PITTSBURG — Have you ever wondered how to make a 3 dimensional model or perhaps how to program a robot made out of Legos?
People can ask children at the Adventures in Robotics and Constructing Your Future summer workshops because they have been at work, learning about building, problem solving, electro-mechanics, teamwork and much more.

PSU’s Department of Engineering Technology and the School of Construction have hosted the summer workshops for nearly two decades, providing children ages 9 to 14 with a summer camp or workshop which encourages them to “exercise the muscle between their ears,” said Randy Winzer, PSU Professor in the College of Technology.

Although there are many camps to go to in the summer — often physical wellness activities or music such as cheerleading, band or baseball — some children have an interest in topics like technology and construction, Winzer said. It’s also beneficial for the children to continue reading and problem solving, keeping them sharp for when school starts in the fall, Winzer added.


The summer workshops are running the week of July 8-12 and the week of July 15-19 at the Kansas Technology Center. Openings are available and walk-ins are welcome for the July 15-19 camp before 9 a.m. on Monday. People can visit www.pittstate.edu/air or email Winzer at wwinzer@pittstate.edu for more information.

The first week is considered introductory, with “level one” activities. The second week of workshops consists of level two activities for more of a challenge.

The workshops run with the help of several college and high school volunteers. Several volunteers went to the camp as children and came back to help, Winzer said, including his own children.

The Constructing Your Future workshop, led by Jim Otter, director and professor of the School of Construction, taught the children several aspects of construction — from safety to creating physical objects.

The workshop includes bridge-building, 3D building modeling, problem solving, GPS, and safety this week (Level 1) and 3D building modeling, pouring concrete, building walls, laying brick, and building a dog house next week (Level 2).
“They learned about safety, mixed and poured concrete,” Otter said. “They did the math and made an analysis. They also made a safety poster to look at everyday to remind them to make sure they stay safe.”

Next week children will construct a tool box and a bench. They will also learn about electrical and plumbing.

This week in the Adventures in Robotics workshop, led by Winzer, focused on teamwork through various activities including building Lego robots and running obstacle courses with them. Other activities include programming, electro-machines, brainstorming, and construction techniques this week (Level 1) and motorized and programmable LEGO Systems next week (Level 2).

The workshops started as an idea which bloomed into week long workshops to help educate children on the construction and technology fields and foster the children’s interest in these areas for their futures.
“We want everyone who participated to take something away from this [the workshops], even if its an idea [from socializing with other children],” Winzer said.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.

Stephanie Potter