Robotics Camp offers STEM skills

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Neighbors | Submitted.The fourth annual Robotics Camp for fifth- through eighth-graders took place on Aug. 7-11 at Canfield High School with approximately 40 first-year, second-year and third-year students attending.

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Neighbors | Abby Slanker.Team Blue Lighting, from left, Carson Nagy, Matt Butch and Erica Kovach, showed off the robot they built at the Robotics Camp.

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Neighbors | Abby Slanker.Canfield Village Middle School eighth-grader, and second year Robotics Camp attendee, Nolan Williard put the robot he and his team built through a test run to prepare for the robotics competition at the Robotics Camp on Aug. 9.

By ABBY SLANKER

neighbors@vindy.com

The fourth annual Robotics Camp for fifth- through eighth-graders took place at Canfield High School on Aug. 7-11, with approximately 40 first-year, second-year and third-year students attending.

The camp was taught primarily by Canfield High School teachers, several alumni, students and community volunteers, including Nick Crescimanno, Dave Wilkeson, CHS CAD and engineering graphics teacher Don Crum, Steve Bennett, Youngstown State University physics professor Dr. Mike Crescimanno and YSU computer science professor Dr. Bonita Sharif.

Throughout the week, the first-year campers were taught how to use hand tools and computer programs to build and program their own robot. The campers built their robots from a kit, including soldering wires and adding LED lights, while applying the concepts they learned.

“We have 27 first-year campers this week. Most of them are fifth- and sixth-grade students. This is the most first-years we have had. It’s all new to them. Generally, this is their first time with exposure to hardware and electronics. They learn how to solder and work with circuits,” Dr. Crescimanno said.

The second-year campers used what they had learned last year and built remote control robots, while the third-year students concentrated on modifying an existing robot, built by the high school robotics team.

“Within two days of camp, our third year students had completed four out of their five tasks,” Dr. Crescimanno said.

Wilkeson said the purpose of the camp is to get the students interested in robotics at a young age and build interest for the high school Circuit Birds Robotics Team.

“The purpose of this camp is to expose the younger students in grades five through eight to robotics and STEM, and build interest for the high school robotics team. It also provides the eighth-grade students an opportunity to learn leadership skills and gain experience as they help the first-year students with the building of their robots,“ Wilkeson said.

The camp culminated with a competition for the advanced campers, similar to the FIRST Competition the high school robotics team participates in each year.

“Our competition is a mini version of the FIRST Competition the high school robotics team participates in each year. It is on a much smaller scale, of course, but it’s the same idea and lets the campers experience a robotics competition. The kids are divided into small teams to compete, with each team building a robot to enter into the competition. If they have a problem with their robot, they come up with a solution as a team on their own,” Wilkeson said.

Wilkeson said the camp would not be possible without the volunteers and mentors who donate their time and efforts.

“The volunteers and mentors are an integral part of this camp. The Circuit Birds team members and graduates who are now in college come back to help with this camp and we would not be able to offer this camp without them. They are so important to the program and such an important component to the camp. And with them studying robotics and engineering in college, they bring us up-to-date experience,” Wilkeson said.

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