Robots are amazing! Some make you milkshakes, some help you clean your house, some even entertain us (as if drinking a milkshake while cleaning your house was not entertaining enough) and as we have found at Xplorations Camp this summer, kids love robots.
The kiddos in Rockin’ Robots camp this week have had the chance to learn what a robot is: they program some really adorable bee-bots to travel around, they make some fun robot crafts and even practice moving like a robot for the robot sing-a-long at the end of the week.
As kids get older, they can come back each year for more robot excitement in Roving Robots for 6 and 7 year olds and then RoboLab and Battlebots for 8-12 year olds and we even have an Advanced Robotics class for those who are excited about more in-depth programming.
Kids come up with all sorts of cool things robots could help us with – a favorite has been the robot who does homework and makes root beer floats. My cousin visited earlier this summer for a week of camp and was the grand champion of her Battlebots Friday Battle. It is so much fun to check out these camps as the weeks go by – great to see kids enthusiastic about building and exploring and making things go – a great start for our future engineers.
Just in case you were wondering – Merriam Webster defines a robot as follows:
1 a: a machine that looks like a human being and performs various complex acts (as walking or talking) of a human being; also: a similar but fictional machine whose lack of capacity for human emotions is often emphasizedb: an efficient insensitive person who functions automatically2: a device that automatically performs complicated often repetitive tasks3: a mechanism guided by automatic controls
Just as an update on my last post, the coolest thing I bought for camps this week - by far - is the Pitcher Plant I got at Whole Foods. The Parasites and Predators camp will study it when they learn about carnivorous plants. The grossest thing that’s been in the fridge lately is probably the pans of “gross krispies” – our yucky rock-, bean- and shell-filled version of rice krispies treats that smell like delicious, real rice krispies but are filled with things you know you can’t eat.
Here we are, in the 6th week of summer camp. As the weather is heating up outside, more and more cool things are happening here at the Museum summer camps! Week 6 heralds the first week of Advanced Robotics camp and the activities could not be more fun. Building a working electric motor, constructing a rocket robot, and programming Robo-dogs are all part of the excitement!
Campers are busy programing their robo-dogs to compete in Rally-Obedience training events. Check out this awesome video of one robo-dog successfully mastering a level in the rally! Notice the signs at our Rally-O are almost exactly like the real thing!
For those of you who don’t know what Rally-Obedience is, it is a fun and competative team sport for dogs and their human handlers.
Dog and Handler teams navigate a course with numbered signs indicating different exercises to perform such as Sit-Down-Sit, Straight Figure 8, Send Over Jump, Recall Over Jump. Teams navigate the course at a brisk pace without direction from the judge or any other outsider. Talking to your dog is always encouraged in Rally-O. Any dogs, purebred, mixed breeds and dogs with disabilities are encouraged to participate.
Check out this next video. It’s fun to see the campers get so excited when the robot performs exactly as it was programmed.