- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

GARNER, Iowa (AP) - A camp in northern Iowa is helping children develop their programming skills by letting them build a robot and command it to perform certain tasks.

Reece Smith, who’s a freshman in high school, helped show the participants on Tuesday in Garner how to program a robot to move forward, backward and complete a turn on a special mat, the Mason City Globe Gazette (https://bit.ly/1MO3IpB ) reported. Smith said he started learning about robotics in the sixth grade.

“When I started, I entered blind,” he said. “There were a few who helped me, so I wanted to give back to the younger kids.”

Karlee Young listened closely to Smith’s instructions as she helped program her group’s robot. She said she was inspired to join a robotics club after seeing her brother participate.

“I like programming and using technology,” she said. “I think the camp will be helpful for me in the future because I want to keep working with robots.”

In another corner of the Garner Education Center classroom, Cole Monson sifted through wheels, cords and other building blocks as he constructed a robot, which he said only took him a half hour to build.

The Hancock County Extension’s youth enrichment coordinator, Nikki Renner, said the camp helps prepare participants for the fall, when they tackle an annual challenge in competition. This year’s theme, “Trash Trek,” will involve using recycling to solve a problem, Renner said.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, https://www.globegazette.com/

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