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Students get technology experience at camp

DUNDEE--Forty-eight students from 12 school districts and four states spent last week at Camp Invention. The program was held at the Dundee Central School District for five days from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Camp Invention is a nationally run science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) summer camp program that started in 1990 and has grown to more than 1,000 programs held each year.
Camp Director Jennifer Clancy has run the Dundee site for two years and expects it will be offered again next year.
"I started as an instructor for a Camp Invention program that was held in Victor," said Clancy, who began teaching high school science at Dundee Central School in 2005. "I fell in love with the program. It is so well organized, completely unique, and inspires curiosity and creativity."
In addition to Clancy, the program operates with three New York state-certified instructors (Jessica Shepardson-Wood, Maura Willock, and Kristine Gorton), two leaders-in-training, six leadership interns, and one parent volunteer. The program is funded with a grant secured by Lauren Cole, site coordinator at Yates County Extended School Day Program, and sponsorship from Penn Yan businesses KanPak and Coach and Equipment.
Each of the instructors taught a module with activities designed to meet the needs of students who will be entering kindergarten through sixth grade in the fall, and team-taught a fourth module. Modules included Marble Arcade, which focused on principles of physics; The Attic, which explored the science of art; Robotic Aquatics, which dove into marine life; and SpaceCation, which examined outer space. In all of the modules, students "invented" something, from a device that could retrieve jelly fish without hurting them to a space pack that contained components necessary to survive in space.
The modules are designed to build teamwork, challenge students in a safe and supportive environment, and develop imagination, according to Clancy, who added that they all incorporated aspects of engineering. A highlight of this year's program was a visit from Dr. Dana Bookbinder, a recent inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, which sponsors Camp Invention.
"This really was an honor as only a handful of the camps nationwide are selected for inductee visits," said Clancy. "Dr. Bookbinder is one of three Corning Incorporated researchers who created the Bend Insensitive Optical Fiber, an invention that affects all of us every day by reliably transmitting telephone signals, internet communication and cable TV signals."
During the visit, Bookbinder described his work to the campers, signed their inventor logs, and answered questions about his life as an inventor.

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