Students code robots to learn STEAM

By Brady Talbert / Staff Writer

OAK MOUNTAIN – Mid-coding a robot, student Sydney Turner said “We can learn how to be an engineer” while participating in an interactive camp at Oak Mountain Elementary School, which was sponsored by Shelby County Community Education.

From July 9-13, not only students but robotic bugs roamed teacher Sara Askew’s classroom, who hosted a science, technology, engineering, art and math camp, also known as STEAM camp.

“Summer STEAM is important because it keeps students’ minds sharp. It encourages teamwork and healthy challenges,” Askew said. “Students are encouraged to explore, create, build, test and modify through fun activities,” such as creating homemade bath bombs, observing fireworks in a jar, tie dyeing towels, building car test tracks and coding robots, which they did Wednesday, July 11.

Students had two coding options: They would participate in “blue bot twister,” where they created a shape and made a bot follow an outline on a mat, or they could create a custom game. By drawing a topic, students made their robots find the corresponding topic on a grid, which resembled a tic-tac-toe board. “It helps them line up, and do things in a sequence,” while also helping students with problem solving, Askew said. She hopes her students were “pushed creatively and academically” at the weeklong camp, having a great time doing so.

The career paths students will be going into as adults “is not the world that I moved into when I was an adult,” Askew said, adding that the course prepares children for new jobs, especially those centering around technology, that will be created.

Askew is offering weekly fall enrichment classes held between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. for students fascinated. Those interested can email the teacher at saskew@shelbyed.org.