UNION, NJ – Jefferson School hosted some young inventors and explorers this summer at Camp Invention.

Under the direction of Union teacher and Camp Invention Director Mary Ellen Patricco, the camp helped cultivate the ideas critical to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by encouraging exploration and curiosity through hands-on activities.

“The kids here see that they can take something apart and make something else from it”, said Patricco.  “Kids come out of this really believing in their own creativity.”

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The camp, in its second year, ran two one-week sessions and has a team dedicated to instilling the understanding that science is everywhere and teaches kids how to problem solve, collaborate and create.  Teachers, counselors in training and interns from Union High School, and parent volunteers helped campers tap their ingenuity and innovation.

“When they take things apart, they get to see how they work,” said volunteer Jean Perkins.  “They are learning strategies of STEM without realizing it and having so much fun doing it.”

Campers, in grades 1-6, learned about Newton’s Law and applied it to real world lessons, said Patricco.  During the week they dissected appliances by using tools correctly and safety to investigate how machines work through the process of reverse engineering.  The last day of camp included the successful launch of their space ships back to Planet Earth and finished the day with the carnival they designed, created and operated.

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