During our Fall school vacation camp (October 21-25, 2019), kids ages 7-12 explored the theme of climate change while learning about computer science, programming, design and digital fabrication.

NewTechKids’ strategy was to highlight this topic which is on everyone’s mind and constantly in the news, showcase how technology is being used to solve climate change problems, teach basic computer science concepts and challenge kids to design and prototype their own solutions.

We partnered with Maakplaats021, the Amsterdam Public Library‘s Makerspace initiative, to design and teach the program. Kids participated in computer science, programming and robotics activities in the morning and then dove into graphic design and digital fabrication (3D printing, laser cutting and engraving) in the afternoon.

We used team-based challenges to explore topics such as measuring data, making things work automatically and more efficiently, designing alternatives, inventing things that lesson our carbon footprint, and helping the people around us become more aware of climate change.

Solutions ranged from trashbots racing each other to move waste, a device with a fan which clears smog, smoke and stem, and robots which collect data while moving around.

During sessions with Maakplaats021 coaches, kids learned the basics of Tinkercad, a 3D digital design tool, by designing a climate change logo which they printed on old t-shirts and embossed on a glass. They also designed and 3D printed a seed holder.

One major takeaway for us: by combining computer science and programming with maker and digital fabrication activities and placing a big focus on design and creativity, we were able to increase the participation of girls to 30% of camp participants (double their usual participation rate of 15%).

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