TechnoCamp
Northwest ISD’s TechnoCamp a Big Hit
This is the image for the news article titled Northwest ISD’s TechnoCamp a Big HitOn the third week of five NISD summer camps, approximately 40 first through fifth graders excitedly settled into two empty Gene Pike Middle School rooms. This week, they get to build and program Legos as a part of the annual TechnoCamp program. Of the nearly 500 kids split among five-week programs, 20 first and second graders and 19 third through fifth graders filed into their respective rooms to begin building their Legos into creations of their own.

The program is held for three hours on Monday through Thursday with each day bringing a new challenge for the students. Tuesday was every destructive boy’s fantasy, battle bots day. The third through fifth graders used EV3 robotics to design, program and control their own unique battle bots that they programmed themselves through computer software.

After they finished up drag racing their creations from the day before, it was down to business as they followed instructions to complete their robot designs. Following a quick snack break, the kids returned to the room and began to set up their bots in a taped off circle and battle. Fourth grader Levi Layman said that his favorite part of the camp so far was “racing and battling their creations that we put hard work into.”

Led by Justin Elementary Librarian Donna Coleman, the third, fourth, and fifth grade kids learn what goes into building and programming starting at a young age. When asked what the purpose of having these students learn these skills was, she said, “It’s an enrichment. These kids are creating, challenging themselves, and already using their problem solving skills so young.” She continued, “Our high school has robotics, and having them participate in this is great preparation for that as well.”

While the first and second grade kids do not deal with as advanced building materials or programs, the students still used computer software, conducted trial runs, and experimented with their Lego creations. As the kids are testing their designs, soon-to-be third grader Cash Conklin remarks, “It’s tough building them, but we persevere though it and learn how it’s supposed to work.”

The young, eventual engineers then split into partners and each group began to build either a soccer goalie or a small design used to kick the ball. The kids followed directions from a DVD program and eventually their creations came to life as they presented their projects to the others and demonstrated how they worked.

On Thursday of the same week, parents will be invited to come with their students and be shown what they spent their time making every day. The parents ask questions and are treated to showcase of battle bots, drag racing and everything else the child constructed. Finally, the parents help their student inventory their Lego kit and the kids are free to go, with knowledge and excitement of the possibilities Technocamp has provided them with.

For more information, please visit http://technocamp.nisdtx.org