GEORGETOWN, Ky. – Campers at Georgetown College’s 2014 Robot Camp will use brand-new Lego EV3 robots to explore how robots are changing our world in concert with the theme, “Going, Going, Gone – Robots in Motion.”
Now in its eleventh year, the camp curriculum will investigate transportation-related robotics applications, such as the Mars Rover, Google’s self-driving cars, and Amazon’s delivery drones.
Elementary camp dates (open to students entering grades 4 and 5) are June 23-27, while middle school camp (entering grades 6 through 9) will take place July 7-11. All sessions will be held at the Ensor Learning Resource Center from 9-11:30 a.m.
“Robotics takes science and math and makes it practical,” said Dr. Andrea Peach, Associate Dean of Graduate Education and camp director. “It teaches campers logical thinking skills, how to be creative, and how to work in teams. Sometimes, it teaches them that things don’t always work and how to persevere. And it’s a lot of fun!”
The camp costs $125 per child ($75 for immediate family members of Georgetown College employees), and scholarships are available. “I am committed to making sure that all kids can come to this camp, no matter if they can pay or not,” Peach said. Although the camp is open to all students regardless of prior robotics experience, returning campers will be able to pursue advanced curriculum.
Georgetown’s robotics camps offer learning opportunities for students and teachers alike. Along with spurring student interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum, the camps also serve as a professional development opportunity for Kentucky teachers who are interested in integrating robotics into their classrooms. Students in Georgetown College’s graduate education program who enroll in Peach’s summer course, Implementing STEM in the Classroom with Robotics, assist at the camps as part of their practicum experience.
“Coming to the camp will help prepare kids to be on robotics teams and compete in robotics competitions,” Peach explained. “But the camps also train the teachers on how to use robotics in their classrooms.”
Peach has also used the robotics camps as an opportunity to reach out to diverse student populations. Along with assistance from Georgetown’s Dr. Rebecca Powell and the Center for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CCRP), the camps provide an informal learning opportunity for ELL (English language learner) students.
“We incorporate special strategies and use the robots as a way to help them practice their language skills and work with other kids. We choose our camp themes every year to be very practical and relevant to those kids.”
In 2013, Peach was awarded a grant by the Curious Forever foundation, located in Scott County, which allowed her to offer full camp scholarships to five special needs students and purchase a robot for a Northern Elementary class. “The robotics camps are open to everyone,” Peach stressed. “We’re looking for a good blend of kids from all walks of life.”
For more information or to register for the 2014 camp sessions, please visit http://www.georgetowncollege.edu/robots.
– Article by Alex Lopez ’07