Extracurricular robotics program canna take no more
October 5, 2023
An after school program for local youth has become so popular that Wahkiakum County 4-H is looking for more volunteers.
The club, Robo Rascals, is for kids who have an interest in robotics and engineering, and a desire to continue those activities outside of regular school hours. Along with robots, programming, and engineering, the youth get hands-on experience with a 3-D printer, designing with TinkerCad, and whatever else their 4-H leader, Jessica Vik, can dream up.
Unfortunately Vik has had to turn some students away.
"More than 20 would be too much," she said.
That's why the local 4-H office is hoping to find a volunteer, or volunteers, that might be willing to start a similar program for this bounty of youngsters. If the volunteer has experience, that's great, but it might be enough to have a natural curiosity and a willingness to do a simplified version of what Vik is doing with her kids, and learn along the way.
Robo Rascal projects include using the 3-D printer to create the items they designed in TinkerCad. This year, students made cookie cutters, and a little money besides, when the cookie cutters were sold at the Wahkiakum County Fair's Market Sale, along with homemade robots they also fabricated. Activities include robot building and engineering problem solving. One exercise had kids creating a form out of a sheet of paper and paperclips, and competing to see who could pile the most books on top. On another day, they built trebuchets out of paint sticks.
They also go on field trips. They've been to the Burkhalter Farm to see how the dairy's robots work, and to the Cathlamet Fire Hall where they observed the automated CPR machine and how in one particular fire truck, an operator can move a hose and spray water with the use of a joy stick from inside the cab.
Because 4-H also focuses on community service, the club not only helped the Puget Island Fire Hall prepare the ground for some landscaping, they did some planting as well. The club members helped with summer robotics at the library, assisting kids who didn't have much experience to build robots.
For more information on how to volunteer, contact the Wahkiakum WSU Extension Office at (360) 795-3278.