Robots attack downtown Joliet at Kidzfest

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Robots attack downtown Joliet at Kidzfest

Published: August 10, 2012.

Again this year, Lewis University sponsored Joliet's annual Kidzfest, a free event aimed at entertaining and teaching area children. This year's event took place on Saturday, August 4, in downtown Joliet. Lewis hosted a mini-campus that featured booths from several academic departments including, for the seventh straight year, the Mathematics and Computer Science Department.

This year's Math / Computer Science booth featured programmable robots. Dr. Ray Klump and Brother Tom Dupre, FSC, with assistance from students Vanessa Basick and Nathaniel Jordan, helped kids play with and program robots such as The Finch, The Scribbler, and Lego Mindstorms. Programming The Finch gave students an opportunity to learn the Scratch and Alice programming environments. The children were able to control the movements of the robots around the "Robot Stage" and even made the Mindstorms kick a ball and back up from obstacles.

“The wonderful thing about having children work with robots is that they get an opportunity to learn how to write software. Writing software is nothing more than knowing how to arrange instructions in to implement tasks either in a step-by-step manner, a repetitive manner, or conditionally based on what's happening in the robot's environment. Kids learn these skills while having fun,” said Dr. Klump.

Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

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