July 30, 2005
'I, Robot' Comes to Marshall University with LEGO, Duplo Camps
By Chris Spencer Huntington News Network Photographer Huntington, WV
Students are learning skills in LEGO
and Duplo camps being held in the James E. Morrow Library at Marshall University
this week, preparing them for competition and teaching them future skills.
Students from third grade to high school age participate in learning how
to build robots and controlling them with the latest computer technology.
"They are building robots and actually programming them using language
programs like those that are used in running the Mars rovers," said camp
coordinator Linda Hamilton. "They are for real," she added. "The students
are actually using programming language that can be used in industry and
in business. The programs are like little icon boxes that work." "They
have to think ahead and make the program do what they want it to do. Robots
are going to do exactly what you program them to do. There are eight challenge
they are supposed to do in two minutes."
Click pictures to view larger photos.
Robots are made to do tasks like rescue a squid, plant kelp, bring
back an airplane and cap oxygen towers using computers. Even though the
campers were having fun there is more to it than playing with toys. "This
is math, science, problem solving, being able to work together and thinking
about physics and engineering that they are going to need in their real
lives," Hamilton said. Campers are preparing for the competition season
that starts in September. Challenges are issued and teams build robots
to accomplish the challenges. There are state and national competitions.
Hamilton said, "The FIRST LEGO League season starts in September and the
tournament is in December. They will have about eight weeks to prepare"
"This is exactly like a football or baseball season," she added. "This
is sports for the mind. " "It is nice to have these camps where the kids
and parents can learn. The kids actually have to do the building and the
programming." "This is learning how to do the RoboLab programming. What
they do not realize this is an educational heavy duty school. They think
of it as fun."
FIRST LEGO League Robotics teams can be sponsored by a business or
a company. The cost is about $600.00. For more information contact Linda
Hamilton at 304-696-7166. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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