Invention Geo-Quest program designed to reinforce and supplement school-year learning in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM.

Almost 40 students who will enter first through sixth grades this fall participated June 24-29 in various activities, some of which included taking apart broken appliances to re-engineer the gears and gadgets into various devices.

Sandra Plantz, gifted and testing coordinator for Gallia County Local Schools, directed the camp, in which students navigated four modules:

• Ecoverse, a team journey to design and invent tools to reveal and retrieve Earth’s hidden messages, deciphering nature’s patterns;

• Cache Dash, a team navigation of treasure-filled caches that contain virtual missions from youth across the globe challenging trainees to invent solutions to real-world problems in France, Singapore, Honduras, Hawaii, Cuba and Sudan;

• I Can Invent: Launchitude, a physics challenge of trajectory and velocity with the creation of a Duck Chucking Device to launch international rubber ducks to their country origin and race to destroy competitor duck territory; and

• Amazing Atlas Games, a team expedition to investigate the fives extremes of the natural world — heat, height, crystals, water and cold.

Local educators helped lead the program, with high school and college students serving as leadership interns.

For more information on Camp Invention, visit campinvention.org.