Laurens County Library & OFTC Partner to offer Teen Robotics Class

After receiving a mini-grant that allowed the Laurens County Library in Dublin to purchase six LEGO® MINDSTORMS® core education sets in the fall of 2015, Cristina Trotter, Head of Reference and The Heritage Center, decided to incorporate this new equipment into the library’s monthly teen tech programs and offer a robotics class.

The library offers programs for teens in the 6th to 12th grades to learn basic tech concepts and introduced robotics using the MINDSTORMS®.

“After celebrating a week-long robotics camp in July of 2016, I decided it was time to seek partners to help at the instructional level to bring in a new energy and a greater expertise,” Trotter shared.

“Our first choice for partners was OFTC. With the start of OFTC’s mechatronics program, the library robotic programs seem like an ideal opportunity for our two institutions to work together,” she added.

To help support those efforts the library applied for and received a second mini-grant which allowed them to purchase six LEGO® MINDSTORMS® expansion sets to add more options for learning activities.

LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Robotics Class

OFTC was happy to join the library in offering the teen robotics class shared the college’s Mechatronics instructor Lee Radney. “For me, it gives me an insight into the learning expectations of the generation that will soon be entering our college and workforce,” he said.

Every month Radney leads the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Robotics group in exercises that teach participants how various inputs (sensors) and outputs (motors) can be programmed to achieve various outcomes.

“This program utilizes virtually the same concepts found in industrial equipment utilized in our mechatronics program,” Radney said. “The participants learn how to examine inputs from and write outputs to the various devices found on the robot to ultimately accomplish a task.”

And while mechatronics might not be a field these students had previous experience in, the concepts they are learning like electrical, mechanical and critical thinking skills can help them in a variety of career paths.

Radney has enjoyed teaching the teens in this class and says their enthusiasm for the challenging tasks each month is something that would “excite any instructor.”

“These students are actively participating and are always up to any challenge set before them,” he said. “I would like to thank Ms. Trotter for giving us this opportunity. Additionally, the parents have been supportive and encouraging each month and it’s been a great experience thus far.”

“The library is very appreciative of OFTC supporting this partnership,” Trotter added. “And we look forward to finding other ways the library can partner with other OFTC departments, faculty and students.”

To learn more about OFTC’s Mechatronics Program, visit the college website. For more information about the Laurens County Library, visit the Library website.

Two young men working on their LEGO MINDSTORM in the Laurens County Library's LEGO MINDSTORM Robotics class for the teen tech program.

Two young men working on their LEGO MINDSTORM in the Laurens County Library’s LEGO MINDSTORM Robotics class for the teen tech program.

The teens participating in the LEGO MINDSTORM Robotics teen tech program at the Laurens County Library meet monthly to work on their LEGO MINDSTORMS. Instructor addressing students in class, sitting at tables.

The teens participating in the LEGO MINDSTORM Robotics teen tech program at the Laurens County Library meet monthly to work on their LEGO MINDSTORMS.