The GAMES camp gave middle-school girls a chance to build program robots, August 4-10, 2002.

This was a lot of fun, especially because it was the biggest lecture that I had ever given. I had about two hours to entertain 20 enthusiastic 12-year-old girls with a class about robot sensors and actuators. I think it went well - I started with some structured background on basic electronics, just like I did for agorobots, but broke out quickly into demos to illustrate the points. Early on, I got the feeling that half of the time half of the girls had no idea what I was talking about, but that half varied from sentence to sentence, so that everyone was learning something. It was very helpful to go around the room asking questions to keep people awake, especially because this was a conceptually difficult topic. The best part of the day was getting them to speculate on or explain how things work - since kids like exploring things on their own, I divided them into two teams and assigned each to figure out what all of the sensors and actuators were on a robot. That kept them entertained for about 30 minutes, and I had representatives give mini-reports about their teams' robots at the end - very helpful! So in the end I was pretty satisfied with it, despite my discomfort at the beginning.

See my lecture notes.