Helping With A Robotics Camp? Remember These 3 Things
Are you helping out with any sort of robotics camp this summer? Are you getting ready to run one this week with your team? If so, that means you have a lot on your plate, whether you are just helping out for the week or weekend, or planning the whole event. Please take into consideration these three things that will help you maximize your robotics camps effectiveness and the overall experience for everyone.
1. Keep it Simple Jack
Sometimes camps, especially ones that are STEM related, can drown the kids with too much information and content during a camp week or weekend. If your camp is related to anything in science and technology, chances are, the students could be overwhelmed with even the thought of coming to a camp like this. Remember that some students are totally new to the scene of FIRST Robotics and/or science and technology. Whatever you are helping out with in the camp, you should be teaching students in such a way that is simple to learn. Break down the process of engineering and technology and treat everyone as if they know nothing about robotics. If you are one of the people in charge of running the camp, it is likely you have some authority, so use it by reminding everyone that the camp is to help students learn simple concepts about STEM related areas. If you keep ideas and concepts simple, by not overloading anyone with too much information, it increases the likelihood that the kids will remember what they did in camp, and it could encourage them to proceed in learning more about robotics.
2. Don't Do Everything for the Kids.
The goal of the camp, I presume, is to give the kids an opportunity to learn, right? It's to help the kids grow and experience science and technology, right? So, with that said...LET THE KIDS DO THE WORK. Sometimes mentors and other volunteers get so frustrated with the kids because they know nothing about what they are doing. Unfortunately, this in return persuades the mentors and volunteers that they need to step in and finish the work for the kids. This is what you should not do! Let the kids do the work by giving them the right tools to succeed. These tools could be you encouraging them and giving them hints on how to solve a problem or how to write a piece of code. Sure you can help out the kids by doing some work for them, but the goal of the camp is to help others learn, and this is done by teaching them in such a way that encourages them and challenges them. Be quick to challenge others, not to please and make others comfortable.
3. Have an Unmeasurable Good Attitude
Okay, duh. This is a simple one. Yes we know, but it is often overlooked. Camps should be a place where everyone can come and have a great time. Each person, whether they are a volunteer or student, should be pumped up about attending any camp, even if it does have to do with science and technology. Show the students how awesome FIRST Robotics is and encourage them to work hard. YOU ultimately are the one that brings energy to the camp, so it is important that YOU are positive through the event. This will help everyone have a great time and give each person the optimum atmosphere to succeed during the week.