Hardee County Summer 2016 Robotics STEM Camp

HARDEE COUNTY SUMMER 2016 ROBOTICS STEM CAMP

Wyatt, C., Alexander, M., Bosques, J., UF/IFAS Extension Hardee County, 507 Civic Center Drive, Wauchula, FL 33873, chwyatt@ufl.edu, 863-773-2164.

Category:  4-H/Youth Development

Title:   STEM Camp Offers Alternative to Rural Community Youth

Situation:  In a small rural community such as Hardee County, Florida, few opportunities are offered in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). In addition, there have been few resources available in the community to develop these core skills in 4-H members. While youth are familiar with tech devices like cell phones and computers, they need opportunities to develop inquiry-based skills due to the expansion of science careers and youth needed to fill them in the future.

Education Methods/Procedure/Approach:   With this opportunity in mind, Hardee County 4-H partnered with TechKnow Training to utilize their robotics curriculum and TechKnow volunteers to facilitate a two-week STEM camp. The experiential learning model was used during the two-week camp. Participants built, programmed, and demonstrated how their robots worked. Youth further displayed their skill comprehension by competing in the Robo Expo at the end of the camp. Robo Expo consisted of a series of different obstacle courses that required robots to maneuver in timed events.

Results:  Twenty 11 to 18 year olds completed the camp and were given an on-line evaluation. As a result, respondents (n=6) reported 67% increased interest in robotics; 83% reported interest in pursuing advanced coursework and careers in science and technology; 100% reported strengthening their ability to work with others on a team, and strengthening their communication skills and their ability to learn. Furthermore, 83% reported they are likely to enroll in the next robotics summer camp.

Conclusion:  Based on the survey results another STEM camp will be planned for summer 2017 further increasing the innovative 4-H programming for Hardee.

(Click photo to enlarge.)