Programming robots to paint, building machines out of Legos, and making circuits out of PlayDoh and tinfoil were just a few of the intriguing and exciting projects that students took part in during the Technology Enrichment Camp held in June.

Camp organizers David Caruso, a technology teacher at Ridge Park Elementary School, and Nina Pratowski, a technology teacher at Conshohocken, had a number of goals in mind for children who attended. 

“There are so many opportunities for students in technology fields and we want to cultivate the love of exploration and tinkering so they may be drawn to this area of study. We also wanted to foster the students' ability to work collaboratively. The ability to work with others, share ideas, and be flexible with their thinking is invaluable in any activity they take on throughout their lifetime,” said Mr. Caruso. “And finally, we wanted to give the students time to explore the amazing tools we have while providing them the opportunity to think critically. Developing and fostering the higher-level thinking that is critical thinking is essential to any student’s learning.”  

During the four-day camp, children had the opportunity to take part in a number of different projects using some unique technology resources. Examples included:

  • Using Simple Machine and Spike Prime Lego sets to build jumping frogs, motorized  cars, and Ferris wheels. After building the complex machines that have motors and sensors, the students then worked together to program the machines. Some designed vehicles and programmed them to drive a specific path while others designed games like pinball, ring toss and basketball.

  • Programming Sphero Indi robots to drive on a path of their creation. Indi robots have sensors underneath that can read color tiles that indicate a command or a specific direction to follow (ex: green means go, red means stop). Using colored tiles, the students built paths for their robots and in the process, developed collaboration, problem-solving, and sequencing skills.

  • Using Makey Makey circuit kits to make a game controller to play games like Pac Man or Mario Brothers. The kits come with circuit boards that can be connected by wires to a computer and to a “button” that the students could make out of objects like tin foil or PlayDoh. 

  • Using robots like the Dash and Sphero to create abstract art.

“It was a fun activity that got very messy but produced many smiles and some frameable artwork,” said Mr. Caruso.