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NASA robotics summer camp coming to Beckley July 17-21

By JORDAN NELSON

The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The NASA IV&V Educator Resource Center, NASA WV Space Grant Consortium, and Mountaineer Area Robotics (MARS) 2614 have teamed up with their partners in West Virginia to bring forward a robotic summer camp July 17-21 at the WV State Extension NASA SEMAA Lab in Beckley.

In a press release from World Robot Olympiad (WRO), officials said this is the largest camp initiative ever, and will be a team-based program centered around learning to build, document, and program the LEGO EV3 robot and compete in the WRO.

Individuals or two- or three-person can register together for the camp, and students will work in teams of three at the camp.

The intent is for students who are new to LEGO Robotics or who are on existing First LEGO League (FLL) teams to form themselves into smaller groups so they can develop their technical and teamwork skills while competing.

Jim Higgins, president of Southern West Virginia’s Robotics Club, said instead of children working alone, they will get to bounce ideas off of each other to form the proper outcome.

“I believe it’s important for them to work in groups because they get to explore ideas different from their own and realize there is almost always more than one solution,” Higgins said.

Robots and iPads will be provided for teams who need one. Although a robot is not required, if you are an existing FLL team or have a LEGO EV3 robot, camp organizers prefer you bring your own laptop or tablet.

The camp will be organized in two different age categories: Elementary, for 9-12 year olds, and Junior, for 13-15 year olds.

Cost is $125 per student and includes four full days of camp from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., snacks and lunch each day, WRO team registration and a tournament Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with awards.

Huggins said if there are students interested in attending the camp and are not able to pay the $125 fee, NASA partners and the Robotics Club will work together to waive the fee if necessary.

“It’s short notice, and we are still wanting several students to sign up,” Higgins said. “This is something some kids won’t want to miss. They’ll work with several STEM initiatives and get to work with LEGOs, it’s going to be a really interesting time.”

To register a student or team for the camp, contact Annelise Williams at 304-367-8215 or visit https://www.wro-usa.org/register. Registration is required before students arrive at the camp so staff will know the amount of resources necessary for the week.

“We’re all really excited for the week,” Higgins said. “It’ll be a great chance for kids to work together and solve something great.”

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