Students use the LEGO MINDSTORMS coding program to give the robots different tasks.

Mathnasium of Brandon is usually a space reserved exclusively for math tutoring, but this summer, students had the opportunity to enter a world of robotics and coding.

These activities were part of a robotics camp that took place Monday through Thursday multiple times this summer. It was attended by elementary and middle school-aged kids who were able to expand skills like teamwork and problem-solving through working together on projects.

Although summer is a time for a break from school, that does not mean it has to be a break from learning. There are many benefits to keeping students’ brains active year-round.

β€œIt is not necessarily what they are learning, it’s that they are going through the process of learning. The brain needs to be exercised, just like any other muscle,” said Ian Allen, a longtime employee of Mathnasium and the director of the camp.

For each camp, the students built and coded a different LEGO MINDSTORMS robot. This allowed kids to attend more than one camp and have a new experience each time. The robots varied from remote-controlled cars to rovers and could be coded to the extent of the kids’ imaginations. This included abilities such as following a line of tape on the floor or defending itself with (fake) lasers.

Last summer, Mathnasium of Brandon hosted a STEM camp, in which each day focused on a different topic: science, technology, engineering or math. This summer combined all of those topics into this activity. Engineering and science were necessary to build the robots in a way that would allow them to perform the activities the students wanted to code, and the coding itself required technology and math to make the robot carry out a specific task.

For some weeks of the camp, Mathnasium partnered with AR Workshops, which is right next door. A portion of the time was spent doing woodworking projects in the workshop, such as making a chessboard.

During the school year, Mathnasium offers math tutoring for elementary through high school-aged students. Instructors are equipped to help with any topic, as well as SAT and ACT prep.

To find out more about Mathnasium programs, call 655-6284 or visit at 1048 Bloomingdale Ave. To learn more about the crafts and services offered at AR Workshops, call 775-7109.