Jul 22, 2007

Robotics Camp In Northern Virginia

Reston Robotics Academy
July 16 – 20 , 2007

Well it was a tough week both for the campers and the instructor. There were 17 students split into 6 teams each sharing a single NXT Education Base kit. After the first day they all had unpacked, inventoried and built the Tribot. By the 4th day, they were all able to demonstrate a few missions on the Nano-Tech field for visiting parents.

Day 5 was dedicated to shooting robot videos, preparing team websites, and of course - cleanup!!!! The kids managed to break down their creations and re-inventory all parts of the NXT Edu kit.

Click here to see videos and check out their CAD designs and programs


Rick Rhodes said...

Some very nice CAD work by these teams. Who has been teaching them, and how? :)


David Levy said...

I had the new LEGO Digital Designer installed on the campus machines. The tool really comes in handy when there's only one robot shared between three students.

The kids played with the tool on their own in the beginning. Then when it came time for a team to document their Tribot attachments, most of the kids knew enough to produce some decent models. Others needed some guidance ( but very little)

Hans Mundahl said...

This looks like an awesome program, David! It's really nice to see some of the outcomes shared through video and CAD.

I'm interested in operating this kind of program in a summer camp type setting next year. This seems like an excellent way to engage kids creatively, excite them about science and engineering, and do meaningful work with kids!

My only problem is that I'm not personally skilled enough with the NXT to have the street cred to pull it off personally. But as an educator I see huge potential here.

Here are a couple of thoughts / questions:
1) Are there reputable instructors / institutions / organizations (such as yourself) who might be interested in partnering on something like this?

2) What can we offer the FIRST Lego League folks? They must be sick of the previous challenge by now and the new one isn't out yet. But aren't there some key skills that could be taught prior to the season in a fun, summer camp type setting?

3) There are many camps local to particular metro regions that advertise Lego robotics sessions. How good are they, what works well at these programs and what doesn't? If a program like this is developed at one school, could it be applied to another one?

4) What are the applications of this kind of learning beyond the robotics field? How can we effectively talk about the group process, researching, questioning, testing, refining, creative problem solving, communication, and presentation skills, among others, that would be built with this type of program?

Well, I think those are my main thoughts at the moment - thanks again for providing a great forum to think about all this!


David Levy said...

Great questions. I'll do my best to answer as many as I can. Hopefully others may be able to provide feedback as well.

1) Are there reputable instructors / institutions / organizations (such as yourself) who might be interested in partnering on something like this?

You may want to find FLL contacts in your area. They should be able to hook you up with some skilled mentors.

2) What can we offer the FIRST Lego League folks?

You are right. "Been there. Done that". Still using a past challenge makes it much easier than coming up with one of your own themes.
I'd say that veteran FLL members may be better off with weekly instructional courses rather than a themed adventure. ( just my opinion). For that you can try the CMU site for their curriculum.

Hans Mundahl said...

Thanks for the ideas and advice! I'm going to think about this some more this fall and see if I can come up with some more tangible design ideas to float by the community.


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