Brain work on display in St. Michael

Austin Elletson pays close attention to detail as he and student intern Abbie Herbst work on an insect-themed pinball machine. Students from St. Michael-Albertville and beyond took part in St. Michael Catholic School’s Camp Invention. (Sun staff photo by Aaron Brom)

Austin Elletson pays close attention to detail as he and student intern Abbie Herbst work on an insect-themed pinball machine. Students from St. Michael-Albertville and beyond took part in St. Michael Catholic School’s Camp Invention. (Sun staff photo by Aaron Brom)

Austin Elletson pays close attention to detail as he and student intern Abbie Herbst work on an insect-themed pinball machine. Students from St. Michael-Albertville and beyond took part in St. Michael Catholic School’s Camp Invention. (Sun staff photo by Aaron Brom)

Austin Elletson pays close attention to detail as he and student intern Abbie Herbst work on an insect-themed pinball machine. Students from St. Michael-Albertville and beyond took part in St. Michael Catholic School’s Camp Invention. (Sun staff photo by Aaron Brom)

Jack Kelly works on his design studio innovation at the St. Michael Catholic School Camp Invention. The weeklong program is supported by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and National Inventors Hall of Fame. (Sun staff photo by Aaron Brom)

Jack Kelly works on his design studio innovation at the St. Michael Catholic School Camp Invention. The weeklong program is supported by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and National Inventors Hall of Fame. (Sun staff photo by Aaron Brom)

The Brainstorm chalk board includes ideas for new student inventions. Camp Invention offered hands-on activities with the goal of innovation and creativity. (Sun staff photo by Aaron Brom)

The Brainstorm chalk board includes ideas for new student inventions. Camp Invention offered hands-on activities with the goal of innovation and creativity. (Sun staff photo by Aaron Brom)

Catholic school hosts Camp Invention

Go ahead, invent something.

You never know, your creation might just be featured on national TV.

That’s exactly what happened to St. Michael Catholic School soon-to-be-eighth-grader Jonathan Haller, who earlier this year appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in the new show’s first ever week.

Fallon aired a playful youth-promoting segment titled, “Fallonvention,” and Jonathan was the first of three students who got to show Fallon a creative invention. Jonathan’s invention was the “iHead,” an apparatus to hold one’s mobile device in front of your face allowing you to be hands-free or multi-tasking while watching videos or face-timing friends.

Jonathan got his inspiration from Camp Invention, the nation’s premier summer enrichment day camp program that is supported by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Jonathan’s connection to Camp Invention inspired the camp itself to come to his school July 14 through 18.

Teacher Heidi Gallus was the camp instructor.

“It’s the whole Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiative,” Gallus said. “It really gets the students’ brains working. Anybody can be an inventor.”

The weeklong day camp experience for students entering grades one through six encourages inventive young minds through hands-on problem solving, using STEM in a fun and creative atmosphere.

“We are thrilled to be offering Camp Invention to students in our community and helping to inspire the next generation of inventors,” Gallus said. “Many times the students are having so much fun, they don’t even realize they are learning and developing new skills.”

Some of the fun included making “pin bug” machines, like pinball machines with recyclable material “bug parts,” or building original prototypes, and creating a personalized motor-powered vehicle.

“What kinds of inventions make living better?” Gallus said. “We’re exploring the senses.”

With students attending from St. Michael-Albertville in addition to Big Lake, Monticello and Buffalo, Gallus said the school wants to build a foundation for future Camp Inventions.

“We really want to get the word out there about what the kids are doing,” she said. “It’s really a great opportunity to be actively involved in summer and we want to build the program for next year.”

And who knows? Today’s inventors might be on tomorrow’s national TV. Jonathan Haller can attest to that.

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