By Meghan Reilly
Westhampton Beach High School
The term “summer camp” usually conjures images of bonfires, cabins and s’mores. But at iD Tech, young campers create robots from scratch.
In a bright room in the Wang Center of Stony Brook University, where decals of video game characters and iD Tech slogans adorn the walls, children of different age groups learned different tasks, such as coding, game development and Lego robotics.
Nine-year-old campers at the LEGO
robotics table worked in pairs and used laptops so that they could access guides online. They followed these guides step-by-step in order to put their robots together.
“I learned how to code and build robots with Legos,” Victoria Alexander said. “I take blocks of code and put them all together.”
Matthew Marotta added, “I’ve learned how to make my robot move forwards and backwards, and today I built a crane robot.”
The camp grouped the children by age to better accommodate their interests, camp director Zara Krayem said.
“For instance, children interested in robotics will be placed in that group where they’ll learn same thing in two days that college students take a semester to pick up on,” Krayem said. “This structure is what makes us different from other tech camps.”
Campers also participated in other activities, including a field day, so that they could bond with one another.
“The way the kids learn is very dynamic and fun,” Krayem added.
Even after the end of weeklong camp, iD Tech kids can stay connected by accessing the online guides and building more robots at home. They also can return to the camp next year as long as they are still between the ages of 7 and 18.
iD Tech exposes children to a lot of possibilities that aren’t available in high school, which means they can find out what career paths interest them before they even get into college, Krayem said.
Even the youngest kids already seem to have an idea of what they want to do when they grow up. Both Victoria and Matthew want to be engineers.
“I want to be an engineer,” Victoria said, “because I think it’s fun.”
“I want to help people with their problems,” Matthew added, “and I want to build stuff.”