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4-H Learns Lesson in Robotics

Article Date: 
15 July, 2011 (All day)

 

The 4-H had a day camp that was different than any other.  It had the eager 4-H members, enthusiastic 4-H leaders, certificates of achievement, prizes, treats and competitions, but…it also had robots!

The 4-H leaders, Justin and Melanie Andrews, introduced robotics to the participants with “the LEGO Mind Storm Kits.” Justin pointed out to the kids that, “these kits cost $300 each. We were able to borrow six of these kits from Jeff Richins of North Summit School District.” 

There were five teams with three 4-H members per team.  They were all equipped with same type of LEGO robot kit. Teams were given the guidelines to build and design their robot, one motor, one cable, a specific theme, a task list, and a blue print.  The members were randomly chosen for their team.  Two teams were awarded trophies made out of LEGO blocks, Yellow Team was recognized for “Best Design” and the Green Team won the “Demolition Competition”.

The kits, for the next day camp and competition are $500 each. Justin said, “The University of Utah has agreed to sponsor two teams but just for initial funds, in conjunction with our 4-H club.”  This sponsorship will purchase the two kits needed for competition. The team still needs to raise funds to cover registration fees for the robotic competitions and other supplies.

The next step is another day camp focusing on intermediate skills.  “Our goal is to build our team,” stated the Andrews.  The next Day Camp will run from July 18th to the 20th and will include the 4-H members that completed the introduction to Robotics Day Camp.

“Ten is the maximum number of team members per team, for this competition. Since we have two kits, we hope to have 20 in this next day camp,” said Justin.

Their next day camp has two main purposes: 1- to learn more about robotics and 2- to build their team. 

The club is also planning to display at the fair.  “We will have a booth at the county fair, where we will tell what they (the Robotics 4-H Club) do,” stated Justin. At the fair booth, they hope to share information and as well as raise funds for competitions and additional kits.  

 ‘This is a way for kids that may not be interested in sports, to do something by learning more about technology,” emphasized Melanie.  The website USFIRST.org reconfirms Melanie’s statement calling the events, “the varsity sport for the mind. FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with rigors of science and technology”. 

The Andrews interest in robots started years ago when their two sons and their daughter became interested. Justin is an instructor at Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College teaching programming and engineering. He also teaches photography at Ben Lomond High School. His work gave him some additional time during the summer, so they decided to get a club organized about robotics.  It has now become a family tradition.