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This week’s theme at camp was Robotics, so STEM classes were focused on building and programming LEGO robots. Even though there were quite a few technical difficulties throughout the week, causing us to change the structure of our classes and create new plans on the spot, it was still a really fun week! The girls all seemed to really enjoy building on Monday; some even finished early, so they added sensors (such as to detect color and infrared light). On Tuesday, we planned to start coding. However, the computer lab desktops were missing drivers, so we weren’t able to actually download the code to the robots. Therefore, we spent the class teaching them how the program itself worked, and how to do block coding. While some of the girls had a natural affinity for coding, others had a bit more difficulty, so we spent a bit of time demonstrating how the robot received the code and consequently acted. On Wednesday we drew out paths that we wanted the robots to follow, and the campers programmed them on their own. Finally, on Thursday, they had to create their own maze and then program their robot to follow it.


Since I’m majoring in electrical engineering, I had an especially fun experience teaching robotics to all of the girls. Sakura and I showed them videos of our IDC (from the ECE110 course), in which we had to program bots in Arduino to follow lines and sense a variety of obstacles. Therefore, we were able to illustrate to the campers how what they were doing in STEM this week is actually transferable to engineering courses in college. We also showed them videos of other types of robots, and compared the servos used in their LEGO robots to those in functional, everyday machines. Since programming the robots proved to be a bit of a challenge, there were a lot of mixed reviews from the campers. However, those that had the most fun actually enjoyed robotics week due to the challenge, so hopefully there are a few more now considering engineering! This week was also a learning experience for me; many aspects of our lessons didn’t exactly go according to plan due to events out of our control, but we were able to improvise and create (in my opinion) a pretty successful STEM week, anyway. Therefore, I believe I’m capable of handling a bit more stress than I was previously, since I gained experience in moving forward from a problem rather than dwelling on it.


In the afternoons, after STEM, I also helped support a video game design class for the eighth graders. This also consisted of block coding; therefore, I was able to help the campers when needed, but I let them try to figure out their bugs on their own first. In the end, I was really impressed with their games! One group made a brick breaker game that was almost entirely functional in only two days of the class, so I was glad to see how far they have progressed since the beginning of camp!