Newtown Continuing Education's WeDo Robotics Camp
Newtown Continuing Education's WeDo Robotics camp had campers working on Wednesday, July 15, under the watchful eye of Reed Intermediate School computer teacher Tim McGuire.
The WeDo Robotics camp, according to the description from Newtown Continuing Education, provides, “participants the opportunity to design simple robots with working motors and sensors. Students will explore core STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) as they build and program the robots using the Scratch application.”
“The STEM skills are evident throughout this camp,” said Mr McGuire. “The technology is the programming, the engineering is the building, and there’s a lot of math involved. The kids have to use math to program the robots through the Scratch system.”
The students used the Scratch software, which was created by MIT, to make their robots work, according to Mr McGuire, who also said that activities such as these help to develop divergent thinking or creative thinking.
“We’re used to thinking that we have to do something or use something a certain way,” said Mr McGuire. “But, we want the kids to think about the pieces differently.”
Wednesday’s challenge was to build the slowest moving robot within specific parameters and each of the students had a different take on how to accomplish the task.
“The competition is to make the slowest vehicle,” said Matthew Holden, 8. “I’m using tank tracks instead of tires to do that.”
Another student, Glenn Adams, 9, had a different approach.
“We use the Scratch program to program the car to go forward,” said Glenn. “And because it has to go slow, I’m only going to have front wheels and put lots of stuff on the back.”
This was Cyrena Arokium’s, 10, first time learning how to build a robot, but she said that it was fun, especially once she gets to see it moving.
“I’m doing the sports theme,” said Cyrena. “It’s a goalkeeper, so it’ll move around from side-to-side.”
Once Cyrena finished building her goalkeeper, she said that the hardest part was building the gears that control the motion.
Parker Chung, 8, and Perry Ghosh, 12, both agreed that they were having a lot of fun learning how to build their robots.
“I’m doing the slow challenge, to make the slowest robot,” said Perry. “I’m making a car.”
Each day of the five-day camp had a different challenge, such as the slowest motion challenge.
“Every day is a different build idea,” said Mr McGuire. “Each challenge is designed to be not too complicated, but to allow the kids to use what they’ve been learning. That, and a lot of trial and error.”
More information about Newtown Continuing Education's programs is available at its website, summersmartcampct.org.