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SSCC teaches kids about engineering with Legos

Abby Acker and Katie Hardin work together to make a story using LEGO blocks during the LEGO Engineering Camp hosted by Shelton State Community College at the Demopolis Higher Education Center.

Abby Acker and Katie Hardin work together to make a story using LEGO blocks during the LEGO Engineering Camp hosted by Shelton State Community College at the Demopolis Higher Education Center.

When learning and fun mingle together, the results can be enriching for those involved. This was the case as the Higher Education Center in Demopolis hosted Shelton State Community College’s Lego Engineering program July 18-22.
“The purpose of our camp is to engage students and get them interested in STEM related projects where they can actually be hands on,” said SSCC Instructional Outreach Specialist Beth Patrick. “During the year, they learn so many skills in their math and science and I understand Demopolis is very big in their BEST (program) robotics.
In its second year, the program is designed to engage youth in a way tjhat makes learning fun.
“It was an outstanding program on our Tuscaloosa campus last year,” said SSCC Director of Workforce Outreach Mike Fields. “The mayor was looking to do things here, particularly for children and not just park events. That’s what brought this here, his request to do things for children especially in the summertime.”
The Lego Engineering program did just that with 38 students who registered for the summer program at the Higher Education Center, located at the SportsPlex.
“What my position does and what SSCC does, we try to coordinate activities that are all related and in this case a lot of the things that they’re learning in Lego Engineering is going to feed into what they would do on their BEST robotics team,” Patrick said. “They’re learning about lifts, gears, pulleys, pneumatics and weight distribution, all types of things they will need to know when they merge over into the robotic field.”
If the students don’t want to pursue a future in robotics, the camp offered other life skills to help develop children for their future, including developing public speaking and creative thinking skills.
The camp gave each student the chance to take what they had learned during the school year and apply it in a fun way.
“To me this camp is application and hands-on and they can see a tangible result of all this math and science they’ve learned during the year in the classroom,” Patrick said.
Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson was on hand for second day of the camp to observe.
“We work very closely with Shelton State and we’re very proud to have Shelton State in town for activities like this and to improve work force development, which we’re really focused on at this time,” Grayson said. “We want our citizens to have the skills that they can have a job here and not have to move to other areas.”
Grayson highlighted how the camp teaches people about engineering and its importance in workforce development, while offering a fun atmosphere for the children.
“They want to be here,” Grayson said about the students attending the camp. “That’s what we want to do … have fun things for young people so that they’ll be interested in moving on to do great things.”