Barbados Junior Robotics Camps

Camp Overview

The Barbados Junior Robotics Camps (BJRC) are annual summer enrichment programs for young Barbadian students interested in robotics. The aim of the day camps is to introduce basic technology and engineering concepts to children. The typical student who is admitted to the Camp is curious about how things work in his/her environment, is interested and eager to acquire knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), performs consistently well at school in science and mathematics subjects, and enjoys hands-on work.

Students from low-income households and girls are encouraged to apply. The aim is also a balanced class of 50% girls and boys. Students apply directly to the CSF, but a recommendation from their science or math teacher or Principal is required. BJRC runs from mid July to mid August, and now serves close to 70 students annually. The camps are currently being offered at 4 levels for students from 10 to 18 years of age. At the camps, students participate in team-based projects in a fun environment, supervised by several coaches.

Our modified VEX robotics curriculum is employed for Levels I – III. It comprises a mix of classroom teaching, and hands-on building through the use of VEX Robotics Kits. Through this curriculum, the students are introduced to STEM and robotics. They learn about the basic components of robots, and see examples of how science and math are applied to engineering. The Level IV students build their own robots.
 

All Levels of the Camp expose campers to practical experiences which build confidence, social, communication, conflict resolution, and team-working skills. Practical camp experiences include: personal development sessions, brainstorming/critiquing a robotic technology solution, observation and operation of robotic technology (via field trips, video and demonstrations), and design-build-test of custom mechanisms. Teamwork is an essential skill that is emphasized in all the camps, and its value is highlighted. At the end of the month-long camp, the students demonstrate the operation of their robots to a public audience, and certificates of camp completion are awarded.

The camps were first offered in 2015 at Level I. In 2016, a Level II was added, and in 2017 a special Level IIA was added to the existing Levels I and II. In 2018, a new Level III camp was offered as a pilot, as well as Level IIA (formerly Level II) and Level IIB (formerly Level IIA). For 2019 we will again offer four levels of the Camp, and going forward they have simply been renamed Levels I – IV, where Level IV is the same as the 2018 Level III.

Eligibility Criteria for non-Barbadian citizens

Children who are not citizens of Barbados may be considered for admission to the camp if space is available in the appropriate Camp level and they meet one or more of the following conditions:

  1. The child has attended a Barbados school for the past 4 consecutive years (submit proof with application).
  2. At least one parent has been legally stationed in Barbados for employment purposes for 4 or more consecutive years (submit proof with application).
  3. At least one parent is a Barbados citizen (submit proof with application).

If space is available and such students are admitted, the non-citizenship fee of US$ 2,000 for non-Caribbean citizens, or US$ 1,000 if one parent is an English-speaking Caribbean citizen, must be paid at the time of Registration.

The 2019 student application period is closed

Benefits to the Region

The CSF is committed to effecting STEM education reform in the Region, and these Robotics Camps are consistent with CSF’s primary goals of: (a) helping to increase the numbers of Caribbean students pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering, (b) helping to diversify the economies of the Region, and (c) helping to stimulate more technology-based entrepreneurship within the Region, thereby raising the standard of living of the people. The broader vision for the Robotics Camps is that:

  1. STEM-focused activities like these camps will improve awareness and create and ignite passion in our young people
  2. The growing interest in robotics will spawn the formation of after-school robotics clubs across the Caribbean
  3. Eventually, robotics will make its way into the general curriculum in all schools in the Region
  4. More Caribbean students will become skilled enough to compete with other youngsters in international robotics competitions
  5. The youngsters who participate in such camps will have a head start in joining the technology-competent workforce of the future
  6. A fraction of the graduates from our camps will go on to create new globally-competitive technology industries that will help to diversify the economies of the Region

Robotics Camp Sponsors and Partners

The Camps make use of the facilities of the UWI Cave Hill Campus, as part of the partnership between the CSF and UWI. The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is also a key partner in our educational programs. Ideally, the budget to adequately cover the major expenses of the four Junior Robotics Camps is US$ 40,000. Major expenses include: (1) purchase of the VEX Robotics Kits (inclusive of software), (2) stipends for 12 facilitators, (3) materials, miscellaneous electronics components, tools, and equipment for building the robots and for building the competition platforms, and (4) Arduinos, Raspberry Pi’s, and specialized software and electronics for building the robots in the upper camp level. Institutional Camp Sponsors by year are listed below:

2015

  • The Barbados Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development
  • The City of Bridgetown Credit Union

2016

  • The City of Bridgetown Credit Union
  • The Barbados Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development
  • The Central Bank of Barbados
  • MASA (Medical Air Services Association)

2017

  • The City of Bridgetown Credit Union
  • The Central Bank of Barbados

2018

  • The City of Bridgetown Credit Union
  • The Central Bank of Barbados
  • Emera Caribbean
  • Sagicor Life
  • Archer Daniels Midland Co.

2019

  • The City of Bridgetown Credit Union
  • The Central Bank of Barbados
  • Emera Caribbean
  • Sagicor Life
  • Archer Daniels Midland Co.

 
Partners
The CSF remains exceedingly grateful to its partners:

  • UWI‐Barbados (Cave Hill Campus)
  • Caribbean Examinations Council

 
Please contact Prof. Cardinal Warde at warde.csf@gmail.com or at 1-617-699-1281 if you (or your organization) are willing to assist.
A promotional fundraising video made by Mr. Hallam Hope can be viewed at the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdhhP-7W_E8.

 

Camp Replication Across the Region

Now that the Levels I and II Camps have been piloted in Barbados, the CSF is eager to work with others to develop similar camps in other Caribbean countries.

Caribbean Science Foundation

CARICOM Research Building
UWI Cave Hill Campus
Bridgetown, Barbados, West Indies
Telephone: 1-246-417-7493
E-mail: csfhdq@gmail.com

For further information, please contact:
Prof. Cardinal Warde
warde.csf@gmail.com