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NYSP campers learn about science, math and technology through robotics workshop

What better way to introduce children to science, technology, engineering and math than through sports and exercise? During this summer’s WVU National Youth Sports Program, the Mountaineer Area RoboticS team, (MARS) stopped by to share their passion about competitive robotics and mental skills. 

Eleven MARS volunteers visited NYSP to promote interest in STEM education. They incorporated their knowledge about robotics in NYSP activities, engaging the campers through active learning. 

“At NYSP we assisted the children in making mini robots called brush bots,” Sharda Mohamed, MARS outreach and public relations mentor, said. “These robot crafts are built using a toothbrush head, small battery, small motor and connection wires to create an electrical circuit. This circuit creates a vibration that moves the mini robot across the table.” 

NYSP campers were mesmerized. Suncrest Middle School student Jannat Al-Shebeeb explained her experience. “It was fun. You could use your imagination and be creative. We learned how to build a circuit. I love math,” she said. Al-Shebeeb wants to be a doctor. 

MARS also showcased an FRC (FIRST Robotic Competition) robot used in competition at the World Robotics Competition in St Louis, MO. 

For Suncrest Middle School student Sofia Doretto, science is becoming a habit. “I’ve done this before. Every single time, it’s new experience. I’ve been to WVU Engineering camp and other one-day science activities,” she explained. 

Through outreach initiatives, team members become role models for younger students. “The power of youth leading STEM events, helping others, enjoying the work of creating something with a team and volunteering their time for others is incredible,” Mohamed added. 

During the robotics workshop, campers moved a robot around the floor of the WVU Shell Building while the high school students described parts of the machinery and what they did. 

To promote robotics and STEM, MARS travels the county and surrounding areas for outreach activities featuring demonstrations and hands-on experiences. Youth create small robots, while learning basics about design decisions and systems. During the year, the team travels to approximately 20 events around the state. 

NYSP supports youth sport and recreational activities, while providing campers with real-world experiences, such as learning the importance of reading and job responsibilities. The implementation of MARS’ robotics workshop gave the campers a way to learn about science, math and technology through additional hands-on activities. 

According to Mohamed, MARS strives to inspire youth in rural and underserved areas in West Virginia and around the world to pursue their creative and intellectual passions.
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