Military kids build robots, learn team fun

| February 26, 2015 | 0 Comments
Benjamin Lynde, son of Col. Charles Lynde, 9th MSC chaplain, shows the robot he constructed at the “STEM-tastic 6: Robotics” event.

Benjamin Lynde, son of Col. Charles Lynde, 9th MSC chaplain, shows the robot he constructed at the “STEM-tastic 6: Robotics” event.

Story and photos by
Sandra Rivera
9th Mission Support Command

HONOLULU — Army Reserve Child Youth and School Services, Operation Military Kids, 4-H, and National Guard Child Youth Services hosted a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School Break Youth Enrichment Program at the National Guard’s 103rd Troop Command Headquarters dining facility, Feb. 16.

Teen volunteer Kevin Rivera (red shirt), helps one a team of youths build a robot during the “STEM-tastic 6: Robotics” event. The children who participated learned about robotics, problem-solving and teamwork.

Teen volunteer Kevin Rivera (red shirt), helps one a team of youths build a robot during the “STEM-tastic 6: Robotics” event. The children who participated learned about robotics, problem-solving and teamwork.

This was not your typical day of learning for the 30 students in attendance.

Soldiers, kids, community partners, volunteers and robots led to a fun day of science, learning and exploration. The event, “STEM-tastic 6: Robotics,” focused on robot mechanics and electronics, problem-solving and teamwork.

Adult family members, Army Reserve teen panel members and five teen volunteers provided assistance to the students throughout the day.

Army Reserve and National Guard children with little or no experience in robotics participated in this exciting event. Participants, ages 8 to 15, worked with VEX IQ robots.

Sgt. 1st Class Chad Bates, marine maintenance noncommissioned officer, 548th Transportation Company (LSV), 9th Mission Support Command, came to the event with his son.

“My son, Topher, had a fantastic day building and operating robots.” Bates said.

Sgt. 1st Class Chad Bates, 548th Transportation Company (LSV), 9th MSC, (right) navigates a robot through an obstacle course while teen volunteers look on. The “STEM-tastic 6: Robotics” event taught mechanics and math concepts through the use of robotics.

Sgt. 1st Class Chad Bates, 548th Transportation Company (LSV), 9th MSC, (right) navigates a robot through an obstacle course while teen volunteers look on. The “STEM-tastic 6: Robotics” event taught mechanics and math concepts through the use of robotics.

Students gained knowledge on the mechanical and electronic portion of the robot by assembling a clawbot, one of a number of different types of VEX IQ robot. These robots do not require any tools to build and can be built and operated within a few hours. The robotic brain that operates the robot is controlled by drivers using a remote control.

During the first hour of the event, active duty Soldiers from the 706th Ordnance Co. provided an interactive demonstration using two ordnance disposal robots and explained their use and benefits in the military. Parents were invited to stay for this part and also try the demo VEX IQ robot.

Following this, 10 three-children teams were formed.

Each team member had a different task that rotated throughout the event: as an assembler, an instructions reader and someone to find and match parts.

Once all robots were built and tested, the teams competed in an ability challenge consisting of moving three objects from point A to point B in a platform.

At the end of the day the kids had new friends, as well as a new understanding of science concepts and problem-solving skills.

(Editor’s note: Rivera is a school services specialist, Army Reserve, Child, Youth & School Services Program, 9th Mission Support Command.)

About STEM

The use of advanced technology in the classroom is part of President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” Campaign for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

STEM introduces the use of advanced technology to prepare all students for the challenges and opportunities in the 21st century global environment.

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