June 8, 2010
It wasn’t so long ago, that a little robot with a big heart captured the imaginations from every child and adult who experienced his adventures — he also picked up an Academy Award to boot.
After seeing Pixar’s blockbuster hit WALL-E, what child wouldn’t want to create their own robot? Temple University Ambler and Fort Washington offer a series of camp focused on doing just that! Lego® Mindstorms™ NXT Robotics camps are offered at beginner and intermediate levels!
The Lego® Mindstorms™ NXT Robotics: Beginner Level camp is “great for campers who have never worked with robotics or have a little experience,” said camp instructor Seth Hogan.
“They will learn how to build a robot from a kit and then have the opportunity to modify and rebuild it with their own ideas. We will also look at the basic concepts in programming — it is a visual, icon based programming language that is very intuitive,” he said. “Within the first day, the students will have a working robot and work to get the robot to complete simple tasks. Throughout the week, they will explore other options in the programming and modify their robot in order to complete more complex tasks.”
Hogan knows a little something about robots.
“I coach the First Lego League and First Tech robotics teams in the Upper Dublin School District,” he said. “We have taken teams to the World Championship in Atlanta and to the Open Asia Tournament in Tokyo, Japan. This will be my third year teaching at Temple.”
Hogan said the goal of the Beginner and Intermediate level camps is to introduce campers to basic ideas in robotics and programming while also fostering problem solving skills, “and most of all, we want to have fun.”
“During the Intermediate Level camp, we will explore advanced parts of the programming language. Campers will start with a robot of their own design and modify it as needed,” he said. “They will have the opportunity to complete complex tasks with the robot. We will talk about gear ratios, torque, and other mechanical concepts.”
There are scholarships available for campers who would like to attend the Lego® Mindstorms™ camps this summer.
Applicants must be residents of the Whitpain, Ambler Borough, Upper Dublin, Lower Gwynedd, or Wissahickon communities; be recommended because of financial need by a letter from the school guidance counselor or the principal: meet good citizenship guidelines as determined by their school administrator; complete all required camp following notification of their scholarship award; and commit to attend a full camp session. The scholarships are being funded by the Dow Chemical Company in Spring House, Pennsylvania — contact 267-468-8500 for information on the scholarships.
Campers have dozens of opportunities during July and August to get their technology fix during Temple University Ambler and Forts Washington’s Summer Educations Camps this summer, according to Rhonda Geyer, Director of Non-Credit programs at the Ambler and Fort Washington campuses.
“Our Summer Education Camps are a fun-filled approach to academic subjects in a small-group setting,” she said. “They provide a wonderful opportunity for kids and teens to learn about a specific area of interest, experience a college campus, and have a lot of fun at the same time.”
Temple University Engineering Professor Dr. Dennis Silage, who will be teaching Advanced Lego Robotics, is also offering a new camp for the first time this year — Explore Engineering — which will provide students the hands-on opportunity to invent, design, and build creations while developing skills in problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership.
“What do engineers do? They use technology and imagination to solve real-world problems right in our own communities and work to improve people’s lives,” said Dr. Silage. “We’ll look at civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and, finally, electrical engineering, the magic behind the electrical, electronic, and computer revolution. We’ll investigate how wireless communication works with the Marconi Challenge using infrared (IR) signals, the same technology as a remote control.”
It’s, of course, very likely that most kids today have played a video game at some point in their lives. But how many have actually created their own?
In Create Computer Games with Flash kids will have the chance to learn all of the essentials of creating interactive computer games using Adobe Flash!
“Adobe Flash is a widely used program for Web animations and online game development. The camp will start with Flash basics, then quickly go beyond simple animations to using Flash Actionscript programming,” said Geyer. “Campers will learn basic gaming concepts while they create interactive computer games. The week is fast-paced and involves a great deal of computer programming, which is most suitable for older children (ages 13 to 17 are recommended). Campers need not know Flash, but should have good computer and problem-solving skills.”
Additional technology camps offered this summer include Webmasters – Beginners and Beyond! where campers will learn to use Adobe Dreamweaver and a variety of other programs to design a multi-page Web site.
Photoshop “Phun” for Photographers and Shutterbugs: Digital Photography, which will provide campers with the opportunity to master their camera skills and photo presentations. Experience the art of filmmaking in front of the camera and behind the scenes with the always popular Film and TV Camp and Digital Video Editing, which is returning for a second year, or have an “art attack” with Art Rage, which teaches students how to paint with oils and watercolors, sketch with pencils, and much more using Art Rage software.
“Kids are becoming much more tech savvy today — they were born into a world of technology,” Hogan said. “They are much better equipped to explore new technology and discovering new things in new ways.”
Beyond technology, additional camps offer experiences in interior design, learning how to debate like a pro, acting, creating remarkable portraits, writing and publishing, exploring the world of nature and “green crafts,” and the intricacies of babysitting.
Campers can discover the importance of “Going Green” and the wonders of the Earth around us with new and returning camps, such as Extreme Weather, The Eco-Zone: Exploring the World of Nature, Earth and Space Science, and Science Explorers. In the new camp Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Eco-Friendly Green Crafts, students will discover how to take everyday items, which they may consider to be trash or recyclables, and turn them into creative crafts while in Make a Difference — Going Green students will learn the importance of becoming a steward for the environment during fun, interactive activities that will inspire campers to make a difference in their own homes and communities.
Campers can discover their inner Broadway and film star with Once Upon a Scene, and Acting for Teens or unlock their inner Picasso with Drawing for the Young Artist and Figure Drawing and Portraiture.
Teens will also learn how to take their rooms from ordinary to extraordinary with Interior Design with Teens in Mind and the newly offered camp Interior Design Star, camps designed for 13 to 17-years olds that will teach teens to creatively express themselves through professional interior design techniques that highlight furniture, art, fabrics, lighting, and accessories.
Temple University Ambler and Fort Washington additionally offers a series of “Jumpstart!” camps designed to give students a leg up on reading, math, and writing.
Now in its 21st year, the Summer Education Camp program is offered in June, July, and August as a series of primarily one-week camps.
“With the one-week camp sessions, families can try several different camp programs throughout the summer,” Geyer said. “Children and teens today are interested in so many things that we wanted to offer them the widest variety of fun, educational experiences possible.”
This summer, a variety of full day and half day camp programs will be offered each week. Full day camps will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Half day camps will run from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. This allows campers the opportunity to stay for the entire day or just come for a part of the day. It also provides flexibility for parents who may need their child in a camp program all day, or just a half-day.
For more information on Temple University Ambler Summer Education Camp program, or to register for camps, call 267-468-8500. Or, visit us online at www.ambler.temple.edu/camps.