Tinker, hack, and invent with The Robot Garage

Photo via The Robot Garage Facebook page.

Photo via The Robot Garage Facebook page.

robotgaragelogoWe’ve got a lot going on this weekend for our June installment of Tinker, Hack, Invent Saturday! Joining our makers in just a few days is The Robot Garage, a year-round facility for LEGO and robotics enthusiasts in Birmingham. The Robot Garage offers classes, camps, scouting programs, field trips, birthday parties, drop-in builds and their own shop.

We asked The Robot Garage’s Sarah Jacobs a few questions about this weekend’s program.

What will you be doing during this week’s Tinker, Hack, Invent Saturday?
Using LEGO Mindstorms robots, The Robot Garage will be helping visitors to either build robots to compete in a Sumo battle or to just drive robots to compete in the battle.

What are some of the favorite making activities at Robot Garage?
We love to build at The Robot Garage. On any given day, you might find a staff person working on a prototype of a LEGO castle for a camp, a bubbling LEGO moat for that castle, a group of first-graders building and programming robots for the first time, or a group of middle school advanced roboticists perfecting bots to complete a number of specific challenges. During the summer, our drop-in workshop is open six days a week and there you might find a group of friends building a giant bug out of ZomeTools, a parent and child building crowns out of LaQ, which is a great new building system from Japan.

Photo via The Robot Garage Facebook page.

Photo via The Robot Garage Facebook page.

What other projects is Robot Garage working on these days?
We are definitely getting ready for summer camps. We have seven weeks of LEGO and robotics camps coming up and the kids create an enormous LEGO city almost every week, so there’s a lot of planning that goes into that – what is the scale of the city, battery power or robotics to operate the elevator in the town hall, can third-graders make the clock in the clock tower operational and if so, how?

We are also working on our school programs so that our workshops are aligned with not only state benchmarks but the new national science standards come fall. There’s a great interest in exposing kids to engineering and robotics as part of a S.T.E.M. literacy initiative nation-wide. Because this is such a new topic for many classrooms, The Robot Garage is partnering with a number of schools to provide fun, hands-on activities that enable kids of all ages to explore topics such as force and motion, energy, etc.

What’s one tool guests at Robot Garage can’t live without?
Wow. Good question. We use so many different materials but we’d have to say brains and hands are the tools we couldn’t live without at The Robot Garage. Our tagline is “Imagine, Design, and Build,” and we spend a lot of time creating opportunities for people to step outside of their daily schedules to create…to think up an idea, plan what materials, colors, scale will be used, and then to actually build that idea in a structurally sound 3D way.

Got LEGO on the brain after reading all the fun in store for this Saturday with The Robot Garage? Check out these LEGO artifacts from the collections of The Henry Ford.

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