BFHS FIRST Robotics Team Alpha+ hosts summer camp
August 11, 2017
By Neil Martin

At the end of July, twenty-five students, grades four through six, participated in a four-day Summer Robotics Camp, hosted by BFHS FIRST Robotics Team 2130 Alpha+. The camp was organized and run solely by the high school team members, whose goal was to introduce younger students to the joys of computer programming and robotics.

This year’s game, Maze Mania, challenged the students to navigate their robots through a four- by eight-foot table maze, while avoiding the point penalties of crossing over walls.

Additionally, they could choose to remove wiffle and ping pong balls from stands, with the choice of carrying them back to base for more points. They overcame these challenges using only Legos, a miniature computer known as the NXT device, and their imaginations.

The students were divided into five teams, each accompanied by a high school mentor and a junior mentor from middle school FIRST Lego League Robotics Team Omega. The summer camp participants were guided through the building process of brainstorming, designing, prototyping, and final construction.

When each of the five teams completed their unique robots, they were tasked with programming their computers to complete specific actions, with the help of attachments and various sensors.

Teams also practiced valuable concepts such as “Gracious Professionalism”- the idea that despite ongoing competition, teams should be helpful and civil to one another. As a result, students were seen sharing Legos with other teams and genuinely recognizing the efforts of others.

At the end of the four days, each of the teams participated in a final ranked competition, enthusiastically showing other teams and their families what they had learned. Each team found their own ways to navigate the maze, utilizing their unique designs to make it as far as possible while knocking the different scoring balls off of their stands.

In addition to robotics, camp participants also enjoyed science activities, arts and crafts projects and group games. Each camp participant received a t-shirt.

As a result of participating in the camp, Alpha+ members hope that upon reaching middle school, students will join FIRST Lego League Robotics Team Omega.

For more information, please contact Jacob Garrison at

This camp would not have been possible without the appreciated help of our team mentors, BCMS FIRST Lego League Robotics Team Omega, parents and community members who were involved. Alpha+ is looking forward to hosting its Summer Robotics Camp again next year.