Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Students Create Eco-Bots at 4-H Event in Davie

By Scott Fishman, Forum Publishing Group
November 2, 2012

What can you do with a battery, toothbrush, cellphone vibrator and some tape?
More than 100 students at the Broward County 4-H at the UF/IFAS Broward County Extension Office in Davie recently found out by using the materials to create mini eco-bots.
This was the fifth year the 4-H (Head, Heart, Hands, Health) celebrated National Youth Science Day with an experiment. During the Eco-Bot Challenge, children were robotics engineers for the day. The groups created their own eco-bots to simulate environmental cleanup using rice.

"It's nice to be able to reach out to them and have them get involved in it because it also pulls them into 4-H," said Erin Daniels, Broward 4-H secretary.

Among the volunteers was computer engineer George Hanna, who worked with the children on making the eco-bots operational.

"I like to be able to show kids about science, engineering, math and all these things using my background," he said. "One of the common issues was the robot would constantly tip over, so they have the chance to troubleshoot the issue and draw their own conclusion on how to fix that. It's a great activity."

Jordan Latson, sixth-grader at Silver Lakes Middle School in North Lauderdale, enjoyed the project.
"It was fun," he said. "I liked having to use the toothbrush and the other things … to make a working robot. I learned that there can be robots out there to help the environment."

Jordan Brown, a sixth-grader at Margate Middle School, worked with classmates Liam Fisher and Marco Cruzata.

"It was fun building a robot I haven't built before, especially with these types of parts," she said.
Cruzata said he was a little intimidated when he received instruction for the project, but he was happy with the results.

"I really thought it was going to be hard, but it was actually pretty simple and easy," he said.
According to its website, the 4-H program offers hands-on education and projects in such areas as marine ecology, photography, horticulture, food and nutrition, animals and computers.

For more information, call 954-357-5270 or visit http://www.broward.org/parks/extension and click on the 4-H link.

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