Jackie Johnson enjoyed watching little engineers come up with some creative ideas for robots.
Andrews Chapel Baptist Church is hosting a robotics camp with Mop Top Shop, Inc. Based out of Raleigh, the program exposes children to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). In addition to locations throughout North Carolina, Mop Top has traveled to Washington, D.C. for the White House Easter Egg Roll, an event hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
The week-long session at the church was the camp’s first time coming to a Clinton location. Johnson, program founder, assisted children with through hands-on activities. The students created ideas for inventions to help society using construction paper and other craft items. During presentations, some of assistance involved helping sick people, putting out fires, home building and teaching math. While creating, students also gave their work a price.
Participant Grace Robinson had fun learning about different parts and making her invention called HCMR.
“It stands for Helpful Cleaning Maid Robot,” she said. “It cleans and it helps you with anything. If you you didn’t feel like cooking, it would cook for you.”
Johnson, a Garland native, participates in local parades and events with several mascots, including the leader Mop Top — The “Hip Hop” Scientist. She recently returned to Sampson County to educate children during the summer. The first week of the camp in Garland focused on matter. Students worked with slime, homemade Play-Doh, and homemade lava lamps.
“They got to experience the states of matter,” Johnson said. “They really enjoyed that.”
Lessons focused on different parts of the robot such as the ultrasonic sensor, a device that can measure distance by using sound waves. Some of the others included the axle, bream, tracks, wires and other functions. Later during the week, they will make the real robots.
“Those robots will move and those robots will be able to detect color,” Johnson said. “It will let them know if there’s an object in front of them. I want them to know what engineers use and how they actually prototype robots for use in the real world.”
Students Jayden Murphy, Shaiyana Brinson and Tyler Clyburn were fascinated about the camp and STEM. Murphy’s idea was called Pastorbot, which will preach if the pastor is sick or unable to be at church.
Participant Genesis Walker enjoyed the idea of making a house sitter bot and meeting new people.
“Science is really fun for me because you learn how everything works,” Genesis said.
Johnson said she would like for some of the students to become engineers. She hopes the camp exposed them to the possibility, if they never had the experience.
In the camp, students believe it’s essential for students to become hands-on. During the camp, the students made artbots using a motor inside a toothbrush, colored markers and paper cups. After completion, the robots will be able to draw for them. Later during the week, they will make the real robots.
Johnson expressed how robots are becoming more essential in society. One example was the automobile industry which uses technology for mass production. The students were given a homework assignment on the Henn-na Hotel in Japan, which is fully staffed by robots.
“Robots are going to replace a lot of jobs and we have to be prepared and educated, so that we don’t lose out,” Johnson said. “I want these kids to be competitive in the real world.”