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Clarkson University Sponsors Summer Robotics Camps for Middle School Students
[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/robotics-camp-2011.jpg .]
Clarkson University provided local middle school students with an opportunity to hone their robotics skills this summer. Approximately 50 students attended three regional camps that were offered in the Lisbon, Gouverneur and Norwood-Norfolk school districts.
The students built their own robots and tackled six challenges in the Lego Green City. The robots were required to plug a hole in the dam, install a solar panel, start a wind turbine, build a new smoke stack, take trash to the landfill, and power a home with alternative energy.
In addition to the challenges, students learned to use a variety of sensors. Touch sensors were incorporated to keep the robots from crashing into the different challenge structure. Light sensors helped the robots find their way around a circle. Sound and ultrasonic sensors were also used to perform tasks.
The camp culminated in a competition modeled after the FIRST Lego League robotics tournaments.
Kyle Fulk, a member of the Norwood-Norfolk Central District robotics team, appreciated the time to perfect his programming techniques. "I'm finding out what will work best and what I need to pay attention to make my robot perform better," said Fulk.
Herman-DeKalb Central School fifth grader Garrett Willard helped his teammates adjust the angle of a lifting arm. "Sometimes you just have to keep trying to see what will work," said Willard.
Barbie Foster, a seventh grader at St. Lawrence Central School, summed up the experience, saying, "It was awesome. I'm coming back next year."
The camps were coordinated by Clarkson's Office of Educational Partnerships. The camp instructors were Clarkson undergraduate students Christopher Lane, an aeronautical engineering major, and Joshua Dawes, a mechanical engineering major, and SUNY Potsdam chemistry major Daniel Brouwer.
Funding for the camps came from St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES through a New York State Extended Day grant.
Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.
Photo caption: Clarkson University student Joshua Dawes (center), a junior mechanical engineering major, assists Carson Smith (left) and Joshua Lampett during a summer robotics camp at Lisbon Central School.