Summertime Learning at theCO

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When school lets out at the end of May, most kids head to the pool, play outside, and visit the beach with their families. But some parents may want more educational activities for their kids during the summer. Luckily for the Jackson community, theCO offers workshops and summer camps for kids with technological abilities to develop their skills and learn about robotics, microcomputers, and more.

Robotics Summer Camp runs from June 13-15 and is hosted for the second year at theCO by Shelli Brasher, a former classroom teacher and the current Regional Support Manager for Robotics Education & Competition Foundation. Students will have the opportunity to work with VEX Robotics kits to design and assemble their own robot, which they will code using a block-based coding language. This language of code is best for younger kids as it is simpler and does not require advanced typing skills. The students will then compete with their robot in interactive games and challenges.

theCO is home to the Jackson Area Robotics League and also hosts the CO:bots group on Thursdays at 5:00 P.M., a meetup for anyone who is interested in robotics. CO:bots has met for two years, and both years theCO has had students advanced to the World level of the VEX competition circuit. Activities like theCO’s Robotics Summer Camp are a good way to expose kids to technology and get their foot in the door for competitive robotics.

Raspberry Pi Summer Camp, running June 20-22, will be instructed by Molly Plyler, Educational Outreach Coordinator at theCO. In addition to having her master's degree in education, Plyler is a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator as determined by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. She has conducted STEM workshops across Tennessee teaching middle and high school students and teachers about Raspberry Pi microcomputers. Students will code in Python to complete challenges like making LED lights blink and digitally composing music. They will also have the chance to work with environmental sensors that measure temperature and humidity, which could be used in a science laboratory.

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Ben Lawrence is an instructor of industrial technology at Jackson State Community College. He holds degrees in biology and electrical engineering while currently working on a master’s degree in engineering technology. Lawrence is also the instructor for theCO’s workshop on July 21: Building Electronic Games. This workshop is targeted for students ages fifteen and up and is a great activity for parents to join in on. Ben will teach the group how to build an electronic “Simon Says” game and solder pieces together, and at the end of the day, students will get to take their creations home.

theCO is a great resource for continued learning during the summer for students and family, and we hope you will join us!