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University and school students building robots

Ocean Taylor, a 10-year-old student at Bankhead Elementary School, builds a Lego Mindstorm Robot with UBC student Monica Marton, who is in the first year of the elementary teacher education program. - Contributed
Ocean Taylor, a 10-year-old student at Bankhead Elementary School, builds a Lego Mindstorm Robot with UBC student Monica Marton, who is in the first year of the elementary teacher education program.
— image credit: Contributed

Interior Savings has teamed up with the Learning Exchange at UBC’s Okanagan campus and School District 23 to provide elementary, middle, and high school students with the opportunity to visit the university and construct Lego Mindstorm Robots with university student volunteers.

In half-day workshops, UBCO students from a range of disciplines—including engineering, computer sciences, arts and sciences, and education—work with students in Grades 4 to 10 to build and program the educational toys.

The ongoing initiative is made possible through a $15,000 donation from Interior Savings.

“We are proud to sponsor a program that promotes science understanding and creativity in elementary schools while providing UBC students with an opportunity to lead and teach younger students,” said Gene Creelman, vice-president of marketing and communications for Interior Savings.

“Experiential learning allows students to become actively involved in the learning process and can foster a whole new attitude towards a subject matter,” he said.

“This is a powerful, innovative learning tool that benefits our children and future workforce.”

Manufactured by the Lego Group, Lego Mindstorm Robot kits contain many pieces, including sensors and cables.

The hardware is used to construct the robots, while the related software can be programmed to determine how the robots function.

“The Lego Mindstorm Robotics Program provides a unique opportunity for UBC students from different disciplines to network with one another and exchange ideas and interests,” said Patricia Lasserre, associate professor of computer science, who helps facilitate the program.

“It also is a good way for university students to give back to the educational system and perhaps inspire or spark a (learning) passion within a child or youth.”

The first Lego Mindstorm Robots event took place in November and runs until April.

There have been nine workshops to date, with 264 students from the Central Okanagan School District participating in this educational experience.

 

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