Participants spent the final hours during Camp Invention on Tuesday taking apart a variety of machines to salvage gears and gadgets that will be used to create new inventions later in the week.
"We get to all be involved in activities we wouldn't usually get to do," said Kyla Searcy, 11, who will be a sixth-grader at Carson Middle School next year. "We get to take apart items we usually wouldn't get the chance to, like huge computers."
Students entering grades 1-5 throughout Carson City as well as Dayton and Gardnerville are participating in a week-long camp at Bethlehem Lutheran School dedicated to hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as history and the arts.
"We are focused on the subject areas that will help the United States address a critical shortage of scientists and engineers in the global workforce of the 21st century," said Michael J. Oister, COO for the nonprofit Invent Now, Inc., which operates Camp Invention. "Our programs nurture creative thinking in children, providing them with open-ended opportunities to explore ideas, make mistakes, and reinvent solutions."
The 53 students rotate through five modules each day where they are presented problems they solve as a group.
"It addresses so many things they don't get in school as far as problem-solving and creativity," said Tracey Taylor, a first-grade teacher at St. Teresa of Avila School who organized the camp. "It's one of the most comprehensive programs. The kids are kept busy the whole time, and they love it."
From technology to biology, students are immersed in learning.
"We learn all kinds of scientific stuff, like lions are color blind," said Lily Irvin, 8, who will be a fourth-grader at Bethlehem Lutheran School. "It's pretty cool."
Jeremy Heaton, 8, a third-grader at Fritsch Elementary School, can see the real-world applications for the skills he's being taught in camp.
"I'm learning to build things," he said. "Maybe I could build buildings and homes someday."
Camp Invention began in 1990, the program and now has more than 65,000 children participating nationwide.
Each day, parents receive a newsletter of what the students learned that day along with a synopsis of what's to come the following day.
"It's the best camp I've ever been to," said Paul Wagner, 9, a fourth-grader at St. Teresa.
Thomas Mellum, 10, agreed, saying they weren't stuck doing "baby stuff."
However, just as important, the Bethlehem Lutheran fifth-grader said, are the relationship they're forming.
"If you go here, you become familiar with everybody," he said. "Everybody gets real close."
For more information about Camp Invention go to campinvention.org.