I am going to be running a robotics camp for kids 14-16.
Was wondering what type of kits you guys know of that
will take the kids about a week to put together, figuring
about 3 hours/day, so a total of about 15 hours worth
of assembly time. Was hoping for non-soldering.
Could split it into two kits as well. Not looking for
high $$ kits, $50 range.
I have a suggestion but not about the kits. Why limit the age to such
a narow age range. THere are 7/8 yr olds that help me build and love
On Sun, 23 Sep 2007 02:16:05 -0400, "Franco"
Yes, that is true, but this was the target age the people who are running it
are asking about. I was thinking about going for the younger kids.
So, give me a suggestion of kits for both ages in the same time frame.
I'm not sure it fits your price range, but the Vex and Lego Mindstorms
kits could definitely be useful here.
Perhaps the Boebot kits will be in your price range?
I'd suggest that you have some sort of simple competition for the bots
to compete in at the end of the week. That way, they get to design their
solution and see how it performs against everyone else.
You could do a sumo competition, or some sort of ball or block
I'm not sure you really want what you're asking for -- a kit that
they'll spend an entire week assembling before they get any
gratification? How "build a little, play a little, add a little on,
play a little..."
Other than the price constraint, I'd suggest Mindstorms. I don't know
of the Boebots are in your price range...
Try to have a modular approach -- for instance first, build a motor
platform and get it to go forward. Then, add bumpers and make it
bounce off objects. Then, make it follow a line. Finish up with a
race along a track to see whose robot works best.
I actually ran a camp like you're describing several years ago -- we
used Legos (but not Mindstorms) and Freescale HC11-based single board
computers because they were available to us (it's the platform we use
for teaching our sophomore assembly language programming course). We
wired up home-made bump and light sensors, and my son and I built a
simple reactive robot control language; the students seemed to have
I agree with Joe. The real joy of
robitics isn't building them, but
in programming them, getting feedback
from sensors, and watching the robots
interact with their environment.
I think Mindstorms is a good choice.
100% of the kids are going to be
familiar with Legos. At least
mechanically, Mindstorms won't be
a big leap. The motors and sensors
just click into place just like
another block. Unless the kids
are retarded, they should be able
to put something together in a
couple hours. Then they can start
programming, adding more sensors,
and improving their design.
Mindstorms will cost more than $50/kit,
but if you have them work in teams of
3 or 4, you might be able to do it for
around $50/kid. They will have more fun
working in teams anyway.
If you put them in teams, and your camp
has both boys and girls, you should make
each team single gender. For younger
(pre-puberty) kids, mixed gender teams
are fine, but for 14-16yrs, the boys
will treat their male teammates as
competitors instead of cooperating with
them, and the girls will act dumb and
contribute little. Both genders will
do better on unisex teams.
At most tech camps, you have two
kinds of kids:
1. Kids that are interested.
2. Kids whose parents think they
should be interested.
The first group tend to be more
highly skilled, more motivated,
and, well, more nerdy. You need
to engage and challange both
groups, but their needs are
different. Mindstorms is a
good choice here too, because
both groups can start of with
the simple GUI programming,
but more motivated kids can
then move on to C or Java.
As others have mentioned, you
should have some sort of
competition on the last day.
Over the years, other people have
asked similar questions. But we
never hear back from them. So
please let us know what you decide
to use, and how it works out. Take
some pictures of the robots, and
put them on a website. Then post
a link in this newsgroup.
Robotics is an expensive hobby...
Even a simple wheel or tank base and a simple micro comes in over your
budget. Maybe you could get a volume/educational discount somewhere?
Personally, I'd try to get programmable kits. Even better if you have
access to a computer lab somewhere. The Logo turtle could easily fill
a week. The single-function, nonprogrammable kits might lose their
luster when 10 kids each build the same thing.
Here's a few kits near your price range.
The Bee-Bot (probably below your age group)
The Microbric Viper or AI2
Great info so far.
I will be having the kids work in teams.
I guess let me give you my background a little.
I am a 'career' switcher, was working in the aerospace industry for years
decided to give teaching a try after getting disgusted volunteering at the
regional science fairs for a few years. The kids were being feed lots of
especially in the engineering category. I am now a technology education
a high school. On the side, I set up a camp to run last year over the
but did not touch on robotics yet. I have a community center that wants me
in and run a one week robotics class for kids. They asked me today to set up
10-14 or 12-14 age group. So I am looking for some help so these kids get
something out of this.
I typically work with 14 to 18. Which kids are more manageable for the age
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