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Middle Schoolers tap into creativity at Maker Camp

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Maker Camp is a four-day camp hosted by University Libraries for students age 10-14. The mission of the camp is to get young students engaged in hands-on, creative collaboration. The campers were challenged with the task of building an arcade game from scrap materials like cardboard, pencils, bottle caps, etc., with the help of modern technology such as 3D printers, laser cutters, circuitry and more. 

Maker Camp is a week long event where we invite middle schoolers to come create things out of cardboard, come laser-cut, 3D print, build circuits, code, all towards a specific objective. This year's objective is to make an arcade game out of cardboard. I am on team Flaming Hot Ice Pops. It is called Defend Icepoppia. That's what it's called. So basically it's this big building and it's a rocket, and inside of the top part, it's a dome. There's a city inside and there's aliens that are trying to get inside. So you have to shoot down the aliens. It's called Space Marbles. So basically you get this, you put a marble in the shooter, then you shoot the ball. And then the marble goes and you have to tilt the game to get the marble to move through the houses and cities and stuff. This age group is sort of the sweet spot for a camp like this because they still have that really strong play to learn mindset that we really instill in kids in pre-K and elementary school. But they have the ability to really get into the things like the coding and the circuitry and the 3D design and use some of these more advanced techniques to make these amazing visions come to life. These kids are from our community, their parents are from our community. So when they go home and they tell her parents, I got to do this thing and they said we can come back and do it later if we want. We could come 3D-print things later. And that lets people know that there's space and resources available here on campus that aren't just for our students and faculty and staff. They're for our Blacksburg community, our Virginia community.