We are already three-quarters of the way with Eureka Camp! If I could sum up this week in two words, it would be: learning experience.
This week was robotics week for the STEM activity, and I had the 7th grade group throughout the week. We had these LEGO robot kits called MINDSTORM NXTs, which is an all-inclusive robot kit that could be assembled LEGO-style into a programmable mobile robot. The girls spent the first and second days building the robot, and the remainder of the week learning how to code the robot and participate in a robot maze course challenge. MINDSTORM had its own programming software, which uses Scratch-style block coding, which is easy to learn and beginner-friendly. Although one or two of the girls had done block coding before, for most of the girls, this was their first experience with robotics and coding.
As an Electrical and Computer Engineering major, it was especially cool for me to see the girls learning how to build and program their robots. This is exactly the kind of experience that I had found myself wishing I had had in middle and high school, when I took my intro to ECE class last semester. I did not even know what engineering was until senior year of high school, let alone robotics, so it is personally rewarding and exciting to be actively involved in teaching and exposing these girls to robotics at this age. From personal experience I know how helpful it is going to be for them in the future should they decide to pursue engineering, and it is amazing to know that their college experience will be better than it would have been because of the work that I am doing. This week, DukeEngage truly felt meaningful in a tangible way.