Students Learn to Build, Program Robots at LSU Summer Camp


Robotics Camp is More than just “Playing with Legos”

“Does anyone have an extra gear?” asks a student. Another raises a tiny metal bolt and yells, “Does anybody have this piece?” The classroom for the Lego Robotics Camp looks more like a scene from a science fiction film than a summer camp with more than a dozen students piecing together robots of all shapes and sizes.

The Lego Robotics Camp teaches students in grades 7-12 to design, construct and program robots using the LEGO MINDSTORMS.NXT software. The camp is one of the many summer enrichment programs hosted by LSU Continuing Education.

“This camp offers much more to students than just the chance to play with Legos,” said Michele Schulz, a camp instructor and teacher at Sherwood Middle Academic Magnet School. “It teaches engineering concepts, problem solving and analysis.”

Schulz says she feels more like a facilitator than a teacher.

“These students are so engaged in learning, it is really amazing,” she said. “They are playing with these robots but it is also educational at the same time.”

Students participating in the camp have the freedom to design several robots of their choice. Students use their interests to build anything they desire. Some choose to build animals including cats, dogs or dolphins, while others prefer to build robots that perform physical functions such as kicking a ball.

“Building a robot is great because you can build anything and have it do something you want it to do,” said Omar Badat, a seventh-grade student at Sherwood Middle Academic Magnet School. “You can also add sensors on the robot and tell it where to go. I’m building this robot and teaching it to grab an object.”

The camp also has discussions on the history of robots and important influential figures such as science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. Later in the camp, students learn how to build robots that can communicate with each other and even have a SumoBot competition.

The second session of the Lego Robotics Camp will be held on the LSU campus from July 20 – July 23.

For more information about the Lego Robotics Camp, contact Joshua Callegan at jcallegan@outreach.lsu.edu. Students and parents can also register on LSU Continuing Education’s Web site at www.outreach.lsu.edu/Pre-College or call 225-578-2500.

Billy Gomila | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations
July 2009