- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - The sounds of sheep baaing and cats meowing could be heard from Heritage Farm Museum and Village on Tuesday afternoon, but the sounds weren’t coming from the petting zoo. They were being manufactured by students at the Heritage Arts and Bots Camp.

As part of the camp students in grades 4-6 were able to create their own robot using recycled materials and a Hummingbird Robotics Kit.

Eric Noble, 10, spent the afternoon crafting a sheep using a large plastic bottle.

“I just like to make things,” he said.

Using a computer program, Noble was able to make the sheep robot move, light up and even speak.

As Noble initiated the program the sheep’s eyes began to glow, its head started to spin and then it suddenly spoke.

The sheep said, “Hi, my name is Baxter. Baa.”

The camp is made possible through a partnership with the Marshall University June Harless Center for Rural Education, which provides teachers, computers, Hummingbird Robotics Kits and computer programming software for the robots.

Becky Crouch, education director at Heritage Farm, said she is amazed by all the 14 students have accomplished in just two days.

“This camp really gives the children an opportunity to be creative and inventive,” Crouch said. “They’re also learning how to problem solve and work together.”

Crouch said the week isn’t just about using technology of the future but of the past as well.

She said the students have learned about the six simple machines - the pulley, wheel, axle, incline plane, lever and screw - that make work easier on and off the farm.

On Tuesday, students also learned about print making by creating stamps and printing their own names.

“We really want these kids to learn that all of us should be making,” Crouch said. “Our ancestors survived because they were makers, and we may be making new things now but making is not new to the people of West Virginia.”

The Arts and Bots Camp runs through Thursday when the students will have the opportunity to showcase their creations to family and friends.

Last winter Heritage Farm unveiled the MakerSpace at Generations Hall promoting making to kids of all ages.

Located toward the back part of the farm, the MakerSpace offers a series of hands-on activities in partnership with the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum and the Benedum Foundation, which is funding six MakerSpace facilities in West Virginia.

Heritage Farm has also been recognized nationally for their efforts to support the maker movement. Earlier in June, they were invited to the White House for the National Week of Making kickoff event.


Information from: The Herald-Dispatch, https://www.herald-dispatch.com

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