Kids learn robotics

College for Kids offers many classes

Andrea Johnson/MDN Peyton Vix, Gavyn McKeithan, and Bolutife Omole program a robot in a Lego Robotics College for Kids class last week at Minot State University.

School is out, but area kids are still learning new skills thanks to programs like College for Kids at Minot State University.

Last week, elementary and middle school age kids were learning how to construct and program a robot in an Advanced Lego Robotics class taught by Laura Ericson and Jen Rockwell.

An obstacle course had been taped out in a hallway at MSU’s Swain Hall.

Kirstin Brunner and Ella Withers, both 11, explained that they were trying to make the robot they had programmed push different objects into place on red squares.

“It worked … and Kirstin is sitting on my quarter!” one of the girls said and laughed.

Andrea Johnson/MDN Ella Withers and Kirstin Brunner work with a robot in MSU’s Swain Hall during a College for Kids class last week.

Ericson said children are learning about robotics, but they also benefited from having to program a robot to perform simple tasks with another child they had just met. The kids had to build the robot using a kit, get it into operation and program it to move forwards and backwards. At the end of the class, they showed their parents what they learned.

Team building skills are as important in Lego Robotics as the academics, said Ericson.

This was a class for students who have had previous experience with robotics. Earlier in the week there had been a College for Kids class for beginning students.

Robotics is a popular pastime for many kids in Minot. Earlier this spring, a team of 9- to 14-year-olds from Bishop Ryan Catholic School competed at a national robotics competition in Detroit. They vied against other teams in project, robot design, core values, and robot games.

Different Lego Robotics teams meet from August to January in the public library, at MSU, at schools or in private homes. The teams receive a robotics kit and are tasked with programming the robot to perform various “missions.” The competition takes place on a 4-but-8 foot board.

Other College for Kids classes are still planned for this summer, on varied topics. This week classes were scheduled in babysitting and in yoga.

Other sessions are planned for next month in science, babysitting, sign language and yoga.

More information can be found at /www.msucollegeforkids.com/.