Summer camp plans not coming together as you envisioned? Me neither. I have no idea what camp will look like for my 8- and 6-year old, and am leery of more Zoom time. I found an interesting possibility though, at least for my 8-year old: virtual robotics camp. More Zoom, yes, but Zoom with Robots!
UBTECH Education, a division of UBTECH, the robotics company famous for its Walker robot and kids’ robot kits, teamed up with the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice to create Camp:ASPIRE for students ages 8 through 16.
When campers sign up for a week, they get a UKIT robotics building kit to keep that includes servos, connectors, a main control box, and 300-500+ pieces. They’ll also receive 10-plus hours of live virtual instruction from experienced educators. Campers can choose from basics in robotics, coding, and engineering to more advanced camps in animal robots and coding sensors. UBTECH Education also offers a toolkit for teachers looking for ways to share summer robotics with their students. Sessions begin June 15 and run through August 24.
With prices starting at $400 for a one-week session, Camp:ASPIRE isn’t cheap. But UBTECH Education and the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, will commit a minimum of $100,000 in scholarships for the camp to help “kids attend who might otherwise be unable to access a robotics and engineering summer program.”
While UBTECH’s Camp:Aspire is an interesting stay-at-home STEM option, it’s not the only game in town. Common Sense Media offers a great roundup of 15 Online “Camps” for kids that span everything from coding to game design. iDTech also has some online options for STEM summer camps. It’s also worth calling your local art and science centers to see if they have virtual camp options. No, it’s not the same as going to a physical summer camp. But, after the Zoom call is over, you can always eat ice cream and sit in the shade and watch birds and stuff.