RoboTech Academy a Success, But Still Needing a Volunteer!

As part of the 2014 STEM Academy, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Lee County held “RoboTech” on June 26th at the Fort Madison Public Library. This camp gave students who have completed sixth or seventh grade the opportunity to receive hands-on experience in engineering, computer programming, and robotics.
 
There were 7 Lee County youth that took advantage of this opportunity. Leaders for the STEM Academy were ISU Extension and Outreach Youth Program Specialist Kati Peiffer and volunteer 4-H member Lauren Hulsebus of Donnellson.  
 
The participants enjoyed a day of engineering and programming a robot. Using Lego NXT and EV3 platforms, youth learned how to engineer a robot to do various tasks including talking, moving, turning, and using touch, ultra sonic, sound and light sensors. Many of the participants expressed a strong interest in robotics, and are hoping to continue learning by forming First Lego League 4-H Club.
 
“It’s amazing to see how well these students respond to hands-on learning opportunities such as the RoboTech STEM Academy,” said Peiffer. "They get the chance to see a problem, work through the process of solving it on their own, and then learn something that they can take away and apply to other areas of their lives."
 
According to Peiffer, the last step to forming a First Lego League 4-H Club is to find an adult leader.  If a club is formed the youth will build, program, and prepare their robot for competition as a team. The team will compete at a regional level with the opportunity to advance to state and national level. Volunteer commitment will vary throughout the year based on activity level of youth and volunteers. Peiffer said all volunteers are required to complete background screening and annual training. 
 
“It doesn’t have to be someone that has a lot of experience with engineering or robotics,” she said. “It could be a parent or other adult volunteer that wants to see these kids succeed in something they love to do.”
 
If you are interested in serving as a volunteer First Lego League leader, or for more information about the Lee County 4-H program, contact the Lee County Extension Office at 319-835-5116 or email ehulse@iastate.edu
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