Forward thinking kids try reverse engineering | News

OTTUMWA — The kids were campers when they started Monday. By Friday, they had grown into potential inventors.

Breanna Hinmon, Talented and Gifted instructor at Liberty Elementary School, worked with more than 30 talented Camp Invention kids over the past week. This is the first time the program has been offered in Ottumwa; it was held on the Indian Hills campus. By Friday, campers had a number of projects completed.

One surprise may be the age of the campers involved in what appear to be complex projects. For example, Operation: Keep Out teaches the concept of reverse engineering. Students disassemble electronic devices, keeping track of how each had been put together. They then use the parts to create a box with an alarm on it to keep nosy siblings out.

There was no age limit on project: Maddison McIntyre is 5 years old.

“If someone tries to take it and they press on this, the [alarm] makes a noise,” she explained.

Outside of help using the hot glue gun, kids did most of the work themselves.

Heidi Bradford oversees some of the projects. In this case, she said not only were the junked electronics used to build the alarm, leftover parts were used to decorate.

Between the “keep out” box made by Lydia Kruger, age 8, and Maddison, Lydia’s was decorated to look more dangerous. Maddison’s was the most colorful.

But for moving parts , Jordan Twedt, 11, stole the show: His decorations rotated.

“I got them from inside the thing I brought,” he said.


“A VCR. You can watch ‘tapes’ on it,” he said.

His box looked like an old-fashioned reel-to-reel recorder. Inventing things may sound like fun, said Hinmon, and it can be fun.

But it’s also a way to give campers a chance to use science, technology, engineering and math even while out of school; it’s that STEM Initiative educators and state…

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