Youth design, program robots at Museum of Industry

John Brannen
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Domoaregato Mr. Roboto

Ryan, 9, left, and Cole Green, 11 work together to assemble their own robot at the Museum of Industry yesterday. The pair along with other youth gathered for the weeklong program, then program their robots to perform various tasks. 

STELLARTON – Even though school is out, at least seven youth are staying busy and learning about robotics this summer.

It’s part of the Museum of Industry’s summer programming aimed at teaching youth the basics of computer and robotic programing.

Andrew Phillips, curator of education and public programming for the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry said the goal of the weeklong program is to get youth creating their own robots using their skills and imagination.

“This is about introducing kids to creating programs for their enjoyment rather than just using someone else’s invention, like a video game, for example,” said Phillips. 

After leading the program for the past three years, he’s got a good system in place and has seen lots of familiar faces.

“Quite a few come back year after year and have participated in this program before,” said Phillips.

The sessions started with introducing kids to a simple computer program that allowed them to program their robot. While they don’t learn complex coding or ‘html’, they do learn the basics of programming.

First, the kids built and used drag racers according to a strict plan. After getting more comfortable with the technology, they became more creative, adding more parts and more commands.

“It’s a mix of specific instructions followed by creativity to build what you want to build,” said Phillips.

Sebastian Turner, 11, of Stellarton helped to assemble the green city challenge, a Lego city with various tasks that must be achieved by robots with the right programming.

“I’ve got tons of Lego,” he said. “We’ve got a playroom and bins just full of Lego.”

Turner, whose Lego projects include an AT-AT Walker from Star Wars, said he’s been able to get better at building and using his imagination, all while having fun.

While no other robotic themed programs are planned for the summer, youth can participate in gold-themed activities every Wednesday at the Museum of Industry.

 

Organizations: Nova Scotia Museum of Industry

Geographic location: STELLARTON

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