First Robotics Camp at NFCC & Regional Camps Kicks off to a Great Start

North Florida Community College recently hosted their first robotics camp for middle school
students, modeled after the FLATE robotics camps. NFCC was the recipient of a National Science Foundation grant in spring of 2016. The grant’s principal focus, according to Bill Eustace, instructor of the Automation & Production Technology program at NFCC, was to promote and offer dual enrollment opportunities for juniors and seniors from regional service district high schools into the Automation and Production Technology program offered at NFCC. One of the portions of the grant was also to involve students with summer camps/workshops. “Our goal is to have students completed with the course curriculum and have the opportunity to earn the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) credential by the time they graduate” said Eustace.

Kick off for the first robotics camp at NFCC using LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robot core kits was

July 25. “Being very new to these robotic kits, this was key to our being able to put on a very successful camp” said Eustace. A total of 12 campers worked in teams of two. Students learned about working as a team, respect for others, collaborating and sharing ideas, math and engineering principles to determine how far a robot would travel with one wheel rotation, problem solving to initiate turns with the robots, and many more skills they would need to make them successful both during the camp and in their daily lives.

Following the camp several students also signed up for the dual enrollment opportunities offered this semester at NFCC. “We are off to a great start, and I feel confident that future camps will be as fun and educational as this summer’s camp” said Eustace. For more information on the NFCC robotics camp email Bill Eustace at eustaceb@nfcc.edu.

In addition to the robotics camp at NFCC, the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

(IHMC) Center in Ocala, which has hosted camps for many year modeled after the FLATE program, offered three summer camps for middle school students, two at the intro level, and one at the intermediate level. IHMC in Pensacola also hosted a similar camp for the FIRST time earlier this summer. 

Dale Toney at Marion Technical Institute and Steven Roberts from Liberty Middle School, hosted a robotics camp for 14 middle school students at Marion Technical Institute in Ocala, Fla. During the camp students learned about remote control robots, how to solder circuit boards, made their own 3-D coins. They also took a field trip to E-One, attended the Marion Regional Manufacturers Association¹s monthly meeting, and toured the College of Central Florida¹s Engineering Department. Other regional camps included one at St. Petersburg College, and the Peterson Academy in Jacksonville.

For information on the FLATE robotics camps and STEM related programs for middle and high school students contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org, or visit www.madeinflorida.org and www.fl-ate.org. You can also refer to the FLATE Camp Best Practice guide to get tips on how to start your own robotics camps in your region.