Blog Behind the NIHF Scenes

Differentiated Learning at Camp Invention 2024

Behind the NIHF Scenes Program Highlights

For more than three decades, Camp Invention®, the flagship K-6 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) summer program from the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, has inspired millions of children nationwide. Camp offers engaging, hands-on challenges that invite children to invent solutions to real-world problems.

Our dedicated education team spends a combined 20 months creating the curriculum for each summer’s brand-new program. They develop immersive experiences and accompanying resources tailored to children’s diverse strengths, interests and learning styles.

It’s this customized approach to curriculum development that ensures all participants have a positive experience. Recognizing that every student learns in unique ways, our education team employs cutting-edge differentiated instruction techniques to captivate and motivate children while ensuring accessibility among both primary and intermediate students. Our 2024 Camp Invention program, Illuminate, includes over 25 differentiated items. Read below to learn more.


In the Game

While crafting their own illuminated game boards, children collaborate to take on challenges related to sports, design and entrepreneurship. Along the way, they explore the characteristics and specialized materials of different sports balls and create customized balls to use in their unique games.

  • Intermediate participants have an additional feature challenge on their game board
  • Primary participants discuss the importance of a fair experiment, and Intermediate participants discuss independent and dependent variables in an experiment
  • Intermediate participants investigate potential and kinetic energy
  • Primary participants discover the importance of logos, while Intermediate participants discover the value of logos as part of a brand
  • After being inducted into the Game of Fame, Primary participants are encouraged to share one of their inventions, while Intermediate participants compose an acceptance speech


Let’s Glow

Participants explore the science of light as they encounter illuminating inventions and mysterious glowing creatures. They cultivate persistence while creating their very own Glow Box, allowing them to experiment with different forms of light.

  • Intermediate participants are challenged to make deeper explorations into scientific concepts
  • Intermediate participants are given more parameters when creating their slide designs
  • Intermediate participants create shadow puppets
  • Intermediate participants are invited to assist with assembling a simple circuit
  • Primary participants work in pairs while assembling their Glow Boxes
  • Primary participants explore light and shadow with hand puppets
  • Primary participants receive a few pre-assembled materials to allow an appropriate level of challenge while ensuring a rewarding experience


Operation: HydroDrop

In this experience, children are tasked with helping solve water-related challenges across the globe. They gain valuable insights into the essential role of clean water for people worldwide, and they build a mobile robotic laboratory to engineer innovative solutions for a clean and safe future.

  • Primary participants have a starter experience with bringing water from a tiny house to crops; Intermediate participants build a more advanced greywater system for their tiny house and crops. Intermediate participants further calculate water usage for their selected crops
  • Primary participants have a select set of four flood and drought challenges from which to choose, while Intermediate participants have nine expanded flood and drought invention challenges from which to choose
  • Primary participants are given three Blue Carbon Ecosystem challenges to prompt their invention prototypes, while Intermediate participants have six expanded challenges


Prototyping Studio

Starring as contestants in a game show, children collaborate to transform their ideas into impactful inventions. Using a DIY toolbox filled with everyday materials and inspiration drawn from National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees, they overcome many exciting prototype challenges and learn that innovation can occur anywhere.

  • Intermediate participants vote for the most unique prototype
  • Intermediate participants are tasked with calculating the cost of goods
  • Primary participants are asked to select one brainstorming category to modify their prototypes, while Intermediate participants are asked to choose at least two
  • Participants attend safety training to learn to use a safety saw, and Primary participants are given cardboard boxes to practice sawing. In contrast, Intermediate participants are given cardboard strips to practice sawing.
  • Primary and Intermediate participants are asked to sketch their water feature, but Intermediate participants are also invited to label their sketch and add their prototype's measurements


Learn More About Camp Invention

To explore the all-new Camp Invention Illuminate program, we invite you to visit our website. Interested in bringing this hands-on STEM experience to your district? Contact us today!

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