Young Maker Camp Day One!

By Jeremy Knowlton

Young Maker Camp Day One started with an explosion of creativity!  Students entered the WMSI classroom on Monday with emotions ranging from excited to nervous and shy. Our amazing staff of camp counselors was there to greet them, giving them a fun art challenge: set the room for creativity. A room is just a room until you decorate it. Each participant chose two lasercut cardboard cutouts to start with and created traces on construction paper. Students then added color and taped them to the walls, creating murals where tiny cars were chased by huge cats and trains were becoming fast friends with robots!

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Afterwards, we circled up and went over rules and played some ice breakers. Participants were very polite and a little shy. Ice started melting when we introduced our theme for the week: let's make stuff move! First thing to move? cardboard creatures run by pneumatic pumps! (two syringes connected by piping)

Participants designed pants, shirts, arms and shoes for their creatures. Next, they had to make an important decision: what would they animate on their creature? 

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The design challenge was on! Participants attached hats, heads, and arms to one syringe. With the other syringe, they could then remotely control a smile, a flying hat, or even an extendable arm. There were even a few launched heads (which went a good 5 feet!) which led to uproarious giggles from everyone! Harnessing the power of air pressure is tons of fun.

After a quick snack, students jumped into another movement system: harnessing motor power to make wiggle bots! Looks of concentration covered faces as pairs attached motors, power sources, and gears to their builds. Next, they taped something light to one side of the gear attached to their motor, which, when revved up, caused an unequal force distribution across the bot, causing it to wiggle across the table! Looks of concentration melted into grins as whacky bots spun their way around the room!

With any great build, there's always an even greater clean-up! We quickly cleaned up the room and briefed everyone on tomorrow's engineering challenges: Build a wigglebot that can draw, and begin to learn how to use code to move robots! Can't wait for tomorrow!

For more pictures, check out our Facebook Page! We posted over 20 photos from the day!