Camp Invention at Highland Elementary is for Hamilton School students in grades 4 to 6 who are invited or gifted students with a history of high academic performance. Students work on a variety of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) projects during half days at Highland. Here they compete in robot vehicle races through an obstacle course. (Photo by Michael D. Clark/Journal-News)

Gifted Hamilton students are racing robots among projects in this summer program

The Camp Invention at Highland Elementary for students in grades 4 to 6 is in its fifth year, said officials with the program.

The special one-month program is designed for specially invited gifted and high-performing students in the Butler County school system.

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Students work on a variety of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) projects during half days at Highland Monday through Thursday.

The program, said Brandee Staud, elementary summer school coordinator, uses different, hands-on learning projects are specially designed to enhance critical thinking skills for about 100 students each early summer.

“It’s a great opportunity for the kids to be creative and show their expressive side,” said Staud, as nearby students raced wheeled robotic vehicles - using radio wave frequencies – through an obstacle course competition.

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“It’s science based and there are a lot of hands on activities. Four teachers work with the participants,” and the funding comes from Hamilton Schools’ gifted student budget.

Joni Copas, spokeswoman for the 10,000-student district, said “this is just another opportunity and example our school district offers to keep students continually learning through the summer months.”

“And it gives them a way to express themselves in a way they may not be able to in a typical classroom,” said Copas.

Bryson Bowling, a 6th grader from Bridgeport Elementary, said teachers “let you design your passions.”

“There are so many fun activities and there are so many things you can do,” said Bowling. “I like to make things work.”

“And it helps you do scientific things at home like with your brothers and sisters,” he said.

Lilah Ball, a fourth-grader from Ridgeway Elementary, said “we do really cool things in this camp.”

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