For upcoming Adairsville Middle School sixth grader Maxwell McCulley, the start of summer meant getting a crash course in the various facets of science through hands-on activities at Camp Invention, held at Georgia Highlands College in conjunction with the Bartow County School System.
"We've been talking about landfills, recycling and stuff and right now we're working on kinetic energy and a roller coaster," McCulley said Wednesday.
The four-day-long camp incorporated team-building exercises as well as individual activities to promote science and learning in a fun environment. An example was the "I Can Invent" module.
"There are four people and we all take apart the machines we brought [to camp] and we use the parts from [the machines] and from some other parts in the room to build a Rube Goldberg machine," McCulley explained.
Meriam-Webster defines a Rube Goldberg machine as, "accomplishing by complex means what seemingly could be done simply."
"We have to use all six simple machines in it and it has to have six steps," McCulley said, adding he brought in a radio to deconstruct.
The intent of the elaborate machines was to pop a balloon.
Camp Director Merry Clark said the hands-on activities were to help educate students while they had fun. Another activity was "Saving Sludge City" in which campers learned about pollution and how to protect an imaginary planet.
"When it rains, the rain seeps through [a landfill] into our groundwater and pollutes our water with what [people] put in the landfill," McCulley explained.
Outside, students played games like "fish tag" where they would shoot water guns at one another as well as play "Hula Solar," where students sat in a circle around a hula hoop -- the sun -- and passed around a beach ball naming the planets, in order, as they revolved around the sun.
"They have all seemed to have a really good time with both [individual and group activities]," Clark said of the 50 campers ranging from first to fifth grade. "Of course I think the little guys prefer more of the group stuff and the older guys like more of the pairing up, but all in all there's something for everybody."
Teachers included Becky Broom of Mission Road Elementary School and a former instructor, Tammy Marcaurelle.
"[Camp Invention] is a national organization and they have a great reputation and so the administrators at Georgia Highlands selected the camp then we teamed up with Bartow County and thought we'd give it a go," Clark said. "What I really like about the camp is the children get a couple of hours to play and put things together and try to solve problems together."
McCulley said he enjoyed the activities he experienced by the middle of the week.
"It's been fun," he said, holding a handmade bumper sticker referencing recycling, which read, "A Bottle a Day Keeps the Earth at Play."