Da Vincineers today, avant-gardes tomorrow
Friday, June 22, 2012View full version
WENATCHEE — There was plenty of educational exploration in Wenatchee this week as kids made paint from scratch, created a camera obscura, drew 3D designs and built model bridges, aircraft and catapults.
They even attempted to “walk on water” to test water shoes made by Amy Ferrell, creator of the camp at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center.
Before winning Macy’s Million Dollar Makeover last year, Ferrell was a passionate teacher and mother and still is today. The only hint of celebrity lies on her Facebook page — Clinton Kelly from the TV show “What Not to Wear” regularly comments on her status updates.
Ferrell’s success has given her the resources to create the first Da Vincineers camp, and to carry on next fall with workshops through the Wenatchee School District.
The camp’s activities are inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci, the Renaissance man with a genius for many trades. The breadth of his work makes for great lesson material, Ferrell says, because it reaches out to all different thinkers with different interests — from budding art hipsters to future engineers. Science, art and math overlap so often that you forget the lines in between.
“It’s Da Vinci’s inventive nature, his endless curiosity about how everything works that makes him a great focal point for this camp,” Ferrell said.
And don’t worry parents, the Da Vincineers didn’t follow Leonardo’s footsteps entirely — there were no human dissections at camp.
Instead, there were first- through seventh-graders more eager to learn about Da Vinci’s painting methods than a college art history class. Holding education in their own hands, the children found learning to be hooray-worthy rather than ho-hum.
“We’re doing things, experimenting, rather than just listening to someone talk,” said Emily Mayhew, a fifth-grader from Utah.
At the end of the day, James Martin, another Da Vincineer, said, “I built this aircraft myself, and it’s the best ever made.”
After camp, Ferrell hopes all the children will share their great ideas.
Emily Wooldridge: 664-7154