The very first BOM Summer Camp, which took place 24 – 28 August 2015, was a huge success! We’re still not quite sure if the kids had more fun or we did…
Delivered in partnership with F A M A L A M and facilitated by an awesome crew of creative technologists, Summer Camp was a week of tinkering and robot-making, inspiring creativity through the key STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths).
Thirteen 7-11 year olds took part in structured activities ranging from art, design, coding, electronics, robotics and stop motion animation. Each child took away their own creation including their very own CrumbleBot kit wich we expect will probably be hacked into something completely different this time next year!
Here’s a little run-down of our week…
Day #1: The first day was spent learning about character development, with some get-to-know-you and your character activities. Children thought of a character, and developed their back story. Who are they? Where did they come from? What are they like, and why are they like that?
A child’s imagination is a powerful tool, and characters ranged from a mischievous Mexican taco to a shape-shifting evil gingerbread. A particularly evil, death-defying swarm of bots appeared to emerge from our female counterparts…
Now no Summer Camp would be complete without knee-dropping, ninja-chopping robot games. These began on Day 1 and continued throughout the week wih increasing hysteria.
Day #2: Once we had our characters designed, it was time to turn them 3D. The kids made cardboard polyhedron nets from clever templates designed by Liam Blunden and Ben Neal, building prototype bodies from simple shapes and thinking through the moveable necessities and components needed to make their creatures come to life (Dave and Robot Ben’s brains came in handy here).
Each child was initially given a different CrumbleBot kit with some componets, and then set about designing the circuits needed to programme their bots. Robot Ben was on hand to help customise and modify the crazy creatures to meet the expectations of our clever crew. Facilitators Omar, Lorna and Mark helped out with those fiddly crocodile clips!
Day #3: Once our wires and computer brains were all connected up as they should be, it was on to coding using Scratch to programme the movements and actions to command. The kids loved this bit especially, and its something we’ll certainly be spending extra time on next year… We were also doing some robot reconstructive surgery at this point, adapting to the evolving ambitions of our crew and starting to think about our robots environment and the things we’d need to create these (trips to Birmingham’s Indoor Markets gave us some great inspiration!).
Day #4: Once we had our robots designed and functioning it was time to put to test their acting abilities! The young-makers crafted custom-made worlds for their characters to inhabit and set about writing storyboards for the plot of their movies, organising themselves into groups and coming up with collaborative stories from the depths of their unstoppable imaginations!
Day #5: The final day was spent on set creating stop motion animations in groups, yet more tinkering with surplus electronics, a MakeyMakey band, self-evaluation via video blogs and a show and tell. All topped off with ‘ROBOT_DISCO_FASHION_SHOW_AWESOME‘, whch pretty much sums up the immense fun that was had by all.
Here are the animations and our robot characters!
It was lovely to be joined by several parents who co-worked upstairs on the mezz alongside the BOM Fellows throughout the week and who became part of BOM’s extended family.
We’ve heard that the robots have since found their way from BOM to homes and into schools, where they’ve *wowed* teachers and friends! (Go CrumbleBots GO! But please remember to be good…)
A special thank you to Amy Martin (BOM Fellow and founder of F A M A L A M ) and creative technologists Ben Neal (director of Psicon Lab), David Perry, Benjamin Pinnock and Liam Blunden (from 8-Bit Pirates). Also thanks to our amazing facilitators Lorna Mary-Webb, Mark Hamblett and Omar Khan (Murdoch Ramone Media).
A big shout out and thank you to our funders Arts Council England and Digital Birmingham for subsidising this proramme and making Summer Camp possible.
And of course, our 13 brilliant recruits. We miss each and every one of you and can’t wait to see you all again soon.