North Island College offers kids Lego robotics camps

Up to 200 elementary school students across the North Island will have the chance to attend a Lego robotics camp this summer hosted by NIC.

North Island College is offering up a Lego robotics program this summer.

North Island College is offering up a Lego robotics program this summer.

North Island College will offer its first Lego robotics camps to up to 200 elementary school students across the North Island this summer, thanks to a $42,000 grant from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority.

NICBotCamps will allow students, aged nine to 12, to build, program and remotely control Lego robots at summer camps in Port Alberni, the Comox Valley, Ucluelet Port Hardy or Campbell River. Students learn vital science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, required for many careers.

“Everyone loves Lego but these camps provide something new,” said Naomi Tabata, manager of NIC’s Centre for Applied Research Technology and Innovation (CARTI). “Any student can spend a week building robots, meeting friends and improving their digital literacy. After camp ends, students keep learning and accessing robots online, via special remote robotics technology developed at NIC.”

The camps kick off July 11-15 in Port Alberni, then move to the Comox Valley for two one-week camps starting July 18-22 and July 25-29, before moving to Ucluelet (August 2-5), Port Hardy (Aug 8-12) and Campbell River (August 15-19).

Robotics experience is not necessary The cost is $165 per student, except during the short week in Ucluelet, where costs drop to $132.

“We are also very pleased to offer a number of subsidized spaces to low income families, thanks to generous donors in the community,” added Tabata. “However, space is limited, so anyone interested should call CARTI at 250-923-9700 for more information.”

Camp instructors include Andrew Gair, who has years of competitive VEX robotics experience at the high school and university level, and Meiko Matsumoto and Roger Vernon, two robotics instructors from the Comox Valley School District’s award-winning ENTER program.

NIC’s Remote Web-Based Science Lab, or RWSL, was developed with students in mind. NIC employee Albert Balbon established a way for students to control Lego EV3 robots remotely for his son, Chase, who came home from school in Grade 5 so excited about a two-week Lego robotics module, he asked his dad to find a way to connect students to Lego Robotics online.

Balbon worked with the North Island Distance Education School to create ways for students to access expensive robotics year round.The funding is part of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)’s Community Investment Program, which invested $1 million this month in 24 projects nationwide to build a better online Canada. CIRA manages Canada’s top-level domain on behalf of all Canadians.

To register, visit any NIC registration office or register online using the course code CAMP-LEGO at www.nic.bc.ca/continuingeducation.