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.

“It 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.

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