Would-be inventor Aishu Anand may not be sure what she's inventing, but that hasn't prevented her from enjoying the process.
Aishu, 6, is one of more than a hundred students participating in Camp Invention this week at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School. The national program encouraging student creativity is sponsored by the U.S. Patent Office and the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation.
According to Vice Principal Casey Gilles, this is the second year the school has hosted the summer camp and it has proven so popular that the school had to cap the number of students accepted. With 113 campers, Bordewich-Bray's summer camp has the most participants in the state for Camp Invention. The students are first through sixth graders from Carson City and surrounding schools.
Aishu just finished kindergarten at the school. "We're making inventions," she patiently explained when questioned about the bits of drinking straws she was taping together. "I don't know yet (what)."
Inventing isn't exactly her forte anyway. Aishu says her favorite part of the camp is the mystery segment. Solve It, one of several activities at the camp, asks the students to solve the mystery of a stolen object using a crime scene.
"And so we're going to find it today," Aishu said. "We're detectives."
Five-year-old Nura Tung, a classmate of Aishu's, prefers taking apart appliances in the invention camp. Appliances Nura was allowed to safely disassemble included "lots of cool stuff," from vacuums to lawn mowers.
Jefferson Cavanaugh, 7, shares Nura's opinion. "I'm liking (the camp) very much 'cause you get to take things apart," said Jefferson, who just finished first grade at Fritch Elementary School. "You get to see all the stuff inside," he said.
"They learn how to safely take these things apart," said Gilles. "Some of these kids have never used a tool," she said. "The idea is the process."
There are 10 counselors and five teachers taking part, in addition to parent volunteers. "We have a real low ratio of adults to kids," Gilles said. The summer camp, she says, "is pretty intense," allowing the children hands-on science experience.
"I consider it not only a great opportunity for the children, but also a service to the community. The kids are really using their brains."
And using their brains is proving an entertaining way to spend the week. "It's been really fun," said 12-year-old Coleman Liebespeck, who is from California and is in Carson visiting family. "It's been better than sitting at home watching TV all day."