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There’s Always a Solution at Summer Robotics Camp


More than 50 future engineers gathered in the Massapequa High School cafeteria from July 31 through Aug. 3 to build, test and try again. The summer Lego Robotics Camp was open to students entering grades 6-9 and featured numerous challenges.

Students worked in small groups to build and program robots, and participated in a simulated FIRST Lego League competition. They worked under the tutelage of technology teachers Matthew Swanson and Brian Vanek.

For five hours a day, participants were immersed in problem-solving challenges. For the first task, they had to get their robots to move through a maze on the floor, then turn around and come back. Mr. Swanson said that goal was to perfect movement through motor rotations. On the mock Lego League course, their robots had to compete 11 tasks such as grabbing and knocking over objects. The camp ended with the highly-anticipated robot wars.

The program featured students with different levels of robot experience, as some were beginners and others have attended the camp before or explored robotics in technology classes at Berner Middle School.

Mr. Swanson said that the hope was for students to emerge from the camp with stronger problem-solving skills.

“Problems can be difficult,” he said, “but solutions are achievable.”

Rising eighth grader and aspiring engineer Alex S. attended the camp for third year. He enjoyed the teamwork aspect and bringing everyone’s ideas together to create a functional robot.

“It’s people you might not normally interact with, and you come together to build something great,” he said. “Once you get it right, it feels good.”