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Lego Robotics Camp Teaches Kids STEM

Kopernik Observatory in Vestal has been running a Lego robotics camp and kids have actually created a village from the building blocks that is animated.
From outer space to high-tech Legos.

Kopernik Observatory in Vestal has been running a Lego robotics camp and kids have actually created a village from the building blocks that is animated.

There's the winter village, complete with ski lifts, a coffee shop and an observatory that actually has a moving telescope.

Aziz Shaikh, 11, of Vestal is responsible for the observatory.

"We have a worm gear connected to a motor and the worm gear, what it does is, it's pretty much horizontal and it moves a gear that's vertical," he said.

The whole camp is centered around STEM, science, technology, engineering and math.

"I showed them the ski mountain, I showed the programs and basically said make it into a ski resort and the end result was just amazing. It's really cool," said Tammy Schrader, lead instructor of the program.

"I really like using the motors to make the Legos move, because it's really realistic with the animals and the ski lift and stuff. It makes it look really real and cool." said Sheridan Ballard, 10, a Union-Endicott student.

The week-long camp is geared towards 4th and 5th graders.

"We learned about how to program in the computer to make it move, said Marina Eshbaugh, 11, of Little Meadows.

"The Lego WeDO program is a basic computer program with icons and once they learned what the motor icons did and what the weight icons did and they would add sounds and record their own sounds, they did everything all on their own," said Schrader.

It took a lot of teamwork to create the nine different movable Lego creations in this village.

"Just in this week I've seen a huge increase in self esteem, because kids that came in thinking, in the beginning I heard I can't, I can't, I can't. Now it's like, I can do this," said Schrader.

"I feel like an engineer," said Shaikh.

For more events going on at Kopernik, visit Kopernik.org.
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