Water Bots Camp at The Science Factory
The Science Factory Children's Museum and Exploration Dome in Eugene, Oregon, used a Girls RISEnet mini-grant to host a week-long summer camp on underwater robotics. The camp was called "Water Bots" and followed the highly-regarded WaterBotics curriculum created at the Stevens Institute of Technology. WaterBotics uses modified LEGO Mindstorms robotics kits and accessories to create remotely-operated vehicles that can travel across and under water. The Science Factory acquired the curriculum and training through Project Splash, an initiative of the Pacific Northwest Girls' Collaborative Project to give girls additional access to WaterBotics.
During the week of July 9-13, twelve girls, ages 11 to 14, attended Water Bots. Over the course of the week, they completed three missions, each of which required designing, building, programming, and testing a robotic vehicle that could travel across or under water. They were inspired by examples of actual robots that can rescue stranded swimmers, survey a coral reef, and explore a sunken ship. By completing these missions, the girls learned the skills that engineers and designers use every day to solve problems in the real world, including brainstorming, teamwork, creativity, computer programming, and mechanics.
The Girls RISEnet mini-grant has ensured that we have adequate staff training and logistical support for the camp. The grant also will allow us to purchase many of the components of the kit, rather than borrow them from the Girls' Collaborative Project, so that we may offer robotics-based lessons in a variety of camp and workshop settings. Thanks to Girls RISEnet, the Science Factory looks forward to engaging girls and boys in science and engineering through high-quality robotics lessons for years to come.