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Lego Robotics Camp Returning for Second Year to Jefferson County

The Jefferson County Economic Opportunities through Education by 2015 (EcO15) initiative is again partnering with Southwestern Jefferson County School Corporation to offer the Lego Robotics Camp this summer.

The Camp is open to all Jefferson County students, age 9 to 14, and will be held at Southwestern Elementary School, June 24 – 27, 9:00 am to noon daily. Registration forms have been distributed throughout the county via email blasts and within schools. Registration forms may also be picked up at the Madison Chamber and Economic Development office, 301 E. Main Street, Madison, or by contacting Kathy Huffman, EcO15 Coordinator, khuffman@madisonindiana.com, 812-265-4769. The camp fee is $45.

Lego Robotics Camp is one tool used in Jefferson County to encourage students to pursue careers in advanced manufacturing and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Thirty Jefferson County students will use the LEGO NXT Robotics system to design, build and program their robots from scratch. Participants will begin by following instructions to build a robot using LEGO bricks. Included in the building materials is a programmable logic controller (PLC). PLCs are found in many ordinary applications like garage door openers and stoplights. PLCs are also used extensively in manufacturing plants to control materials and processes. Sensors provide input information to the PLCs which then execute a specific program based on the input. The LEGO robots, built by the campers, behave exactly the same way.

Students will demonstrate their robots and share what they’ve learned on the last day of camp, Thursday, June 27th, at 10:30 am, presenting to both parents and engineers from local companies.
This year, we have a new camp instructor, Mr. Jason Watson, Southwestern Elementary Principal. After experiencing last year’s camp, Mr. Watson expressed interest in being trained as a camp instructor. He is currently training with Dr. Joe Fuehne, the Director of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue College of Technology (PCOT) in Columbus. To run the camp we were in need of 15 robots, so in addition to the free training, Dr. Fuehne and PCOT are generously donating the use of their NXT robot kits for our camp. Having a local Jefferson County instructor is a key piece of our plan to offer this camp on a yearly basis. Looking towards the future, we will seek funding to purchase our own robot kits before next summer.


Lego Robotics Camp is sponsored by EcO15 and is one of many strategies implemented in Jefferson County in collaboration with our community partners, including the Community Foundation of Madison & Jefferson County, to create a long term pipeline of highly skilled, qualified workers in STEM. Introducing fun, hands-on technology at a young age can spark an interest in students who may choose to pursue an educational pathway within the fields of engineering or technology.

Jefferson County is one of ten Southeastern Indiana counties involved in the regional EcO15 initiative in cooperation with The Heritage Fund, the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County and the Community Education Coalition in Columbus.


 

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