Students Explore Robots, Programming at Library Camp

Huddled intensely over their robots and programming tools, campers at Green City Challenge camp were hard at work creating a better future for generations to come.

In this week-long camp at the East Arlington Branch Library, students aged 10 to 18 learned the fundamentals of robotics and computer programming and also heard from specialists in those fields.

“I learned that it’s actually a lot more difficult to program a robot. It’s not just remotes and clicking buttons,” said camper Noah Castillo.

The Arlington Public Library said the camp allows students to engage in hands-on STEM activities and experience prototyping, design, problem solving and team work.

“We’ve been doing robotics in the library for quite some time but these camps for only about two years,” said Marla Boswell, community librarian. “We start them completely from scratch and teach them everything they need to know.”

While in attendance, students were able to learn from the University of Texas at Arlington Research Institute, or UTARI, about the future of 3D imagining technology. During the demonstration, students were taught how to spot the difference between virtual and augmented reality. With these new skills in hand, they tested out Hololens.

“For a second you couldn’t see anything but what was in front of you. Then it showed you everything,” said camper Tobias Pope.  “I couldn’t even tell what was real and what wasn’t.”

Tasked with assembling and programming a robot, students were broken into teams. These teams were challenged to instruct their robots to complete a series of task to simulate making a city more energy efficient.

“I’m good with programming and my partner is good with the building, so we work together like real engineers and programmers,” said camper Jaylin Dardin.

After a week jam-packed with instruction, the campers said they feel confident they’re ready to take over the world.

“I’m learning how to use robots to help people and prevent bad things,” said camper Sahara Lutke. “That’s why I came here, so I can get better at robotics and help people.”