By Alyssa T., Girl Reporter
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Azalea Trails — the scenic, serene camp with beautiful mountains and tranquil streams — welcomed campers to a new underwater robotics activity. One of the many wonderful camp experiences a girl can have at Azalea Trails is learning about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program), and the underwater robotics did just that. Going on for a full week (August 3-7, 2015), this camp activity taught campers what the “E” in STEM is all about.
During the week-long camp, the girls split into groups to explore robotics building and camping. Every day the girls participated in traditional camp activities like horseback riding, fencing, or the ropes course, while still working hard on their robots. The campers learned how to use new tools to build the aquatic robots, such as pipe cutters to cut PVC pipes and build a structure. There were no pre-made controllers or wires, because the girls did everything themselves!
The campers used a soldering iron to connect wires and circuits for the robot’s motor. They also cased the motors in wax to waterproof the bot and ensure that the water would disrupt or destroy the robot’s circuitry.
On Thursday, each of the groups took their bots and held two contests: the first challenged teams to use their bots to move pool noodles from one side of the water surface to another; the second tasked these young engineers to maneuver the bots to the bottom of the pool and touch 3 plates in the shortest amount of time.
Thank you Time Warner Cable!
The Underwater Robotics Camp at Camp Azalea Trails was generously sponsored by Time Warner Cable, whose goal is to use STEM to Connect A Million Minds!
Although some robots had parts fall apart during the building process and some broke down during the contest, the girls used teamwork to troubleshoot the problems and make sure each robot worked great in the water. Each camper who participated received a raffle ticket for one of two raffles after competing in each contest. The people who won the first raffle received a stuffed Tajar (the beloved Azalea Trails mascot), and the six girls who won the second raffle gained an underwater robot of their own, with everything needed to finish it.
On the last day of
camp, girls could be seen packing their bags with dirty clothes and toothbrushes, as well as the odd underwater robot, and prepared to head out.
As the campers drove home, there was no doubt that they were fondly remembering a week that will last a lifetime – using tools they wouldn’t have used otherwise, having incredible experiences with fellow young, future engineers and learning all about STEM.