TRIO Upward Bound students at North Lake College recently completed their annual 6-week Summer Enrichment program, which provides high school students with a college experience by learning a variety of fun academic activities. The program highlights include a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Day with Lockheed Martin, and programming robots to draw at a simulation based on NLC’s beloved semesterly event, Chalk It Up.
The program kicked off the summer by hosting a STEM Day with Lockheed Martin at the Central Campus to showcase STEM careers in the fields of engineering, computer programming and physics. Stomp rockets, wind turbine testers, virtual reality (VR) and a F-35 Flight Simulator were among the group of stations set up for students to learn the functions of how each operate.
Some stations required precise calculations in order to be tested successfully, which provided students with an opportunity to think strategically. TRIO Upward Bound students from Richland and Eastfield College were also in attendance for the event.
Is it impossible for robots to draw? The answer is no! NLC’s TRIO Upward Bound students had already programmed robots to dance by learning how to control them by code.
NLC Instructors George Driscoll and Sheetal Joshi worked with the students daily during the course of the program to teach them how to assemble and program small robots. In addition, the students were provided with a brief introduction to 3D modeling and printing.
“For the students in the program, we figuratively taught them how to swim by throwing them in the deep end of the pool,” explained Professor Driscoll, when asked about his approach in teaching the summer students. “My job was to get students engaged in problem solving and collaborating together while having fun and thinking outside of the box.”
Inspired by NLC art faculty, the math and science instructors for the summer program arranged students to control their robots to perform their version of the college’s Chalk It Up event. Instead of students drawing artwork with chalk themselves, the artwork was drawn by robots. Chalk was attached to the robots, which was controlled by the students who had to use both left and right brain coordinator in order to think strategically and creatively.