The end of school year summer holidays are characterised by the noticeable decline in learners’ performance when schools resume in September. This creates an opportunity for young learners to engage in other skills that may not be taught in a typical Nigerian curriculum.

Brainiacs STEM & Robotics held non resident Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Camps in 3 states of Nigeria namely Plateau, Kaduna and Lagos. Campers included both boys and girls as young as 5 years to 16 years of age.

The Brainiacs team also supported STEM camps organised by other organisations both non-profit and for profit. Activities held during the camps were project-based; focused on nurturing creativity and innovation among learners.

Learners working on a Robotics project using Lego Mindstorm EV-3

Learners working on a Robotics project using Lego Mindstorm EV-3

Learners were divided into groups to run activities following a structured time table in line with Brainiacs STEM curriculum. Each day starts with a safety moment aimed at inculcating safety mindset to participants. This is followed by a 10 minutes STEM moment that takes a selection of topics that have direct relevance to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This is aimed at introducing learners to SGDs and how they could apply STEM to help achieve these goals as they grow up.

Learners working in groups to identify correct components for their project

Learners working in groups to identify correct components for their project

Programming and App Development
Campers were introduced to the basics of programming, coding and simple android app development. Projects completed were simple with direct applications to what the kids could connect with. They also developed simple games such as apple dropping game using scratch, treasure hunts with Kodu, kids analyse simple mathematical concepts with Turtle Art. These projects exposed the kids to the concepts of game development and made them realize that rather than just playing games on their parents’ phones they could create their own simple games.

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A clear example of project based, group exercise – Learners Coding with Turtle Art to build a 2D House

Introduction to Robotics
The practicality of programmable robots created significant excitement to among all learners with male learners showing a lot more interest in the robotics section. The beginners (age 5 to 9) carried out several projects aimed at explaining basic science and engineering concepts using Lego WeDo 2.0. Some of the concepts learned include flowers and pollination, forces, space exploration and the life cycle of frogs.

More teamwork – Learners exploring Life Cycle of Frog using Lego Wedo 2.0

More teamwork – Learners exploring Life Cycle of Frog using Lego Wedo 2.0

The intermediate learners used the Lego Mindstorm EV-3 for their projects. As the name suggests, the set is designed to nurture growth mindset among learners. The learners completed several projects such as educator vehicle, tankbot, stair climber and Znap.

Overall the robotics sessions helped learners understand the integration of hardware and coding principles and how robots could be program to carry out challenging and repetitive tasks for humans.

Girls Love Robotics - Campers programming a stair climber Robot using Lego Mindstorm EV-3

Girls Love Robotics – Campers programming a stair climber Robot using Lego Mindstorm EV-3

Basic Electronics Technology and Circuit design
This package put learners in the stream of being inventors where they had the opportunity of using basic low voltage electronic components to build workable systems. The campers also learnt the principles of troubleshooting and fault finding. The award winning Littlebits (Littlebits STEAM set, Littlebits Premium, Littlebits Smart Home) sets were used for building the projects by the beginners and intermediate campers. Some of the projects completed include circuit cruiser, prank handshake and security devices.

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Creating a Cruiser Robot using LittleBits STEAM Package

The older campers were introduced to electronics design using Arduino Uno. One of the projects completed was an automated traffic light.

Testing the Completed Cruiser Robot

Testing the Completed Cruiser Robot

3D Design and Printing
3D printing provides the opportunity to bring our imaginations to reality. This is certainly the future of technology and low cost manufacturing. Campers were introduced to 3D modeling using the XYZ printer. Although the younger learners struggle with the tool, they were thrilled when the final print came out. Learners could see what they modelled on the computer coming out as printed physical object they could touch.

Printing out a 3D Model

Printing out a 3D Model

Where does the future takes us?
It was really an exciting 6 weeks and we look forward to another summer vacation for another engaging STEM camp. We have seen young learners demonstrating skills in areas that would help Nigeria towards a “knowledge based” economy. We have also busted the myth that girls don’t like STEM subjects and don’t do as good well as their male counterparts. In actual sense we have girls showing better skills in programming, coding and digital design than the boys.

Learn collaborating to build their Robotics Project (Across gender and communities, we saw talent among the youths, only if it will be harnessed).

Learners collaborating to build their Robotics Project (Across gender and communities, we saw talent among the youths, only if it will be harnessed).

Going forward, we plan to expand our coverage to a minimum of 6 cities in Nigeria – Kaduna, Kano, Jos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Lagos. We hope to partner with more organisations both government and non-governmental (for profit and non profit) to give more Nigerian kids (both girls and boys) the opportunity to learn the basics of creativity and innovation using the latest tools enjoyed by their counterparts in the rest of the world. We believe with the right investment, commitment and collaboration we can create a generation of innovative makers that can lead our country into growth and sustainability.

A cross section of female participants

A cross section of female participants

We are also in talks with other partners to export our content to other West African cities namely – Accra and Dakar.

Ahead of holiday session you can bring your kids to any of the Brainiacs Creativity Hubs any day of the week to register for any of our packages. Don’t let your kids get left behind. Visit our website for details of upcoming programmes and events.

A moment of pure joy when the buzzer works. The beauty of using the right tools and methodology makes kids asking for more.

A moment of pure joy when the buzzer works. The beauty of using the right tools and methodology makes kids asking for more.

Contact Us

Phone No: +234 909 109 5057

Email: info@brainiacs.com.ng

Website: www.brainiacs.com.ng

Twitter: @brainiacs_ng

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