ARLINGTON — School may be out for summer, but class will be in session for the students and mentors of the Arlington High School NeoBots Team who will be teaching other students about the essentials of robotics during a summer day camp.
The NeoBots summer day camp sessions will run from 9 a.m. to noon for their morning sessions, and from 1-4 p.m. for their afternoon sessions, for beginners’ camps on July 8 and 10, and advanced camps on June 15 and 17, for students entering the fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth grade in the 2013-14 school year.
“Kids can sign up for the robotics summer day camp to learn basic programming and how to work with LEGO robots,” said Mark Ehrhardt, director of technology for the Arlington School District. “If they’ve already been to last year’s robotics camp, they can come again to the advanced camp that’s new this year.”
Each session runs $60, which covers materials, snacks and a T-shirt, and all funds go to support the AHS NeoBots Team.
Last year, four students and 11 student mentors from the NeoBots Team worked with 39 students from all the elementary and middle schools in the Arlington School District, plus one student from Marysville and another from Sedro-Woolley, promoting science, technology, engineering and math topics in the process.
AHS Career and Technical Education Director Brett Sarver explained that an elementary school teacher whose son was on last year’s NeoBots Team suggested it as a means of getting other elementary and middle school students into STEM topics.
NeoBots President Caroline Vogl had already developed confidence in instructing children as a student mentor last year through teaching Taekwondo to kids aged 3-5.
“I knew that I’d have to be patient, help them with their problems and deal with them getting hyper,” Vogl said. “When showing them what to do, you just need to go slow if they’re not getting it, or step back if they don’t need you right then.”
Sarver was impressed with how quickly last year’s elementary and middle school students caught on after their initial trial-and-error period.
“They did very well with the robotic scenarios, and with understanding programming and robot problem solving,” Sarver said.
Vogl echoed the positive feedback that she, her student mentor peers and Sarver had all received from the elementary and middle school students.
“We’re teaching kids skills related to technology, such as building and programming, and life skills, such as teamwork and ingenuity,” Vogl said. “This program also helps the NeoBots Team get publicity throughout the community, and gain possible new recruits for the future.”
The camp will meet in the computer-aided design and wood-shop building behind the main AHS building. Registration forms are available at the NeoBots Facebook page at http://facebook.com/neobots2903. Space is limited to 20 participants per session, so registration is first-come, first-served. When your child’s registration is accepted, you will be contacted via email. Payment is due by June 28, and checks may be made out to AHS. For more information, contact Ehrhardt by phone at 360-618-6211 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.