Elementary School Students Participate in Summer Robotics And Engineering Camp
Posted on 07/03/2019
plainville elementary students at msp summer robotics camp Thanks to a grant from the Jamie Garfield ’00 Grant Program through the Kingswood Oxford School, and the work of Kingswood Oxford student Ella Schwartz, a no-cost Robotics and Engineering Camp was offered to 20 elementary age Plainville students in June. The day camp, which ran from June 24-28 at the Middle School of Plainville provided the venue and opportunity for participants to work on engineering challenges and build robots to learn about communication and cooperation.
The summer day camp program was designed and developed by Ella Schwartz, who will be a senior this fall at Kingswood Oxford School. She serves as the team captain of the robotics team at school. She and her fellow Kingswood Oxford Wyvern Robotics team member, Michael Doyle, worked with the day camp participants to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related skills building, including designing, building and programming for robotics. “I designed this camp to be challenging and frustrating. The goal was not to succeed at every challenge or task but to learn how to communicate and cooperate with a team while still having fun. It was more important that the campers learned how to listen and be constructive while talking with each other rather than successfully completing a challenge,” noted Ms. Schwartz.
The daily camp sessions were divided into sections that included Engineering Challenges, Building Robots, Driving and Strategy, and Programming. Engineering challenges included: “Can you hold up a book using marshmallows and toothpicks?” and “How many pennies can you float using only one sheet of aluminum foil?” During the Building Robots segment, participants learned how to use gears to create simple machines and how to build a working robot. The Driving and Strategy segment focused on teamwork and cooperation, as well as communication before and during a competition. The Programming segment involved learning how robots “think” and how robots “do” exactly what they are “told.”
Schwartz’s mother, Laurel Schwartz, who is a faculty member and Robotics Team Advisor at the Middle School of Plainville, served as the faculty advisor for the summer camp program. “We wanted students to build skills, not just in engineering, but in communication. Successful students are often creative problem solvers that work well in teams. It was very exciting to see the changes in the students’ ability to work together. In fact, 95% of the students reported an improvement in managing their frustrations and communicating better by the end of camp,” she explained.
“This innovative and exciting program was a win - win for all involved! Plainville students were fortunate that Ella Schwartz designed and successfully implemented this grant funded program with shared leadership from classmate, Michael Doyle. We were also fortunate to have Mrs. Schwartz as the volunteer faculty advisor, giving of her time, experience and creativity to support these students. I look forward to supporting future opportunities such as these that utilize our district STEM and STEAM labs while promoting the skills students need for success in their future: creativity, collaboration, communication, perseverance, and problem-solving,” said Superintendent of Schools, Steven LePage.