The week of July tenth, VorTX hosted its very own student lead summer camp for children entering 4th through 8th grades. The nine hour camp was hosted at Ulrich Intermediate where we followed a curriculum based on tinkering with NXT’s and EV3’s, programmable bricks made by Lego for early robotics learning. During “Bot Time” the kids faced many challenges, for our blue group (campers currently in elementary school) they had speed races, battlebots, accuracy races, turning races, and a tug of war. These challenges provoked critical thinking in design options, wheel selection, gear ratios and sensor implementation. Then the next stage was programming the bot. Kids learned how to turn, use sensors, stop at marked distances, and, their favorite, drive fast. The green group (campers currently in middle school) had a week to plan, build, program, improve and practice for Mission Apollo, our very own challenge. With an autonomous and teleop period the students were dealing with an engineering process similar to our own build season. This learning of mechanical and programming will hopefully reveal a path for a future in engineering for our campers.
Another priority of the camp was to teach the kids how to be safe. We showed relevant safety videos and acted out entertaining safety skits about internet safety, emergency response, and the importance of closed toe shoes and safety glasses.
As camp coordinators, members of VorTX had planned numerous fun activities for the kids to take part in. With contests for paper airplanes, personal lava lamps, even the classic elephant toothpaste. One however, was a clear favorite of the students, the marshmallow popper’s. These small shooters used a balloon and cups to launch marshmallows, which inevitably started a massive camper vs counselor war. This activity created a fun environment for the kids to release the energy gained from the iconic snack time. And at the end of the week, campers got certificates to congratulate these kids for their hard work..
Overall, this camp was a learning experience, we were able to improve our curriculum for future years ahead. Students showed promise for their future, and some even promised that they would join the team once they reach high school! The lessons and experiences had long lasting effect on both the counselors and students, which will influence the campers and counselors for years come.
Thanks to all the counselors, coaches, and campers that participated in the first annual Robotics Summer Camp! We’re excited to see you next year!