My son builds robots

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    As I promised in an earlier post, here is the Trackbot my 10-year-old built in Tracy Reeve’s Line Tracking Robot class at Harford Community College this summer. It was a 4-day class and my son says it took him only the first two days to build the robot from a kit. The rest of the time, Reeve helped them figure out how to make the robots follow black lines they drew on white poster board. Now my son wants to get more kits and spend his free time building robots. Reeve suggested shopping around online to find good prices on the robots. But he also cautioned that sometimes they aren’t manufactured well enough to work as promised and you have to make adjustments. He offered the kids a lot of good problem-solving skills. And, he sets up a little graduation ceremony at the end where each student shakes his hand and gets a certificate. He did a really nice job showing the kids how to conduct themselves like grown ups. I was pleased to see at least one girl in the class. Her mom said she was nervous about being the only girl, but she stuck it out. She had the coolest track drawn for her Trackbot. It was a figure 8 with the cross in the middle missing. She figured out that the robot didn’t need the lines to intersect in order to follow the track. Reeve offers this class again on Saturdays in the fall along with the very popular Lego Robotics Invention class (you have to sign up early to get a spot in this one), the Binary Mobile Robot (my son wants to do this one next) and the Build a Robotic Arm class. Check out the latest Harford Community College Noncredit Class Schedule for details.

    A side benefit to this robot building is that my son can now fix things around the house. This morning he fixed my husband’s automatic key fob car door opener. He also figured out that the car has an alarm. Who knew?