Young robot enthusiasts brought lego to life in Ucluelet last week.
North Island College launched a robotics camp for kids between 9-12 years old this summer and welcomed roughly 200 of them to week-long learning experiences in Port Alberni, the Comox Valley, Ucluelet, Port Hardy and Campbell River.
Students spent the week improving their digital literacy and picking up transferrable skills in science, technology, engineering and math, while building and controlling Lego EV3 robots and making connections with likeminded youth in their community.
“Those skills are really easily transferrable into more complex programming languages,” camp instructor Andrew Gair told the Westerly News during the camp’s final day on Friday.
“It teaches visual programming and visual programming is super useful for kids and learning it through lego is an awesome way to do it because you get to physically see what your code does, rather than watch an object move across the screen.”
Wickaninnish Community School principal Drew Ryan, whose nine year old son Tayte participated in the program, said the course provided a valuable alternative to the West Coast’s traditional summer calendar.
“Having some programming options that are more science based, I think, is pivotal,” he said.
“We have a lot of outdoor education opportunities here in both Ucluelet and Tofino, but something more science and mathematical based is pretty cool to see as that’s one of the musts in our society today. It’s a win-win. These kids had lots and lots of fun.”
Ucluelet local Angus Sohier, 8, was delighted about his first hands-on robot building experience.
“It was fun,” he said. “We got to build moving lego.”
Koen Lefevre, 10, also had a blast.
“I really like lego and we got to build lego and then bring it to life in our own way,” he said. “You get all these pieces and it’s almost like you can build whatever you want. It’s just really fun getting this experience because most kids don’t usually get this. This is a huge opportunity. It’s just a crazy experience and tons of fun.”
NIC’s robotics camp was launched after NIC employee Albert Balbon’s son Chase was inspired by a Lego EV3 experience his Grade 5 class had.