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Lego camp connects kids to engineering, electronics

January 11, 2014 Updated: January 11, 2014 at 6:32 pm
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photo - Tyler McCune, 11, tests out the motion detector jaws of a Lego robot alligator he built Saturday, January 11, 2014, at a LEGO robotics kids camp at Rocky Mountain Classical Academy. Photo by Mark Reis
Tyler McCune, 11, tests out the motion detector jaws of a Lego robot alligator he built Saturday, January 11, 2014, at a LEGO robotics kids camp at Rocky Mountain Classical Academy. Photo by Mark Reis 

Eight-year-old Alex Wind moved his hand in and out of the jaws of a Lego alligator he built using a computer program and a small sensor.

Building the alligator was one of the activities at Lego Robotics Kids Camp Saturday, and Alex was very clear on why he was there: "To learn about Lego engineering and electronics," he said.

About 50 children ages 6 to 12 - in a morning and afternoon session - built Lego robots, learned to program them and then raced their bots up and down the halls of the Rocky Mountain Classical Academy, a charter school in School District 49 where the camp was held.

"They don't get a chance to do this in school," said Esther Lee, owner of Young Bot Builders, the business that hosted the event. "They are playing, but they are learning - they see the gears turn."

Lee runs week-long Lego robotics camps over spring break and summer vacation. In Saturday's condensed camp, children worked through three stations, ending with Mindstorms, where they learned concepts about gears, pulleys and levers and the logical steps in programming, Lee said.

The camp was a fund raiser for the Rocky Mountain Calvary AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) club, which plans to take six teens to Chicago in March for the National Bible Quiz and a fine arts competition. Eight AWANA club members helped the children build robots.

"It's been a really good day," said Jennifer Hills, AWANA commander.

Matthew Dagostino and his son Joey, 8, came down from Woodland Park for the camp. Dagostino recently won a grant for Gateway Elementary School to buy the same Lego robotics kits used in the camp and he and his son wanted a sneak peak at the program.

"I wanted to build it because it's fun building Legos," Joey said.

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