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‘It challenges your brain’

Krystle Wagner • Jun 29, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Although summer vacation is now in full swing, a group of students have been hard at work in Amy Carlson’s classroom this week.

During a four-day camp, 14 students are learning the basics of robotics and programming through the Lego Mindstorms camp being offered at Beach Elementary School in Fruitport.

“You can move robots without moving them with our hands,” said Satchel Norwood, a fourth-grader.

To start the week, students built their robots with motors, wheels and sensors. They also designed an obstacle course for their robots to navigate by programming it to use specific actions.

Beach Elementary School teacher and camp instructor Amy Carlson said younger children have an interest and excitement surrounding robotics.

Having the hands-on learning opportunities gives children the chance to problem solve and find solutions, Carlson said.

“It’s a huge focus we need to have,” she said.

Last year, Carlson coached Beach Elementary School’s first-year robotics team called the Techno Trojans 2.0, which involved fourth- and fifth-graders. The school also has a junior Lego robotics team for first- through third-grade students.

Fruitport students also have the chance to get involved with the middle school team, Techno Trojans II, and the high school F.I.R.S.T. Robotics team, Techno Trojans.

Edgewood Elementary School is also slated to start a robotics team in the fall, Carlson said.

Fourth-grader Kendall Lee said she likes having a new challenge to tackle each day, and she feels a sense of accomplishment and pride when she able to move onto the next problem.

Learning about robotics and everything it entails is something new, said sixth-grader Lauren Lee said she enjoys the camp because she’s learning new things.

“It challenges your brain,” she said. “You do stuff you’ve never done before.”

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