Ely Chapman STEM Camp: Hard Hatted Campers in Technology

Last week from July 8th-July 12th, campers from Ely Chapman participated in a STEM Hard Hatted Campers in Technology camp. The goal? To create and program a “Choppy Robot” from scratch. Sixteen students ranging from 5th-8th grades learned several new skills to complete this project. How does one make a choppy robot? Our intern, Elijah Ditchendorf, in charge of our summer programming at the Makerspace, came up with the idea. He developed the project and led the campers throughout the week step by step in accomplishing this goal.

First, he taught them how to do modeling (CAD) in a computer program called OnShape. A few of the students had dabbled in Tinkercad before, but none had experience using the OnShape software. After designing sides for the choppy, they then sent the designs to the laser cutter to be cut out. Each student had the opportunity to personalize the face and arm of their robot. Then, Elijah taught them how to program their choppy using an Arduino to make it light up with LED lights and move the arm up and down. (Hence the choppy name). Campers also were able to use a drill press to make the necessary holes in order to complete the assembly of their robot. Lastly students had the chance to 3D print accessories such as hats or mustaches for their choppy if they wished to do so.

At the end of the project, campers received an Experiential micro-credential from the Makerspace which shows how many hours they spent on their project and the skills they were exposed to. We can’t tell you how proud we are of these students. We wanted to give them a chance to really see how they can create a project from start to finish and they rose to meet the challenge. They worked very hard all week on their project and were successful with making their choppy operational.

Many of the skills students learned are ones that can be used in the manufacturing field. Students had previously toured manufacturers in the Mid-Ohio Valley and then were able to come to the Makerspace and do hands on learning and gain skills that could be used in that type of industry.

When asked what one student wanted to do when he grew up he stated enthusiastically, “I want to work at the Epicenter!” This was the second year the student has had an opportunity to come to the Epicenter Makerspace and learn hands-on skills. This personal experience is leading that student toward a career path, even at the middle school level.

Thank you to Brad Hemmerly, our Makerspace Coordinator, and our Makerspace Assistants, Owen and Zachary LaBarre for helping the students on their journey to complete their project. Also, thank you to Ely Chapman for partnering with BB2C and the Makerspace to provide such a wonderful opportunity for students in our area. Check out our Facebook page to see more pictures coming up this week from camp!