Robotics workshop at Saint Vincent De Paul

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Every Tuesday during the month of April, Alyson and I spent some time at Saint Vincent De Paul teaching a robotics workshop to elementary and middle school aged kids.

During the first week, the kids spent the workshop with tools assembling the robot kits that they would use over the course of the month. One of our gaols at the hive is to take concepts which may have been intimidating to people (for instance: building a robot) and make them accessible. Seeing yourself put a robot together, and watching it drive around is empowering, especially if that isn’t something you had imagined yourself being capable of doing.

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The next three weeks were spent with the kids teaching them to write computer programs for the robots. Some kids modified their bots (and their programs) specifically to do wheelies, and some wrote programs to make the robots dance.

For the final week, we set up a sort of race course for the bots. The goal was to write a program that would drive to the end of a hallway, turn around, and rive back, and see who could make their robot do it the quickest.

Nobody walked away ready to get a job programming the next mars rover, but the goal was to hopefully inspire somebody who someday might. I think we accomplished that goal.

Ryan McDermott