Building Skills for the Future
The InSITE (Incorporating Science, Industrial Technology and Engineering) Robotics Camp brought engineering graduate students together with younger minds this week. The kids spent most of the day building computer-programmed cars using LEGO sets.
"The first thing I liked was first we had to build a structure that had to hold a brick, and that was pretty fun," said Ben Snyder, InSITE camp participant. Snyder starts fifth grade in a couple of weeks, but right now he's working on support structures.
Students use mechanical LEGOs and computers to build and program cars and robots. As you might expect, the complicated designs can come with setbacks.
"Sometimes, we had trouble, but then, it always turns out good," said Snyder.
"We're trying to integrate science, industrial technology and engineering into fun, hands-on activities," said Craig Weilbaecher, InSITE camp instructor.
The profits that the MU engineering students make from the camp goes into increasing numbers of participants.
"The National Science Foundation K-12 program's been in existence for two years now, and it's in its last year of funding," said Weilbaecher. "The idea behind the LEGO camps is to generate funds to send more engineering students into the classroom to sustain this program for as long as we can."
In addition to what is learned in the classroom, students leave the camp with homework, more fun projects to sharpen their engineering skills. The MU College of Engineering plans to offer the LEGO robotics camp throughout the school year and next summer.