Max Sauter gets some assistance from instructor Mitchell Gair. Photo by Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

Kids spend summer building robots at Vancouver Island camps

North Island College offers tech camps for kids nine to 12

For the last couple of weeks, North Island College has hosted some students a little younger than usual.

As part of its summer programming, NIC hosted 40 kids aged nine to 12 each week at the Campbell River campus for a couple of robotics camps.

The Tech Explorers Camp introduces students to coding, Lego robotics and snap circuits. The class is a new one that ran this year in addition to the successful NICBotCamps, which were back by popular demand this summer.

“Basically, we spend the whole week, Monday to Friday … building and programming to do a whole bunch of different challenges,” said Matthew Gair, who instructs one of the classes, along with his brother Andrew. “We start off with basic builds, basic programming… and we get to more advanced builds.”

The camps teach students science, technology, engineering and math skills. NICBotcamps focuses on building, programming and controlling Lego robots. Beyond this, Tech Explorers, in addition to working with the Lego robots, teaches multiple disciplines of technology.

Some of the kids have no experience while others come in with a little background, especially as coding has become part of the curriculum for schools in the province. It’s a chance for them to learn something valuable, but it is also a summer camp, so the instructors make sure to keep things fun.

“I think it’s really important to have fun in whatever you’re learning because you’re engaged, and then you want to be able to take that further,” said instructor Meiko Matsumoto.

The NICBotcamps are held across the region, with camps in Port Hardy, Port Alberni, Gold River, Ucluelet and the Comox Valley, in addition to Campbell River.

The Tech Explorer camps are available only at the Campbell River and Comox Valley campuses.

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Aiden Foottit-Robertson delivers his presentation during Friday’s wrap-up of the camp. Photo by Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

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