BrightStart Robotics is holding free robotics and computing workshops at the Tredyfferin public library to help encourage young children to be excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Led by 17-year-old fraternal twin sisters, Hannah and Rachael Tipperman, BrightStart Robotics workshops are specifically designed for parents and children from kindergarten to third grade. The hands on workshops are fun and engaging; kids get to build their own robot and program it to perform missions like mazes and drawing!
Hannah Tipperman noted, “Two years ago, we started a non-profit 501c3 organization, Robot Springboard, to encourage communities to develop programs in robotics and computing for middle school children. We’ve held weeklong robotics camps in Homer Alaska and in Philadelphia with Drexel University.”
Rachael Tipperman added “BrightStart Robotics grew out of our work with technology camps for middle school children. Often, parents would say ‘we wish you had something like this for our younger children’. We also realized through many conversations with the parents of our participants that many of them wanted to get their children more involved in STEM activities, but because they themselves did not have a technical background there were significant barriers for them to become involved. We’re hoping that by involving parents along with their children in workshops, these barriers will be overcome and families will be able to support and encourage further STEM activities for their children.”
During the workshops each team of one parent and one child is given their own laptop and Lego Mindstorms robotics kit to program and build their robot. Children learn how to download programs to the robot, how to use sensors to control actions, and basic programming concepts. Post workshop surveys universally praise the fun and engaging style of the program as well as the material covered.
“It’s been incredibly rewarding to have the workshops be so well received.” said Hannah, “We’re actually oversubscribed and are now in the process of training additional workshop leaders.”
Rachael Tipperman added, “Almost all of our participants have wanted to pursue further work in robotics and computing following their workshop experience. To us that’s the greatest compliment of all – it’s the reason we started Robot Springboard and BrightStart Robotics in the first place!”
Further information on the robotics programs offered can be found at www.robotpsringboard.org and www.brightstartrobotics.org. Sign up for workshops can be done through the Tredyfferin library website at: http://www.tredyffrinlibraries.org/tkids.aspA BrightStart Robotics session will be held at the Tredyffrin Library at 2 p.m. Sunday. Contact the library at 610-688-7092 for information.