Intro to Robotics (Impact Summer Kid’s Camp)

From June 13 – June 14 2019, I facilitated an Introduction to Robotics workshop for children in a summer camp hosted by a church in Murfreesboro Tennessee. The workshop was meant to be the first in a series of programs to introduce robotics and machine learning to the children.

Some of our 5-7 year old participants showing off their ScratchJr Project

We had about 60 participants with ages ranging from 6 -13 years old.

AIMS/GOALS: • Students learn enough to create something during the sessions • Students are interested enough to continue working with some of the tools after the camp.

FORMAT: We had sessions with about 10- 15 students. Each session lasted at least one hour. The approach was  project based. and I followed an agenda inspired by the one hour agenda in the guide from the ScratchEd website: introductions (including everyone giving their names), an introduction to Scratch and the other tools, time working on projects and sharing, reflection on what was learnt and presenting options for continuing with Scratch after the session.

TOOLS/PLATFORMS: We had Scratch, Scratch Jr, Makey Makey and the Microbit. Children between 6 and 8 years old worked with Scratch Jr while the older children worked with Scratch, the Makey Makey kit and the Micro Bit Kit. The kids worked in teams of two or more and I provided a number of tutorials and each child had the opportunity to decide what they wanted to do or learn.

CHALLENGES: Due to the location of the camp, I had to use offline versions of Scratch since internet connectivity was not good enough despite our efforts to improve it.

Pictures from the workshop are shown below.

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A participant testing the “when jumped” Microbit extension block in Scratch 3.0

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A participant exploring the Makey Makey

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All images and video used with permission.

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