• June 15, 2024

Sparking young minds with hands-on learning and creativity

Sparking young minds with hands-on learning and creativity

There is a world of exciting opportunities this summer at South Texas College. Coordinated by STC’s Continuing Education department, various youth camps have been created to engage students while enabling them to explore new skills.

Young students recently participated in a Lego Mindstorms EV3/Spike Robotics camp at STC’s Technology Campus, which has been designed to not only test students’ building skills, but crucial life skills like communication and creativity.

“I think the whole idea behind all of our camps is to give children, as well as their parents, options for career exploration,” said Olivia De La Rosa, dean of Continuing, Professional and Workforce Education. “These camps are designed to get their creativity going as well as help them learn new things, so I would encourage any child to just take advantage of these camps. This is a way for them to just get an idea if this is something they want to continue and learn more about. It’s an opportunity to see and experience something new.”

At the Lego EV3 camp, young students are tasked with brainstorming, designing, building, prototyping, testing and finally improving robots which are then sent through various challenges. The Lego EV3 system refers to the popular building toy which is outfitted with a programmable computer that enables Lego builds to come alive through motors, sensors and through programming software.

“Throughout the camp, we are exposing students to the engineering and design process,” said Jose Sanchez, instructor with Texas Robotics Alliance, an organization that conducts STEM camps throughout the Rio Grande Valley in robotics building and programming. “Students have to think about what the challenge is, they have to brainstorm ideas and then they have to come up with their own solutions. Then they build it into what we call a workable prototype, test it and then they improve it.”

Camper Stephanie Betancourt, 9, said she jumped at the chance to build robots with her new friends she met at the camp.

“What’s not to like? You get to build your own robots and you get to work together with your partner while having fun,” Betancourt said. “I like that this is so creative because we have competitions too that make this super fun.”

The next Lego EV3 camp will take place June 17-21 at STC’s Technology campus, then July 8-12 at our Starr County campus.

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