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Robotics And 3D Printing Camp Founded By High Schoolers Goes Online

Neev Maru

A computer program could probably beat you at a game of chess, but do you think a robot could beat you on a ping pong table? Or how would you like to go against an AI driven race car? These are amongst the questions that the 9-12 year old students in the MC3D (Mindstorms Coding & 3D Printing) camp explore and marvel about.

Neev Maru, the founder of MC3D, participated in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) robotics competition for five years from 4th to 8th grade. He loved every aspect of FLL and what the competition stood for. FLL helped him build confidence, experience technology, and develop a love for learning. He wanted to share what he had learned through his time in FLL.

In summer of 2018 he started a Robotics and 3D printing camp in his basement with 6 neighborhood students. The kids were excited to learn from someone close to their age rather than an adult teacher. For some of the students, this camp was their first exposure to Robotics and 3D printing. Neev planned games and activities in order to make sure that each kid enjoyed themselves and stayed excited about learning STEM.

After the first camp Neev, currently a sophomore at Westford Academy reached out to his FLL teammates and together, they decided to run a free camp for kids in a low-income community. The joy of being able to excite a child about STEM made the team want to continue; thus, MC3D was born. They are now a non-profit run by 5 high school students, from Westford Academy and Chelmsford High School. The team’s mission is to promote STEM education for young kids through robotics, programming and 3D printing workshops.

Over the last two years the team has run 9 workshops for over 80 students. The two-day workshops are loaded with interactive activities to keep students engaged and interested. Abhisar, a freshman at Westford Academy said “My favorite part about these camps is interacting with the kids to explore a seemingly complicated question like, ‘What would a robot need to drive a motorcycle?’”.  Mahi, a sophomore at Chelmsford High School commented, “It’s fascinating to see the kids grasp these concepts in real time. How quickly they go from being oblivious to what robots are - to knowing how to program them.”

This past February break the team conducted their largest camp to date, with eighteen students. They planned to continue the momentum with two more camps in April. Unfortunately, with the COVID19 outbreak and quarantine protocols, the group workshops were no longer possible. “We were stuck at home from school with all of our activities also canceled, we knew that all of our potential students were also in the same situation.” Said Dhruvan, freshman at Westford Academy. Capitalizing on the technology available to them, the team decided to take the camps online while making the changes needed to their program to run online classes.

Since the beginning of April, the team has been conducting their workshops online with students now enrolling from across the country. When asked about teaching classes online, Kush a freshman at Westford Academy said “We loved seeing the participation of the 9-12 year old’s as they learned STEM. Not only were they engaged and asking questions, but they were able to have fun with robotics even in a virtual environment.” The team demonstrates the relevance of 3D printing today; they have printed and donated over 750+ ear savers for frontline workers via Westford Caring Crafters, Prescott House in North Andover and to homeless shelters in Cambridge.They are also donating 40% of revenue from the online camps to local charities.

If you would like more information or want your child to participate in an MC3D camp, you can contact the team at mc3dteam@gmail.com, follow them on Instagram at mc3d_ or call Neev Maru at +1-978-654-0672. If you are a high school student and are interested in running a camp locally, they would love to help you get started. 

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