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Explore Phenomena at Camp Invention

Children are known for their curiosity. They may wonder what causes a rainbow or why some fish have bioluminescence. These natural curiosities and wonderings engage them in exploring the natural phenomena around them.

Phenomena are observable occurrences in the natural world that serve as connecting points to help children engage with science concepts in a meaningful way. As we discussed in a previous article, by encouraging children to explore these occurrences, we can cultivate children’s science knowledge, interest and literacy through examples that are relevant to them while fostering their ability to construct explanations or predictions.

It is simple to ask what something is, but exploring phenomena invites children to dig deeper by asking why or how something happens.

The importance of incorporating phenomena into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education has become more evident recently. However, like any teaching technique, mastery grows through practice, so teachers need a safe and supportive environment to practice leveraging the power of phenomena.

With the all-new 2022 Camp Invention® program, Explore, instructors and campers have the opportunity to play with phenomena, exploring a variety of avenues to access this powerful teaching technique and awaken their sense of wonder. Through fun lessons that highlight fascinating occurrences in nature, children develop evidence-based ideas to explain the events around them.

Below are a few examples of how this year’s new Camp Invention modules explore phenomena and their connecting anchor standards.


Robotic Aquatics

In this module, children make deep-sea discoveries as they explore symbiotic relationships between interesting marine life like clownfish and anemones. Campers then use this knowledge to further practice creative thinking and collaboration through inventing as they design a symbiotic best friend for their own aquatic animal.


NIHF’s The Attic

As campers learn about concepts connecting science and art, they discover how animation works. After learning about the concept or persistence of vision, campers get creative and build a thaumatrope to create a moving image of their very own. The optical illusion it creates will allow two still images to be processed as a single moving picture – similar to how animated movies are created.



Campers blast off in this module inspired by real space exploration to investigate Europa, the Ice Moon. Through the creation of a glowing ice volcano, children observe physical and chemical reactions firsthand. Children consider the why and how behind these reactions as they witness their own icy lunar eruption using polymers, salt, water and other brilliant ingredients.


Marble Arcade

This module challenges campers to complete trials using different gaming spheres including marbles, foam balls and pompoms. Children learn about potential and kinetic energy and discover how an object’s mass is related to its speed as they design and construct a customized marble arcade with varying angles, materials and path lengths.


Bring the All-New 2022 Camp Invention Program to Your District

Contact one of our education specialists to find out how you can bring Camp Invention to your district! To learn more about Explore, we invite you to visit our website.

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