Conyers - Dozens of metro Atlanta students saved the world last week.
Camp Invention, a science and math camp, returned to Rockdale County Monday through Friday at Honey Creek Elementary School.
During the week of camp, 57 first- through sixth-grade students from Rockdale, Newton and surrounding metro Atlanta counties worked on projects that allowed them to "save the world" and think about ways to help Mother Earth.
"(The camp) helps children come up with ideas to save the world; they get to collectively use their imaginations to make it a better place," said Gwen Lewis, director of this summer's camp, which is funded through the Camp Invention Foundation, based out of Akron, Ohio.
According to a press release from the program, students work with hands-on projects and use visual media, which teaches children to be inventive, show leadership and think entrepreneurially in and out of school.
"It's learning disguised as fun," said Lindsay Kuntzman, public relations intern for Camp Invention.
The students were divided into classes based on grade levels and took five classes each day from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. - Mars, Art Park and Saving Flood City in the morning, and I Can Invent and Recess Remix in the afternoon.
During the week, students made animals and other art displays, built a spaceship to "take them to Mars" and created a city module to save it from pollution, smog and other harm.
The projects are all designed by Camp Invention and led by local teachers, who are paid by the program.
Tara Mosley, an art teacher at Eastminster School in Conyers, taught a Camp Invention class about Mars in which students created rovers and rockets. They talked about the planet and how NASA explores it. She said many students talked about what they learned and completed projects at home, even though they weren't assigned homework.
"One of my students built a car at home for his invent class, and it was actually pretty elaborate," she said. "They seem really into it."
Although the students are only in elementary school or are just beginning in middle school, she believes they understand what they are learning.
"I think they get it; it's more difficult for the younger ones, but they have a different curriculum for them," Mosley said. "We try to make it really interesting and thought provoking."
By the end of each day, Lewis said the kids were exhausted both mentally and physically from everything they had learned.
Mosley said the teachers even learned new ways to teach their own classes.
"It helps me get new ideas to apply to class (at Eastminster)," she said. "I like a combined curriculum anyway, where I can talk to an English teacher ... and get my class to make art about what they are learning."
The camp also is held at other locations around the metro area and the United States this summer. For more information, visit www.campinvention.org or call 1-800-968-4332.
Michelle Floyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.