It has been a whirlwind of fun at Safe Haven this summer. Each week brings with it new surprises and experiences, from horseback riding and archery to dodgeball and triathlon camp. Our awesome kids have even spent a week on a farm, immersed in the outdoors.
However, this past week, many kids found themselves in a new, challenging environment unlike any other camp they had experienced before: the STEAM Society camp at Lipscomb University.
Three of our campers attended the Videography camp and were taking charge of making videos, brainstorming ideas, planning plot lines, and directing the other actors. The twins created a, “creepy” scary video about a set of twins who haunt the Lipscomb grounds, preying on unsuspecting students. The video packed a punch, as ominous music and video effects brought the haunting sisters to life. Ben, one of the summer interns helping with pickup, saw the video, and hasn’t slept soundly since.
The Robotics team took their video game/electronics prowess and artfully translated it to robot design to construct controllable robots. Their project-load was heavy in the buildup to the final robot competition: the students made catapults capable of launching items clear across rooms, vessels that prevented eggs from cracking when dropped from high heights, and aerodynamic bridges that held many kilograms.
For Friday’s competition the dream team and spent the week testing and putting together their robot, “Dontez Jr.” a powerhouse bot which they used to spin and to guide the robots to pick up and stack as many colored cubes as possible in 5 minutes!
The dream team acted like Peter Laviolette (Predators coach), managing Dontez Jr. to the second-highest blocks stacked. Their showing earning them a spot in the final matchup with the best performing robot in the class.
The dream team decided that Dontez should be at the helm of the robot for the final showdown. Their opponent sent their best driver to the line, a four foot tall general with scampering fingers and a furrowed brow. The whistle blew, and the robots lurched forward, twisting and turning, battling for the blocks. Dontez Jr. was at its peak efficiency, picking up and dropping blocks, positioning as well as possible. In the end, however, it was not quite enough. The opposing team narrowly defeated Dontez Jr., but, like Nashville’s Predators, it was a moment where the entire audience relished in the amazing run of the little bot.
Since the camp, the kids have been clamoring for a robotics kit for use at Safe Haven, so they can recreate the battles from the camp. The activities at the STEAM camp taught engineering skills, design, and creative thinking, but, even more so, they ignited a passion among the Safe Haven kids. We want to thank the STEAM Society for lighting this fire, and they will probably be among the first beneficiaries when the Safe Haven robotics department designs its human assistant droid. Be on the lookout; at this pace, it’s coming soon.