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Kids + Robots Workshop pairs learning with fun

July 30, 2013 12:00AM

Kids + Robots Workshop pairs learning with fun
Ryan Dean, 11, from Carl Junction, Mo., reacts to his 1st success programming a robot. With him are Alex Neuenschwander, 12, center; and Drake Neuenschwander, 13; also from Carl Junction. Looking on is Brian Poston, a PSU junior from Carthage, Mo.

Kids seem to have a natural fascination with robots. For two weeks in July, youngsters from the area have been building their own robots and living out that childhood fantasy.

On July 23, students participating in “Adventures in Robotics I” at Pittsburg State University’s Kansas Technology Center began building small electric motors and learned the basics of computer programming. As the week progressed, they constructed robot bodies out of Legos.

The week-long workshop concluded on July 26 when the students demonstrated their robots in a competition in the KTC Rotunda.

Randy Winzer, associate professor in engineering technology and director of Adventures in Robotics, said students in the popular class learn important technology concepts as well as the ability to work together to achieve a goal.

Winzer said participating in workshops like these can influence a student’s life.

“I had a new student come up to me recently,” Winzer recalled. “He said, ‘You probably don’t remember me, but I was in your robotics workshop when I was 11.’ Now that young man is an engineering technology major.”

Winzer said planning and running the annual workshops is a tremendous amount of work, but something he looks forward to each year.

“I love this! I love seeing the students get so excited,” Winzer said.

©2013 Pittsburg State University

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