STEM is all about teamwork and problem solving. Bringing folks with different talents and personalities together to focus on solving problems. Nothing exposes kids to these aspects of STEM than building a robot. That's why one of the biggest activities in our summer camps is our Robots & God Adventure Workshop. Here are some pictures and a video to help tell the story.
Here is a 1-minute fast-paced video from one of our Robots & God workshops using Lego EV3 robots.
Preparations -- before each workshop we first start with setting up the software tools the students will need. This involves iPads, laptops and LEGO Mindstorm EV3 Robot Kits; making sure each device has the latest software updates, clearing off files from the last workshop, recharging batteries, etc.
Theology of Technology -- our desire is to inspire each student to consider the greatness of our Creator, so we start each workshop with a video from Answers in Genesis and ask them to identify things created directly by God (days 1-6 of the Creation Week) and things made by man (things we refer to as technology). We teach kids that technology is a way for us to bring glory to God by taking things He has created and repurposing them for man's good and God's glory. Technology helps us fight against the immediate effects of the curse but only Jesus Christ can give us a permanent solution to the effects of the curse. We emphasize that we live in a world in which many think technology will one day save us from death and disease. The Bible makes it clear these are a result of the penalty for our sin and that only the blood of Christ can take away this penalty.
Programming -- For years we started each workshop building a robot and then programming it. The problem with this approach is that once you put legos in front of the students, it is very hard to get their attention away from them in order to focus on the much harder and more rewarding task of programming. Programming is purely a mental activity which requires much focus and attention. Personally I believe it is also the most rewarding aspect of robotics - teaching a robot what to do. The possibilities are endless, limited only by one's imagination and level of intelligence, both gifts given to us by our Creator, having been created in His image!
Building -- This is when things start getting exciting (if noise level is a good gauge for excitement) as students working together build their robot. This is a great exercise in teamwork as each team member brings his/her ideas to the table and they must decide which features to implement. Working with gears, motors, sensors and Lego blocks, each team makes a robot and then has to demonstrate it can perform basic tasks like move forward and backward, go in a square, detect a wall and turn around, etc. Once the team has accomplished these, they can either create their own challenge or take one that we provide. There is no limit to the amount of time or creativity students are willing to invest at this point in the workshop. We take occasional breaks to celebrate the "aha moments" of each team when they finally figure out the flaws in their code or the error in their design.
Debugging -- Next comes the most challenging part of the workshop, making the software and hardware work together properly to solve the problem. Finding and eliminate nasty bugs is hard mental work. It involves coming up with a test plan to try and find out if the robot will perform under all expected conditions. This takes much thought and teamwork. No one likes to see their robot fail, but failure is part of learning and growing. So we encourage the students to test, test and then test again.
Demonstrating -- Finally comes the time for each team to show and explain their work. Demo time! Always an exciting way to end a workshop. We encourage students to articulate what they've created. We believe students who are not taught how to speak up and speak out properly will be frustrated later in life as their minds will come up with lots of great ideas and solutions but if they cannot articulate and persuade those with whom they work their ideas will likely not take flight. We enjoy having parents join us when they can for these robot demonstrations.
As you can see, Ci's Robots & God Adventure Workshops combine the excellent STEM with strong biblical apologetics to help develop modern day Daniels who can stand for Truth in the world of academia, industry and in their culture.
We offer these workshops
Watch this 1-minute video from one of our workshops.
Schedule one of these exciting ways to teach your students a biblical theology of technology.
Camp Infinity’s mission is to inspire students to explore how science and technology integrate with a creation apologetics worldview, preparing them to explain and defend their faith and succeed in their STEM education and in their future careers.