Fifth and sixth grade math teacher Wanda Brooks helps students with the I Can Invent: Balloon Burst module of Invention Connection. The I Can Invent module allowed students to take apart old electronics to create their own invention, later having to market their mock inventions. | A.J. Watson

Archived Story

Some disassembly required

Published 3:00pm Wednesday, July 11, 2012

By A.J. Watson, Outlook Staff Writer

Radney Elementary School began their Invention Connection program Monday.

The Invention Connection is a program sponsored by the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant and hosted at Radney Elementary School.

“So far I’ve seen the kids work on their teamwork, cooperation with each other, problem solving and critical thinking skills,” fifth and sixth math teacher Wanda Brooks said. “It allows the kids to work on those skills all at the same time – it’s exciting.”

Thanks to the grant, participants just have to pay $15 for the entire week. This is the first year Radney has hosted the program.

Event organizers Julie Goree and Tracy Teel say they first heard about the program when they met fifth grade science teacher Christy Davis of Dadeville at a conference in Montgomery.

Goree and Teel spoke with Davis about the Invention Connection that Dadeville Elementary School has employed and decided it was a great idea for Alexander City.

The camp has four modules that progress throughout the week, throwing problem solving situations at the students.

The camp is designed to help stimulate cognitive thinking, giving students the chance to learn environmental issues with Saving Sludge City, a program that helps children rebuild a mock-polluted city.

In Problem Solving on Planet ZAK, students must get their spaceship working to get off the planet ZAK, allowing them the opportunity to deal with situations in which they heavily rely on logic to protect and launch their spaceship.

The Action and Adventure Games section of the program allows children a chance to work on their communication skills and make new friends as well as getting active.

In I Can Invent: Balloon Burst, students toy with electronics and, fitting them together like a puzzle piece, they create names for their inventions and try to come up with ways they can market their newfangled creations.

Going along with the theme of creativity, children are allowed to express themselves with the daily dress up themes. Monday was crazy hat day, Tuesday was wacky hair day, Wednesday is mix and match day, Thursday is Camp Invention T-shirt day, while Friday is a casual day.

Almost 40 children have signed up for the event, Teel said.

Students seemed nothing short of jovial.

“My favorite part has been the water activities and taking the computers apart,” Chase Dean of Ft. Myers, Fla. said. “I’d love to do it during school sometime – I’ve made a lot of new friends.”