Dunwoody’s Computer Technology Department recently hosted an Arts-n-Crafts, Robots and Computing Summer Camp–a weeklong educational camp for junior high school students ranging in grades from 5th – 8th.
The camp brought 20 students to Dunwoody’s campus where they learned the basics of computing through multiple arts and crafts projects–including the assembly of Lego robots and the creation of their very own interactive, electronic game or phone app.
The games/phone applications, created by either Scratch (a programming language and online community) or App Inventor (a program used to create apps specific for Android phones and tablets,) provided campers with an opportunity to enhance their programming and creativity skills, while experiencing first hand what a career in programming or web development might look like.
“One of the students created a virtual paper doll with changeable outfits,” said Web Programming & Database Development Instructor Paula Merns. “Another created a game where a skydiver caught money as he fell. The logic used in creative ways exactly mimics what programmers do when they get onto a job.”
Merns says the student-designed Lego robot sculptures were also highly interactive. “One team created a ‘Tunneling Robot’ that started upon touch, and then changed lights when it reached the back of a dark space. Another created a robot cat that wagged it’s tail when petted (see picture to the left).”
The campers were also able to explore—and even test—many of Dunwoody’s robotic machines as well as participate in an interactive, electronic scavenger hunt in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
Dunwoody’s Arts-n-Crafts, Robots and Computing Camp is not only the first of it’s kind for Dunwoody, but also a first for many of the campers, as it combines the world of arts into science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines…turning the popular STEM acronym into STEAM.
“Technology and art work together all around us. This camp gave the campers a chance to play with that intersection,” said Merns.
Rob Bentz, Program Manager of Computer Technology, said, “Ultimately, we chose to run the camp to introduce junior high level kids to technology. There is research, for girls in particular, that shows junior high is where decisions are made to pursue technical or engineering type jobs in the future. We hoped we could persuade a few of our campers to consider just that.”
The camp is expected to run again in summer 2016.
For additional photos of the 2015 camp, visit our Facebook page.