Clearview Library robotics club blends science, fun and learning for kids | MyWindsorNow.com

Clearview Library robotics club blends science, fun and learning for kids

Mary-Kate Newton
mnewton@mywindsornow.com

The after-school robotics program at Clearview Library is a hands-on opportunity for kids ages 5 and up to learn the basics of electronic circuits and robotics.

Tools like Little Bits, which are magnetic connectible pieces that teach kids how to complete an electronic circuit, make kids into electrical engineers and innovators. Anthony Perez is an outreach assistant at Clearview, and says he and the other two instructors in the program aim to make robotics accessible and fun for their young club members.

"This is part of teaching kids that libraries and learning are more than just books," Perez said.

Perez said he actually learns and grows with the club members and is impressed with how quickly they catch on and already know about technology and innovating.

Thursday, the club received new Lego Mindstorm kits, which are programmable robotic Legos. Tucker Valentine, another outreach assistant, and Perez debated even putting the kits out for the kids.

"I haven't taught myself how to use them yet," Valentine said.

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But some of the young tinkers experimented with the kits and started teaching themselves without instruction.

Toby Walters is a 6-year-old first grader from Tozer Primary School. He and his younger brother, Sam, didn't get their robot to fully function Thursday, but managed to improvise a robot body.

"I don't know what I'm making. I'll know when it's done," Toby said, concentrating on connecting pieces and referring to pictures in the instruction manual.

For kids 11 and older, or younger kids with a more advanced understanding of robotics, Michael Ross leads longer-term, more conceptual projects. Currently, he is leading the assembly of a robotic dinosaur.

Thursday he explained that building a robotic arm takes an understanding of anatomical ligaments and joints.

"See, the hand has to move like this in order to grasp something," he said to 8-year-old Aaron Johnson.

The robotics club is currently known as Robotics 101, but will change its name to STEAM Makers, which stands fro Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math.

"It's so that we can be more flexible with what we teach and make available to the kids," Perez said. "We don't make a lot of rules for the kids, we just want them to have a good time and learn something in the process."

To participate

Robotics 101 will soon be changing its name to STEAM Makers for kids over 11 years old and Little Makers for kids ages 5 to 11. The clubs meet every Thursday from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Clearview Library. The robotics club program is free but participants must register to assure enough supplies will be provided. Registration can be completed by clicking on the event at the Clearview Library calendar page http://clearviewlibrary.org/calendar/.

In Severance?

A robotics program is offered to young Severance tinkers every Monday afternoon from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Rangeview Elementary’s library. This event is for ages 8 and up, though children under 8 can register with a parent attending. Registration for this event can also be completed by clicking on the event at the Clearview Library calendar page http://clearviewlibrary.org/calendar/.