Anyone done robotics camps?

Hey guys, I’ve done some searching but found little. Anyway, here is my question:

People I know are looking into starting a fall robotics camp where we would bring in kids from surrounding areas to teach them about robotics and get them excited in the program. Anyway, my main question is for those who have done it, what was your curriculum? What did you do, how long did it take, and also, how hard was it for the kids?

Thanks for all your replies in advance. If you want to contact me, just drop me a line a

I know that SPAM (team 180) has done a Girls camp… where they involved few girls on their team to do some machinary works. It was a 5 day camp and girls on spam learned how to fix the omni wheel they had this year on their robot… each of them learned how to make a nut and bolt using a mill and lathe. I have known the team for the past 3 years… (correct me if i am wrong>>>)… as far as i know there was only 1 girl on spam who actually worked in the pit… as of now there will be more girls on spam who will be involved in making the actual robot. This kind of camp inspires the ladies in FIRST…

::if you want to know how they have organized the camp please pm Tiffany Lee… her chiefdelphi name is Tiffany34990… :: :slight_smile:

I haven’t actually taught a robotics camp yet, so I can’t anwser all of your questions, but I am planning on doing a camp for my lego team at the end of August. Having mentored a lego team this past year, I can offer some advice and tell you a little bit about the curriculum.

We are planning on having sessions where we teach the kids new things and having sessions where we have the kids take what they have learned and apply it to a challenge. The camp will be a week long and will meet at the school in an unused classroom. Some of the major topics that will be discussed are: (remember that this is for kids in 3-6 grade)

  1. What is a robot? Where can we find robots in our everyday lives?
    2)How do we tell a robot what to do?? (Programmming - basic drive commands, loops, structures, logic, etc.)
    3)How can a robot gather information? (Sensors - light, touch, IR, etc.)
    4)How do we make a robot get places (Motors, gears, sprockets, chains, treads, wheels etc. – different drive trains)?

After we learn the basics, we will take it to the next level by giving the group mini challenges; we will ask them to experiment with their new knowledge by completing a task. One of the activities we are planning on doing is having the group split up and build different robots to climb up the playground slide. They will then record how well each different drive train performs this task.

We will continue teaching more advanced topics and then continue giving the kids mini-challenges. How old are the kids you are going to teach? Make sure that the material you are covering isn’t over their heads or too boring. Another thing you should try to teach is teamwork and brainstorming skills. Often, the kids are so excited about playing with robots that they forget about listening to everyone’s ideas and waiting to brainstorm before they build. Make sure that nobody gets left out.

I hope this was helpful to you. If you have more questions, keep posting and/or pm me.

yeah pm if u have any ?s-- but yeah we did do a girls camp and all-- we sort of do a rookie camp too-- but that’s being worked on a bit-- we try to get the rookies to understand the game that year and our team along with concepts of FIRST-- rookie camp is sort of boring so we’re gonna try to make it better-- get the rookies down more into our pit and create games and hands on activities for them–a bit more exciting then lectures

so those are our camps so for that we sort of created on my team-- outside of our team we are trying to set up a lego type camp for the summer–not sure on that exact details but one day it’ll happen

Team 768 has been running a robotics camp for 2 years now there are 3 one week sessions. This camp is in conjunction with Johns Hopkins but has teacher from Woodlawn high school and students teaching the camp. The camp goes from 9-2 for 1 week

The curriculum is this

Day 1: intro to program and then each child is given a robot kit soccer robot
And given most the rest of the day to compete. then they are given time to play on the field against each other, if students finish early they are partnered up and given time to play with Lego mindstorms(which is the next day’s activities), most finish just in time to play for a while. A wrap up is given and kids are sent home.

Day 2: Lego mindstorms are introduced and a short talk about programming but basically they follow one of the designs in the book that comes with mindstorms. Then they are challenged to build a Lego robot that does something, this gives them a chance to play more with programming and problem solving.

Day 3: field trip to Johns Hopkins for a tour or the facility, let them see the labs show them some work cell robots, etc (not really sure what happens the whole day)

Day 4:kids get introduced to the boe bot that is a basic stamp controlled robot. They are then taught the basics of programming in Basic with the goal of completing a maze. Then they are guided through the steps of converting the bots with touch sensors, IR sensors etc. main idea of the day is programming

Day 5: kids work in the morning perfecting their various projects they have work on through the week. In the afternoon all the parents come in and a competition happens for all the different robots; a soccer comp, mindstorm challenge, boe bot maze, and boe bot creativity.

At the end of the week the kids keep the soccer robots. The camp costs something like 350 and includes lunch each day. Students age from 5-8th grades. On a side note the camp was so popular that they expanded the program and now offer week camps in art, and forensics.

Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me for more information.

I have taught and written curricula for robotics-related camps and camp activities through my museum. Unfortunately, however, that work is all copyright by the museum and I can’t share it.

I worked with students in grades 5 through 8 and wrote curricula for students in grades 2 through 4, so it was a bit more basic than some things that happen in FIRST. That said, I’m quite willing to share what I learned in those experiences if you have specific questions.

My robotics team runs a lego/robotics camp for incoming legoleague and/or kids who want some more but are going to be too old for it.

The things you wanna keep in mind include:

  1. Demographic
    Who are you working with? Elementary? Junior High? Highschool?
    Elementary and jr. high will find lego/robovation stuff to be satisfying, but generally like to poke around the lab and look at the team robot and nuts and bolts. If you want to avoid that, host it elsewhere. They like asking questions, which is always neat, so have highschoolers who are willing to be around to “CIT” and answer questions about the robot.
    Highschool students generally prefer to work with what they’d be doing during the year, so something like a shorter build season or even working with the robot are things you can try. Highschoolers tend to be a bit busier but they’ll come if it’s fun. Elementary school students parents generally will drive them if they’re signed up.

  2. Goals
    Are you just trying to inspire them, or do you want to bring them to the team?
    If you just want to inspire them, but leave the choice open, you don’t need to focus on FIRST so much. Focus on engineering, but don’t expect them to go running at the team callout. This also depends on the students you have. My team sometimes brings (to my knowledge) incoming freshmen or incoming new joiners to IRI or sweet repeat, because it’s a chance for them to experience an offseason comp and meet people. This is highly effective if you structure a camp around maybe working with the robot and then the last friday and saturday are a competition or something. It’s sort of like a celebration of what they’ve learned.

  3. Resources
    If you do this at a Museum as someone mentioned doing, your resources are different than in say, your school. Sometimes school corps don’t support camps where you’d be taking the students out of town, or they just have so many camps running that they won’t add yours. (Music programs often run during the summer). Another resource is people. If you have few people, then you can focus more on what they wanna learn, maybe MiniDrive Team or pit crew or something. If you have lots…split em up into groups. Let them try things. It’s a fun time.

  4. Most importantly…time
    Don’t make the camp any longer than a month if you just hold things in the morning or just in the afternoon, and I’d venture to say no more than 2-3 weeks if it’s an all day thing. People look at camp applications, see a large chunk of time, and go freaky on you. It’s best to make it short enough that more people are available, but long enough to complete goals, and short enough to make em wish they could get more, thus bringing them to your team.

I hope these help a tad.
Good luck!

  • Genia

Thanks for the replies guys. This is helping tons. Anyway, one more thing, Eugenia Gabrielov, WIERD is spelled wrong from my quote. I changed it after I realized it was wrong, but if you are trying to point out that it was a funny bad spelling, that’s fine too.

Oh it’s not that at all! I just had the urge to quote that becuase my sig was boring, and I’ve never had a thread I started called that before. You made me feel loved.

A quick extra suggestion regarding camps…

How much are you interested in charging?
Some random strategies…
Offer for the team to pay for some of their expenses if you take them to a competition, I dunno how your team does it, but I can’t remember the californian team that does, but they offer newmembers major discounts on stuff, like they give them foodbucks, and they give them a Shirt or something. It’s pretty neat.

We are toying around with the idea of ‘free’, as in the kids would come for a while, but we would pick up the whole tab.

Good Idea about a Robot Camp Calendar-

In the Fall, NYCFIRST holds workshops for FLL students, FLL teachers, and FRC teams using the EDUbots. These workshops are always given at The Polytechnic University in Brooklyn and serves mostly NYC FLL and FRC Teams.

We also give an introduction to the Siemens/Westinghouse Science Competition.
This coming FLL season we are planning to give our first FLL Kickoff & workshop on October 2 because there will be 30+ new rookie FLL teams. (we may exceed 130+ registered FLL teams this year…ugh :yikes: )

The NYCFIRST Planning Committee has not set all the workshop dates. I can post them when they are available. (That reminds me…. I have picture from last year’s workshop that has not been posted) :slight_smile:

I ran a Lego Camp last summer. The camp lasted for approixmately 1 month (a day or two off for July 4th). A good 10 kids signed up and participated, and we held the camp at a local church building that we were graciously allowed to use.

We started off with the basics, teaching about the most simple of Lego Mindstorms constructions, than began to introduce the more technical aspects of the machines, including gear ratios, differentials, multiple computer units, etc.

For the first week, my helpers and I would introduce a concept, show them a few examples of how that concept might be utilized and the benefits of such, then let them work on their own implementation of said concept. My helpers and I assisted where needed, helped debug and test, but mostly just gave support, ideas, and encouragement. At the end of each day (2 hour days) we would run the machines. The next day, we would perfect the machines, then move on to the next concept. Another helper took the kids aside individually and taught simple Lego Mindstorms programming on a laptop.

After the kids had mastered the basics, we broke them up into groups, gave them a challenge that they had to complete in a certain amount of days, and let them work! As the kids completed the challenges, we would expand on them and help the kids to make more complex machines.

Towards the end of the camp, my helpers and I made challenges quite similar to older FIRST games and broke the kids into two groups. The kids spent multiple days working on each project and ran their machines head to head in a big tournament, which was tons of fun.

Most of the kids had a relatively easy time with completing the challenges, and those that didn’t received help from their peers and from instructors.

Don’t forget snacks and drinks!

If you have any more questions, by all means send me a PM.

I just finished my second year serving as a TA for a High School Robotics camp for the USC Summer Seminars.

It is a month-long course, but the first two weeks are really an introduction to engineering. We cover the different types of engineering (mechanical, electrical, civil, industrial, etc.), and gave them a crash course in each. During that time, we’ve toured companies such as Gulfstream, Boeing, and PaperMate, had the kids build popsicle stick bridges and do water-ballon drops, and taught them about proper engineering documentations. The last couple days of the second week were a brief introduction to advanced lego design and mindstorms, and had them build simple devices such as a color recognizer or a robot that would drive in a fixed pattern. We finished with a simple game called the Can-Do Challenge, which the kids all said later was very helpful introduction to robot programming and design.

The last two weeks are spent doing the main robotics challenge. Because of the cost and time commitment involved, we’ve decided not to do FIRST or FLL. Instead, we do RoboCupJr, whose 1-on-1 version is easily accomplished by the High School kids in two weeks. We have four teams of four, and give each a standard Mindstorms for Schools set, plus an additional Gear Reduction Motor, a MicroMotor, and a High Speed Motor. We also bought a bunch of RadioShack IR Phototransistors and connected them to Mindstorms wires (the phototransistors fit perfectly into the holes in lego pieces).

We give the teams a crash course in programming in RoboLab, but other than that, we leave the teams to figure stuff out on their own (of course the professor teaching the course and I are always there to help). The only caveat is that they had to document everything they try, no matter how flawed it is, in their lab notebooks.

For the playing field, we purchased four IR glowing robot soccer balls and four greyscale floor mats from, and built the wooden field border from from Home Depot parts.

With those supplies, the kids this past term were able to build four functioning, completely autonomous, soccer playing robots in only two weeks. Only two kids in the class had any previous robotics experience (one FIRST, one BBIQ), although a bunch took the class because they were planning to join their school’s FIRST team.

If you want more info on the course, such as the syllabus, please email or PM me.

Our camps and courses can be found here:

 Our Robotics Camps are one of our biggest fundraisers. It was mindblowing how smart some...MOST of these kids were. I had a blast, it was a learning experience for both the students and mentors.

 We do two sessions, one begginner and one advanced. Both using Lego Mindstorms and each lasting two weeks. From 1-5pm. We have challenges for them for most of the time then on the second to last day we organize the kits, then the last day one of our mentors gives a speech about robotics in general, and the rest of the day is a party day where we give the kids a chance to drive the past robots we have built, play with the RoboSapiens one of our mentors owns, and just socialize in general. Last year, and as well as this year, some of the kids of the camps came to join Beach Cities Robotics for the build season. This one student, Haley, is starting her own Lego League as well as joing our team.

  Some kids had some trouble with problem solving. Figuring out how to make the programming do what the task at hand called for. Patience is a virtue. Some of the student leaders got in to the Lego Mindstorms themselves, and started to write the programming for them because they were doing the problem solving themselves. They weren't doing it intentionally, they just got into it. You just have to remember to guide them to finding the answer, don't give it to them. Whenever one of the students came up to me and asked for help, i always made them recite to me what their task was, then we took step by step. For example:

       One of the tasks could be following a wall using touch sensors. I would have them break down every little thing that would have to go on in order for that to happen. (go forward, wait till touch1, then they had to figure out which way they ahd to turn, for how long, then to go forward. WHich motors to change directions all when touch1 was hit).

      I think the most important thing for me about the camps is that the kids have fun. Throughout the camp I would ask them if they liked it, if they were having fun, if they would come back, what was their favorite thing about the camp. They would always be enthusiastic, mostly because they loved the competitions. At the end of each day we would gather around the "competition field" and everyone would see what everyone else came up with. It was a blast, i wish that our web cam was pointed towards the field so the parents could have seen it from home, but now we know for next year. 
       I had some other things to say, but I can't remember them at the moment. Good Luck, and make sure you guys (the people teaching) have fun too.

Zan you forgot to mention the camp that WPI offers.

WPI offers a two week summer camp where one of the areas of study is robotics. It is run by the same people who run the FIRST team. Half the time you are learning about robotics (sensors, motors, programming, etc.) and the other half you are building a robot for a competition at the end of the week.
For information on this you can go to For more information pm me and I can put you in contact with the people who actually run it.

i believe the Disney alliance in orlando will be holding workshops similar to what you are talking about. I will see if I can get more information…

As I was planning for our robotics camp, I came across the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy website, which offers alot of good resources, such as lesson plans, activities, and power point presentations, which I am planning on using for my camp. Hope this is helpful!!