Kids assemble a Lego robotics kit during a recent program at R.T. Jones Library in Canton. Gilmer teens will have the chance to try their hand at designing and building robots during a Feb. 15 event at the local public library.

Robotics for teens new at library

Kids and teens ages 9 to 16 can try their hands at building and programming Lego robots from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, at the Gilmer County Library.

Speaking of how event participants can combine the pieces in robotics kits with their own innovation, Angela Glowcheski, Sequoyah Regional Library System public services director, said it is a “fun and unique” experience “watching something go from a mess to completion.”

She also admitted kids seem to have an innate understanding of how to build a robot. Laughing, she said it took herself and a co-worker several hours to assemble one based on the directions that came with the box. Conversely, the children who participated at a recent robotics program at the R.T. Jones library branch used their creativity to make their own designs from scratch in short order.

“It’s neat to watch,” said Glowcheski. “Put kids in a room with (the kits), and they know what to do.”

After constructing their robots, the kids proceeded to send them through obstacle courses, make their creations dance and conduct races. 

The robots are bluetooth operated and can be controlled by way of a tablet. They can be equipped with wheels, rollers and even a catapult tool. 

The Sequoyah Regional Library System, of which the local branch is a part, recently purchased eight of the Lego robotics kits through a $10,000 grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Georgia Public Library Service under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.

“We knew our Lego Clubs (at each library branch) were successful and wanted to add to that,” said Glowcheski.

She also observed some schools in north Georgia utilize Lego robotics as part of their STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) initiatives. 

“We’re looking for a way to connect with what’s happening in the school system,” she said.

Glowcheski hopes to offer robotics programs at each of the library system’s branches on an ongoing basis. 

She said the robot building sessions “offer families a great time to have an end goal ... and build something from scratch.”

A total of 12 kids slots are available at the Feb. 15 event. To register, call the local public library at 706-635-4528 or stop by the circulation desk at the Gilmer County Library facility located at 268 Calvin Jackson Drive in Ellijay beside Mountain View Elementary.

 

Check out invention kits

The library system’s recent grant is also helping science come to life for area kids through 15 MaKey MaKey invention kits, which transform anything from pieces of aluminum foil to bananas to play dough into a computer key.

The Gilmer County Library currently has a MaKey MaKey station set up for visitors to experience.

“Come by and tinker and play,” encouraged Gilmer branch manager Heath Lee, explaining how the kits work in tandem with websites to allow the user to play a variety of games, including Whack a Mole and Tetris, while using nonconventional objects as computer keys. 

Glowcheski also observed the kits can be checked out by library patrons. 

“You can take one home and experience that STEAM technology with your family,” she said.

Times Courier

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