FLATE’s Robotics Camps Give Life to the “T &E” in STEM

If it’s summer, it’s time to enroll the kids into FLATE’s robotics camps! FLATE is offering several STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) based robotics camps this summer, and has expanded its program to offer, for the first time, an industrial robotics camp for high school students. Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE says the distinctive characteristic of all camps is a deliberate focus on the technology and engineering components of STEM. Barger notes that the “sTEm approach is not to belittle science and mathematics, but to emphasize the belief that science and math are basic constructs that allow engineering to bring a technology into practice.”

Using a robotics platform to emphasize a distinct STEM-based theme, FLATE’s camps kick into gear on June 20 with a week-long, introductory level camp for Girls only. FLATE will host two intro level camps from June 27-July 1 and July 11-15, and an advanced level camp from July 18-22. The intro and advanced camps are for middle school students, and involve reconfiguring Lego® Mindstorms® Robots and programming them to follow specific commands. Enrollment into the advanced camp is based on successful completion of the Lego®Mindstorms® introductory camp. The high school industrial robot camp, from July 25-29, offers many higher level challenges. Participants will learn how to operate the HAS-200 automated production line, the ZeissCoordinate Measuring machine, the Labvolt5-axis micro robotic arm, and take an in-depth tour of the Sun Hydraulics manufacturing facility and robot shop located in Sarasota, FL. They will participate in team-based challenges creating original solutions for real problems with Lego® Mindstorms® Robots.

These camps are designed to pique student interest in advanced manufacturing through a positive exposure to robotics, and embedded technology-oriented problem solving experiences within a fun and active hands-on environment. Themed activities include participating in challenge competitions, learning about modern advanced manufacturing via on-site and online visits, engaging in hands-on product design and 3D printing projects using Solidworks™ modified version of the student edition design software package. Challenges are geared to provide “real-world” engineering based project work, and showcase applications of STEM principles in everyday high-tech manufacturing operations. They also expose participants to new career possibilities that are based on mastery of STEM curriculum, and promote teamwork, confidence and communication skills as positive takeaways from every group activity.

Picture from the 2010, Robotics Camp I.
Most camps will be held at the Brandon campus of Hillsborough Community College; the registration fee for each weeklong camp is $150. In addition to the camps at HCC-Brandon, FLATE has partnered with College of Central Florida and Florida Gateway College to offer similar camps in Ocala and Lake City.For more information, or to enroll in one of the camps visit www.madeinflorida.org/camps-workshops, or contact David Gula at gula@fl-ate.org and Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.