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Robot battles, drone flights and more in summer camps

Robot battles, drone flights and more in summer camps

Ready, set, charge! Students launch their battle bots against each other in a fight to the death to see whose robot can survive being pummeled by another remote-controlled machine.

It’s all part of learning at IDEA Lab Kids, where students in first through ninth grades explore science, tech, engineering and math, sprinkled with art.

They ask questions from “How do I build the strongest BattleBot?” to “How can my drone help the environment?”

They explore circuits, robotics, science, engineering – plus art as they design fearsome looking BattleBots.

“They learn about components that can be used in some real-life projects,” said Mabast Ahmad, one of IDEA Lab Kids’ curriculum specialist.

At IDEA Lab Kids, students dive into semester-long after-school workshops, weeklong summer camps and one-day workshops to ask questions – and to engineer their own answers.

It’s not just robotics

Increasingly, jobs today require overlapping skills – maybe you’re an engineer who also markets your product or perhaps you develop computer programs and then train people how to use them.

At IDEA Lab Kids, students learn technical skills and soft skills, science and art, precision and creativity.

A child in one camp might learn how to make a motor propel a robot and then decorate her robot however she imagines it.

Another might brainstorm an idea for a business, design a product and then learn how to market it.

Another might discover an innovative solution to a problem and then learn how to explain her idea to potential investors.

It’s a place where students’ imaginations are free to explore, discover and create.

Learning for all levels

IDEA Lab Kids teaches “SparksTM,” kids from kindergarten to second grade, “InventorsTM,” students from 3-5 grades, and “InnovatorsTM,” students from grades 5-9.

SparksTM might work their way through a LEGO or robotics kit or build one from scratch, while InnovatorsTM might complete a robot from the ground up.

Plus, classes can select a theme for their robot – whether recreating a Star Wars plane or replicating a Spider-Man drone.

What makes IDEA Lab Kids different is that each camp or workshop encompasses many skills – students might design and print pieces for a drone on the 3D printer or they might learn cooking skills in the culinary arts classes while digitally designing their ideal café thus incorporating technology.

Throughout each camp or workshop, children develop their abilities to solve problems, to think critically and to work individually and as a team.

Real-world learning

In a camp, students might investigate how to use motion sensors to create intruder alarms – plus learn how they work in cars’ backup cameras. Or they may learn how to build a robot that works with Bluetooth technology.

They learn the multi-step process of robotics – building a robot or drone, then programming how, when and where it should move, and then troubleshooting. At the program’s end, they can fully program an autonomous flying drone.

This teaches them how driverless cars and other machines function.

It all leads up to being able to design your own robot to solve a real-life problem.

Camps and workshops

One new camp focuses on how to build a robot to solve a Rubik’s cube – a challenge for humans.

First, campers learn the logic behind how to solve a Rubik’s cube manually, then they tackle how to build a robot with the mechanisms to do it (exploring the engineering process). They program the robot (learning computer programming skills along the way). Finally, they troubleshoot it, using trial and error, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

With robotics, students learn abstract concepts applied to real life and can see their ideas in real time.

“You see results with robotics. You code, and you set the machine to work and see it come to life,” said Mabast Ahmad.

Spies, Jedi and Wizards

In other camps, such as Super-Secret Spy Camp, students select a problem to solve. Maybe they will create a lie detector that notices when a suspect’s heart beats faster. Or maybe they’ll create a sensor that can detect motion and distance using engineering principles.

At the Jedi Training Institute, students will explore the science of nutrition, and in Hocus Pocus Wizarding Camp, they’ll hone their chemistry, technology and potions skills.

Each project incorporates multiple skills from circuits to coding. This provides many opportunities to learn how technology works and to harness its power.

To infinity and beyond

It’s all about combining art and science to inspire kids’ passion for creativity, discovery and invention.

Each camp and workshop focuses on training not just the entrepreneurs and coders of tomorrow, but of today, as kids launch their ideas and dreams now.  

IDEA Lab Kids is where imaginations roam free. In whatever sphere students choose to take their talents now, and in the future, we know we’re giving them the best possible place to start.