SMART Camp, or Science, Math, And Robotics Technology Camp, is LASA Robotics’ award-winning STEM education outreach program. During a SMART Camp, elementary and middle school students work in pairs under the guidance of a team member and design, build, and program their own robots using LEGO Mindstorms NXT kits. These camps are designed to give the campers a hands-on experience with challenge setting and problem solving. SMART Camps also urge students to learn to work together as a team and compromise, skills that will help them in the future.
The idea of a robotics camp for children began with team member Allen Smith, who initially designed the camps to fulfill his Eagle Scout project requirements. The idea, however, was quickly incorporated into the team as a whole. The camps started small, with only a few paid camps a year held at LASA as a fundraiser, working with LEGO RCX kits and available school computers. In 2009, LASA caught the attention of 3M with its work, extending STEM education throughout Austin. In return for a $5000 grant, LASA agreed to bring the camps, cost-free, to a specified number of under-represented students over the course of a year. This goal was met, and with financial backing LASA was able to purchase new LEGO NXT kits and 12 laptops, that are now used to run mobile SMART camps.
The team now primarily partners with elementary schools in under served communities to host SMART Camps at no cost to participants. In addition, the team also hosts camps at community centers and their school. Additional beginner and advanced SMART Camps to paying participants. LASA is very proud of this program as we continue to make a difference in the community.
To see what a SMART Camp is like, click to watch this video of our April 2011 Pflugerville SMART Camp.
Summer 2013 SMART Camps
Saturday, June 22
Saturday, August 10