Discover Inspiring STEM Role Models at Camp Invention
Each year, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® education team develops a new Camp Invention® curriculum inspired by world-changing innovators – our Hall of Famers. This makes our summer camp a great place to introduce your child to diverse, motivating STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) role models and encourage them to embark on their own innovative journey.
Throughout the week of camp, children solve real-world problems and learn real-life lessons while they are introduced to legendary inventors through videos, curricula, exciting activities and the Inventor Logs campers use to read about STEM concepts, record their observations and sketch their ideas.
To get your family excited for an awesome week of fun STEM learning, we’re giving you an exclusive look into a few of the Hall of Famers featured in each all-new experience of our 2023 Camp Invention program, Wonder. Register now to introduce your child to these amazing role models – plus many more – at camp!
While your camper explores the inner workings of a talking robot and then transforms it into a one-of-a-kind animatronic stuffie, they’ll learn about Hall of Famers including Jim West and Patricia Bath.
Inside the MimicBot each camper receives is an electret microphone, invented by West and Gerhard Sessler. Ninety percent of today’s microphones are made with this technology, which can be found in phones, sound and music recording equipment, and hearing aids. West holds over 200 patents and is an advocate for science education, particularly among underrepresented students.
As campers explore genetics and select eyes and other features for their MimicBots, they discover Bath’s powerful innovations. She invented laserphaco cataract surgery to remove cloudy areas in the lens of a patient’s eye. Bath was the first woman ophthalmologist on the faculty of UCLA’s prestigious Jules Stein Eye Institute. She also co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, and she is recognized as the first Black woman physician to receive a medical patent.
Your child not only will build confidence as they take on the role of an innovative event planner, but they also will learn how Hall of Famers like Les Paul and Shuji Nakamura made a creative mark on the world.
Campers are inspired by Paul as they invent a one-of-a-kind instrument. Paul transformed popular music with his invention of the solid-body electric guitar. He was fascinated with the opportunity to amplify musical instruments electronically, and he developed techniques to produce a unique sound. He created his first solid-body electric guitar in 1941 and Gibson Musical Instrument Co. began selling its popular Les Paul model electric guitar in 1952. Paul’s work has inspired generations of musicians.
As children experiment with circuitry to light up an LED at camp, they learn about Nakamura, who invented the blue LED, as well as green and white LEDs and the blue laser diode. For decades, the absence of the bright blue LED halted many display technologies, but Nakamura’s innovations allowed for the full spectrum of colors in LEDs for the first time. His inventions have many applications in fields including communication, energy, environmental science and healthcare. Nakamura has won many awards including the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Your camper will create their own mini skate park and practice persistence as they roll through it with their mini skateboard, all while finding role models like Hall of Famers Stephanie Kwolek and Lonnie Johnson.
With safety being a priority on skateboards, Kwolek is featured at camp as an inventor of an important material used in safety equipment. While conducting experiments to make stronger and stiffer fibers, Kwolek discovered a new class of liquid crystalline polymers. The most famous product of this discovery was Kevlar®, a fiber five times stronger than the same weight of steel. Kevlar can be found in many applications including bullet-resistant vests, fiber-optic cables and aircraft parts, shaping industries and helping save lives worldwide.
Campers are also inspired by Johnson, an engineer and entrepreneur who highlights the importance of perseverance. Johnson invented the Super Soaker®, a bestselling toy generating over $1 billion in sales over its lifetime. Johnson’s longtime research has focused on energy technology. His current work includes a new generation of rechargeable battery technology and the Johnson Thermo-Electrical Converter, which efficiently converts waste heat to electrical energy. Johnson, who holds more than 100 U.S. patents, introduces students from diverse and underserved communities to STEM through the Johnson STEM Activity Center.
Learning how to start their dream business, your child will build a mini pop-up shop and gain entrepreneurship skills while finding inspiration in Hall of Famers including James McEwen and Mary Engle Pennington.
Throughout the week, campers learn what inspires and motivates the work of Hall of Famers like McEwen. Named on more than 80 U.S. patents, this biomedical engineer invented the first microprocessor-controlled automatic surgical tourniquet system. McEwen’s system was safer and more efficient than previous technology. Most modern tourniquet systems are based on the work of McEwen and his colleagues, and devices stemming from his innovations are used worldwide in thousands of surgeries each day.
As campers explore their Inventor Log for examples of how inventors have made it easier to get products into the hands of customers, they are introduced to Hall of Famers like Pennington. She was a bacteriological chemist, food scientist and refrigeration engineer, and she patented inventions including a poultry-cooling rack, a bacteria-resistant method of treating eggs and a sterile food products container. Her innovations advanced the safe preservation, handling, storage and transportation of perishable foods. Pennington was the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s first female lab chief.
To find more information on our all-new 2023 Wonder program, and to locate a camp near you, we invite you to visit our website!