Barbados Junior Robotics Camp 2017
The Barbados Junior Robotics Camps 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 camps are targeted at children who are passionately interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and enjoy hands-on work. Now that these camps have been piloted in Barbados, the CSF is willing to work with others to develop similar camps in other Caribbean countries.
The broader vision is that: (1) the growing interest in robotics will spawn the formation of robotics clubs in our schools, (2) more Caribbean students will become skilled enough to compete with other youngsters in international robotics competitions, (3) the youngsters who participate in such camps will have a head start in joining the technology-competent workforce of the future, and (4) a fraction will go on to create new globally-competitive technology industries that will help to diversify the economies of the Region.
The camps were first offered in 2015 at Level I, and in 2016, a more advanced level of the camp (Level II) was added. The Camps are a part of the partnership between the CSF and the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus. The Camps are designed and run by the CSF Volunteers for Barbados (see Volunteers for Barbados) and the Camps make use of the facilities of the UWI Cave Hill Campus. The Camps are consistent with CSF’s primary goals of: (1) helping to increase the numbers of Caribbean students pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering, (2) helping to diversify the economies of the Region, and (3) helping to stimulate more technology-based entrepreneurship within the Region, and thereby raise the standard of living of the people.
These camps, along with the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge (SVC), the Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) and the CSF-CAS (Caribbean Academy of Sciences) Regional STEM Teacher Training Workshops are the main educational reform programs of the CSF. The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is also a key partner in these CSF educational programs.
Junior Robotics Camps: Program Description
Applicants for the Junior Robotics Camp must be at least 9 years of age and less than 13 years of age on July 1. Students from low-income households and girls are encouraged to apply. The aim is a balanced class of 50% girls and boys. At the Camp, students participate in team-based projects in a fun environment, supervised by approximately 5 Teaching Assistants for each camp, under the direction of a Head Instructor. The typical student who is admitted into the Junior Robotics Camp is curious about science and his/her surroundings, is eager to acquire knowledge in the areas of science and mathematics, and performs consistently well at school in the subjects of science and mathematics.
The VEX Robotics Curriculum employed, comprises a mix of class room teaching, and hands-on building through the use of VEX Robotics Kits. VEX is recognized as a leading classroom robotics platform (see http://www.vexrobotics.com/). 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. At the end of the month-long camp, the students demonstrate the operation of their robots to an audience, and certificates are awarded to the teams.
Level I Camp
The Level I camp focuses on “teleoperated” robots (robots operated remotely), but we also begin to introduce concepts of autonomous robots. More specifically, the curriculum includes: learning about simple machines and motion (such as pulleys and pendulums), learning about mechanisms such as motors and gear ratios, learning how sensors work, and an introduction to the basics of programming. The students then have fun applying this knowledge to automate devices (chain reaction programming) before attempting to build an autonomous robot.
The application period for the 2017 Level I camp is now open. The application deadline is 11:59 pm, 24 May 2017. The Level I camp will run from July 10 to August 4, 2017.
Student application forms for the Level I camp can be downloaded from the link below:
Level I Camp Selection Criteria
The BJRC admissions committee will be responsible for selecting the students. Because of budget and space limitations the committee will limit the number of participants in each camp level to about 20. Only complete applications that arrive before the deadline will be considered. Also, the age limit and the citizenship requirement will be strictly enforced. Thereafter, Level I applications will be selected taking the following factors into consideration:
•The strength of the recommendation from the principal or teacher
•The age of the child (older students will be given preference over younger students who have to option to re-apply in later years).
•The admissions committee’s assessment of the child’s interest and passion for STEM based on the submitted materials
•Then if the qualified applicant pool still exceeds our capacity, a lottery system will be put in place to select the remaining successful candidates.
Level II Camp
The Level II camp is open to students who have completed the Level I camp. The Level II camp will focus on completely autonomous robots. The goal would be to have these campers design and build robots which can run a fairly sophisticated obstacle course autonomously (without human intervention). The kids will also be introduced to Python, a popular programming language.
The application period for the 2017 Level II camp is now open. The application deadline is 11:59 pm, 24 May 2017. The Level II camp will run from July 11 to August 4, 2017.
Student application forms for the Level II camp can be downloaded from the link below:
In addition to the Level II application form, 2015 and 2016 Level I campers who wish to participate in the 2017 Level II camp must first fill out and submit this online survey of the Level I camp. A printable (pdf) version of the online survey/questionnaire is available here, but it should be used only if the applicant has difficulty accessing the online version. If you have already returned the survey, we thank you very much.
For the Level II camp, past Level I students who are less than 14 years old by July 1 are accepted based on the recommendation of the Level I camp coaches. Students who have been unfocused or disruptive in the Level I camp should not apply for admission to the Level II camp.
Level IIA Camp
For 2017 only, If not all Level I students opt to go on to level II, then students who have previously completed Level II and who are less than 15 years old by July 1, may apply to fill the open classroom slots for a special LEVEL IIA camp (an advanced version of Level II). Level IIA admission decisions will naturally not occur until the Level II class has been solidified (about June 15) and only a few slots may exist. The Level II facilitators will rank-order the applicants based on their Level II technical performance, passion for robotics, and in-class behaviour. The Level IIA applicants will be selected one at a time based on this ranking.
The Level IIA application form may downloaded using the link below, and its due date is June 1, 2017
The fee for participation in the 2017 Camps is BD$ 400 per child for the entire 4.5 weeks. Preference is for the entire fee to be paid by the parent/guardian upon acceptance of our offer of the child’s participation in the Camp. For parents who are unable to pay the fee in full before the camp starts, we can make accommodation for 4 weekly payments of BD$ 100 per week upon request. Snacks at the breaks are served to all children participating in the camp.
The CSF is seeking qualified facilitators/coaches who have the experience and can commit the time to help us run both the Level I and the Level II camps. The 2017 camps will run from July 4 to August 4. These positions carry a modest stipend, but a signed contract with the CSF must be executed as all facilitators are expected to be available for the duration of the camps. A flyer describing the coaching positions can be viewed here.
The Facilitator Application Form can be downloaded in WORD or pdf formats from the links below:
The CSF is seeking US$ 40,000 sponsorship to cover the major expenses of both 2018 Junior Robotics Camps: Purchase of the VEX Robotics Kits (inclusive of software); stipends for 10 facilitators; tools, components and materials for the demos and for the building of the competition platform; snacks for the campers; additional miscellaneous materials and supplies. Please contact Prof. Cardinal Warde at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-617-699-1281 if you (or your organization) are willing to assist.
Past camp sponsors have included:
• 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)
A promotional fundraising video made by Mr. Hallam Hope can be viewed at the link below.
2017 Barbados Junior Robotics Camps in the News