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Inspiring Interest in STEM Through Summer Robotics Camp

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

The Role of Robotics in K-12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.785.1 - 25.785.13



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Paper Authors


Richard S. Stansbury Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach

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Richard S. Stansbury is an Associate Professor computer engineering and computer science in the Department of Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla. He teaches courses in artificial intelligence, data structures and algorithms, and the capstone senior design course. His research interests include unmanned aircraft, mobile robotics, and applied artificial intelligence.

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Farahzad Behi Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Inspiring Interest in STEM Through Summer Robotics CampFor many years, summer camps have provided an outlet for children of varying age levels andbackgrounds, but similar interests, to interact with one another. One of the primary goals of acamp is to engage and teach the campers some skills, while maintaining a level of fun andenthusiasm throughout the camp. In order to renew interest in science, technology, engineering,and mathematics (STEM), schools, universities, and other organizations are looking for ways toprovide fun opportunities to expose students to STEM topics at an early age so that their interestcontinues through middle school, high school, and into their college academic careers.At the author’s university, several summer camps have been developed to bring children ages 8-12 together to interact with one another on a variety of STEM activities. Each STEM summercamp has its own topic. Over the past two summers, the one week robotics camp has been themost popular camp with highest attendance and media coverage. This paper will focus on thedevelopment, execution, and lessons learned from this robotics camp.Robots provided an ideal platform for introducing a large number of STEM topics in a fun andengaging way. Through a single learning activity, campers are introduced to topics related tomathematics, physics, electrical engineer, computer engineering, computer science, mechanicalengineering. These topics can be introduced subtly in engaging ways through a combination ofmini-lectures, demonstrations, and build activities.In this paper, the curriculum of the 2010 and 2011 summer camps are presented. The curriculumis broken into a number of topics: robotics 101, robot motion, robot sensing, robot software, androbot intelligence. For each topic, the sub-topics, build activities, and demonstrations will bedescribed. The camp’s two culminating competitive events will also be described; a robotbattlebot competition and a robot talent show. A comparison of the curriculum between the twocamps, 2010 and 2011, shall also be discussed as some changes were made based on thefeedback and the level of enthusiasm of the campers.The camp will be assessed given student and parent feedback. Some demographics will beshared regarding the camps attendees. Lessons learned will also be presented based on theexperiences of the camp faculty instructors and student counselors. The paper concludes with adiscussion of how the curriculum will be expanded to include a second week of advanced topicsand build activities for the 2012 camp.

Stansbury, R. S., & Behi, F. (2012, June), Inspiring Interest in STEM Through Summer Robotics Camp Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21542

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