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Camp Invention to land at FIS

Camp Invention is coming to Farragut Intermediate School for the first time; registration is still open.

Mark the calendar as FIS campers create inventions while learning “how math and art and science can combine,” Emily Lenn, event coordinator, said.

Students work as a team to create an amusement park, clean a polluted city, reassemble a crashed spacecraft, create an invention from a pile of recycled parts and make their own games with makeshift sticks, dice and soccer balls from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, June 28 to July 3, at FIS.

Lenn, a retired A.L. Lotts Elementary and Farragut Primary School principal, is “very passionate about kids and education and the right kinds of activities. There are so many sports camps, music camps and this is one about thinking. We need thinkers in America. This is an opportunity for children to do something with their brains. It’s a fabulous program.

“I think they think they’re playing, but they’re actually learning.”

Rising first- through sixth-grade students are kept with their grade (or may join another close grade) in teams to solve big problems on a small scale.

“They get to do a lot of hands-on thinking. To me, the way education should predominantly be is working in teams.

“As a country, we need to strengthen our science instruction.”

Parents tell her that their children are going home and using “big words.”

“Parents are very happy with it … and the kids love this.”

The weeklong camp is split into five modules.

“I Can Invent” is the hallmark module, teaching problem solving skills. Students take an “old, broken appliance and create something new.”

During “Global Games,” children learn how to make their own games.

“They make a lacrosse stick and use it to play the game,” Lenn said.

In “Problem Solving on Planet ZAC,” children have crash-landed on an alien planet and they have to find ways to make food and create shelter.

For module Imagination Point: Ride Physics, “they create amusement park rides. They divide into teams and create roller coasters ... with loops and jumps. They love that; it’s one of the best activities. They love showing their parents on the last day how it works.”

For “Saving Sludge City,” children “actually pollute a pretend pond and create water filters and clean it up.” Then they build a city and take on construction roles.

“They take some objects and build eco-friendly transportation.”

“On the last day, they take a place that has been contaminated and clean it up,” Lenn said.

They have a good student-teacher ratio: at Lotts earlier in June, 73 students were enrolled with 15 teachers.

Camp instructors are teachers from Knox County Schools.

A camp T-shirt is given to every student and they keep the inventions they create. Students bring their own lunch and snack.

Camp Invention is a nationwide learning program; more than 66,000 children participated in Camp Invention last year0.

Its headquarters performs surveys with the parents and the staff and then takes that feedback and updates the programs to ensure success.

Curriculum also is rotated every three years.

Cost for the weeklong program is $215.

Going on now, a discount will be given to those registering with a friend. Each child will receive $25 off. To use this discount, registration must be made via phone. Call 800-968-4332.

For more information or to register one child, visit

For questions, e-mail Lenn at


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