Grades 3-6. Offered as 1 to 1.5 hour sessions in week long summer camps or after school and weekend workshops. In-person only.
Using basic materials or LEGOs, students will be given a variety of challenges and then design and build solutions for them. The challenges may be structural, functional or simply artistic, but the focus will be on coming up with original ideas, discovery and aesthetics, as well as solving the problem given by the challenge. Working alone, in pairs or as a group, students will be encouraged to let their curiosity and imagination lead them to create innovative designs for each challenge.
Grades 4-7 or by permission. 1-day workshops, or 1 to 2 hour sessions in multi-day classes and week long summer camps. In-person or Online.
Tinkercad is a great way for students interested in 3D modeling and design to get a feel for what working in a 3D environment is like! Tinkercad is a free, introductory educational software created by engineering software company Autodesk. Tinkercad runs in your browser so it requires no software download and allows you to create an account and save your projects. Students will learn how to create, dimension, combine, and customize pre-generated and custom drawn geometric shapes to create basic models, parts, and inventions. Tinkercad has many other fun uses like electronics and “brick building.” Tinkercad is also the perfect start for moving up to Autodesk Fusion 360, which is our choice for teaching higher levels of 3D modeling, product design, mechanical design and making prototypes. Each student can choose one suitable model to be printed by Robotics And Beyond and picked up in New Milford or mailed to the home.
- Computer access (Windows, Mac, or Chromebook all work!)
- Access to Google Chrome (other browsers may work but Chrome is what we base our classes on, so certain aspects may differ on Safari, Firefox, Edge, etc.)
- An Autodesk Tinkercad account (a tutorial for making the account will be sent to parents before classes begin)
Grades 3-9. 1-day workshops, or 1 to 2 hour sessions in multi-day classes and week long summer camps. In-person or Online.
Our "Programming in Scratch" topic serves students who want to begin learning to code and also those wanting to learn fundamentals of game development and animation for games.
Beginners (Level 1): No keyboard skills necessary! Scratch is a “drag and drop” programming language developed at MIT. It is free and easy to use with no risk to a home computer as it is done completely online. Scratch is excellent for learning all of the fundamental concepts of programming in any language and suitable for very young as well as older students. Scratch can be used to create very complex programs for games and simulations in many subjects like physics, math, computers, and engineering. Students will learn how to begin and save projects, and create simple programs and games like Maze and Pong. Students will learn how to find interesting projects online, see the actual code, and use and change the code to create their own games or animations.
Intermediate and advanced (Level 2): Learn more skills and fundamentals of coding while creating more difficult games and animations. Techniques include gravity, momentum and switches. Advanced coding skills and concepts to be learned include lists, variables, operators, procedures, conditionals, and loops, and learning to debug problems in their code.
Students must create a Scratch account at home before the class or provide an email address that can be used to create an account during the first class.
Grades 4-9. 1-day workshops, or 1 to 2 hour sessions in multi-day classes and week long summer camps. In-person or Online.
Explore true artistic graphic design, in 2-dimensions, with the free, open-source software FireAlpaca, and learn to create animations of your work. Students will create their own account and can continue using the software year-round. Student projects from summer camps will be stored as a video on our YouTube channel. FireAlpaca is an open-source graphic art alternative to Photoshop and has the added benefit of animation. This is a great way to start learning about graphic art software and animation concepts and skills in general like layering, textures, color palettes and much more. This topic provides a great basis for learning about more capable animation software in our other camp topics like Krita and Pro-Create.
- The only requirement is an interest in graphic art and creating your own, original art and animations.
- Keyboard (typing) ability is needed only for saving and opening design files.
- Installation of Fire Alpaca on the student’s home computer is required. The software is safe to download and use. Instructions will be provided for downloading and installing the software if needed.
Grades 3-8. 1-day workshops, or multi-day classes and week long summer camp, 2 hours/class. In-person only.
Build a robot and learn fundamentals of programming and robotics engineering with LEGO’s programmable NXT or EV3 robotics system of controller, motors, sensors and Mindstorms software. The use of NXT or EV3 system will depend on the student’s age and experience. Students will work in pairs but exceptions may be allowed to work alone. Once students accomplish required tasks and simpler challenges, they can choose from higher level challenges or build a more complex robot of their own design or one provided by the instructors. The final class will include robot battles within a 4 foot arena ring where students test mechanical design and programming strategies against each other.
Grades 9-12 or by permission. 1-day workshops, or 1 to 2 hour sessions in multi-day classes and week long summer camps. In-person or Online.
This topic provides a good introduction to Unity and its use for game development and the application of the programming language C# to a specific project. New students will learn fundamentals of the software platform tools and libraries and each build their own level of one group game. Experienced students will work on their own complete game. Students will download the Unity development software to take part in this class.
This class will not teach coding fundamentals (see “Requirements” below).
The benefit of Unity: Unity is a development platform for creating graphics and animation in 2D, 3D, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). It has very wide use in industry for creating video games, films and animation for many applications. Because working in Unity involves the use of code libraries written in the language C#, it also provides a great learning path to higher levels of coding in general. Unity has a very large user base and is well supported with tutorials and forums that provide great sources of information and help.
- A personal interest in game design and learning about an industrial-strength game development platform.
- The class is focused on learning to use the software platform Unity and applying C# to the subject of game development. The class does not have time to teach coding fundamentals. Therefore a high comfort level with at least one programming language is necessary to be allowed to join the class. C# is ideal, Java and any other C-based language are the next most relevant languages. Strong ability in Python or Java Script is also acceptable.
- Installation of the free Unity development software is required.
Grades 5-10 or by permission. 1-day workshops, or 1 to 2 hour sessions in multi-day classes and week long summer camps. In-person or Online.
Students will learn to create basic parts, and learn how their designs are fabricated through 3D printing. Students will learn to work with sketches, geometries, and 3d shapes. Fusion 360 is Autodesk’s flagship mechanical design software, with integrated design, machining, rendering, and blueprinting software all in one, cloud enabled package. Fusion 360 offers a free 3-year license to students and is our best recommendation for exploring and growing skills in 3D modeling. We hope to allow each student to choose one model to be printed by Robotics And Beyond and picked up in New Milford or mailed to the home. This is not certain and will depend on the availability of our 3D printer for the camp or class.
- Experience with Robotics And Beyond CAD 1 class using Tinkercad. Experience with any 3D modeling software such as Sketchup or Blender is also adequate but Tinkercad will allow the easiest transition to Fusion 360.
- An Autodesk Fusion 360 account: (We will send you a tutorial on how to get an account with autodesk)
- A suitable computer: Either a PC or MAC with at least 4GB RAM or preferably 8GB. Chromebooks will not work with Fusion 360. A dedicated graphics card is not necessary. If your computer runs any application or game with graphics like Minecraft, Blender or Sketchup then it should work well with Fusion 360. Computers purchased after 2014 will generally be fine.
- An installation of Fusion 360: We will send a tutorial on installing Fusion 360, which is free for students and hobbyists alike. You will get a free three year license allowing your student to continue using Fusion beyond our classroom.
- Internet Access: Fusion 360 does not rely on a browser but it needs online access to Autodesk’s cloud resources.
Grades 2-6. 1-day workshops, or 1 to 2 hour sessions in multi-day classes and week long summer camp. In-person or Online.
Anyone can get started in learning to code! Students in our programs will discover the fun of coding and learn to use great tools on their own. This is your child’s opportunity to discover what coding is all about. Students can create their own online Code.org accounts or use one that their school may have provided. No downloads involved, just internet. We use laptops for this topic but the tools and activities used can be accessed anywhere from any computer or device. Students will leave the workshop or classes able to continue working in Code.org, saving their progress and proceed at their own pace as far as they want to go. These programs will prepare students to continue on their own to higher level coding classes with Code.org or other platforms, and pursue coding in any language.
Student accounts: We highly encourage students to have their own account with code.org so they can enjoy seeing their progress and use the many other benefits of an account. Many students already have an account created through their school. See below for how to create an account. Please bring login information for your child's code.org account. If you cannot bring access to an account, we will provide one but it can't be used at home.
Here is the sign-in/create account page: https://studio.code.org/users/sign_in
Here are ways to have an account, starting from the link above.
- any Google gmail account or public or private school email account will already give you access to a code.org account.
- use Facebook or a Microsoft account
- create an account using any private email account from any email provider.
- Bring an email account that we can use to create the account for you.
Computers for the class: Any computer or Chromebook with internet access will work for Code.org and any other online coding resources. We encourage students to bring their own computer just so they get comfortable and can continue coding at home. We will provide a computer for any student needing one.
For students in grades 7 - 12 or by permission. Offered as 1-day workshops. In-person only.
This workshop will be an easy introduction to some basic concepts of A-I and machine learning, beginning with TensorFlow, a free resource for learning about and using machine learning to solve problems. We plan to hold a number of workshops in A-I and ML and create an interest group that can meet in-person and online, collaborate on competitions such as Kaggle and on personal projects, and explore these fields in general. We will often use resources from EDX and SKLearn, and TensorFlow.