Eight year old Oliver Whitehead from Nelson creates his robot. Photo Submitted

KAST brings Kootenay youth Robot Week

Glowing and Learning Opportunities with STEAM (GLOWS) is hosting their Discovery Foundation Robot Week to offer Kootenay youth an exciting way to wrap up their school year. Partnering with Live It, a company dedicated to delivering online educational experiences, the event runs from June 15 until June 19.

GLOWS is a non-profit program of the Kootenay Association of Science and Technology (KAST) dedicated to inspiring children to become engineers, computer programmers, and scientists. In previous years, Robot Games has been GLOWS most popular youth tech program, having typically taken place in person at Selkirk College’s Mary Hall in Nelson. This year’s pandemic restrictions forced the program to switch to virtual dissemination, offering youth the opportunity to learn how to design, build, and program robots using robotics kits, coding, and computer science.

“The purpose of Robot week is to expose youth in the Kootenay region and beyond to the fascinating world of robotics,” said Tanya Malcolm, GLOWS Program Manager. “Kids who learn how to plan, program and build robotics projects when they’re young can continue to apply these concepts as they’re exposed to more complex ideas, problems or tasks. Robotics offers a great landscape to learn science, engineering, math, and programming, which are important subjects within the tech industry.”

As of June 1, youth may attend online Maker Labs to learn how to build robots, followed by a virtual robotics competition. The instructional sessions begin with a building workshop where kids learn how to assemble and operate their robots using a remote control. The second session oversees programming, wherein participants learn the basics of block coding, and how to make specialized controllers with the apps.

The sessions are followed by the creation of an obstacle course that participants will use to demonstrate the tricks their robot learns. Each entrant will film a video of their robot using the course, later submitting it to the judges to be assessed.

The robot videos will be judged on June 19 according to two categories, obstacle course maneuvers and special tricks, with prizes offered for participants who win their age division in either category. Prior to the awards ceremony will be a live questions and answer session with robot experts on June 18.

Though GLOWS’ live Maker Labs use the mBots linked on their website, participants are free to use any robot to participate in Robot Week.

Once registered, participants will be sent a link to their chosen Maker Lab, along with information about how to access online tools. To register, visit Kast.com/robot-week.

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