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Kids build robots, gain inspiration through Science Enrichment Program

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Ruwaida Haddad assists the children with their projects.
Another successful year of the JSC Childcare Summer Camp's Science Enrichment Program recently wrapped up at the JSC Child Care Center.

"The year was crowned with pride and success at building small, innovative robots," said Dr. Ruwaida Haddad , USRA Staff Scientist working in the Space and Life Sciences Directorate’s Biological Systems Office. Haddad acts as the main volunteer educator. "The kids were coming in excited and full of hope. It is great to feel the kids' joy and pride when they have a functional final product to take home at the end of the summer."

A young participant proudly displays her finished robot.
A young participant proudly displays her finished robot.
The Science Enrichment Program allows children to build motorized robots using parts donated by K'NEX Industries. This year, the 7- to 14-year-olds built 36 battery-motorized robots, the six-year-olds built 17 spin rotary-motorized robots and two other classes of children built robot figurines. The inclusion of 5- and 6-year-olds was a big change to the program this year.

"We deeply appreciate K'NEX Industries for providing the hardware to build those robots and for their guidance in customizing different kits to suit different ages, so as to build their curiosity and not their frustration," said Haddad.

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Children work on their robots with help from volunteers.
Two main volunteers helped to make this year's program successful: eleventh-grader Nora K. AL-Jumah and ninth-grader Rana AL-Jumah, both of Clear Creek High School.

"The program is well defined in stimulating the minds and the hand coordination of our kids, and in enabling them to be creative, patient, determined and motivated to finish their task on time," said Haddad.

Kendra Phipps
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(281) 483-9268

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