Heights Youth Club members learn NASA tech

A camper creates her own video game. Courtesy: Funutation Tekademy LLC

Cleveland Heights kids aged 9 to 15 attended a one-week Funutation technology lab at the Heights Youth Club (HYC), and learned to build robots, construct roller coasters and design video games.

The Funutation lab was held in August as part of the Summer of Innovation program, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to improve the skills and enhance the engagement of American students in response to the country’s need for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Jackalyn Fehrenbach, assistant director of HYC, said, “This class sparked a lot of interest in science and technology among kids.” Olivia Morgan, a 15-year-old attending a computer camp for the first time, said it was “awesome.” During the weeklong program, Morgan and other attendees learned the mechanics of a roller coaster, and constructed a miniature coaster from scratch. The kids also gained hands-on experience with robots, with supervision from instructors.

Eric Adeyemon, 12, remarked that he has had a keen interest in computer programming since he was nine, and always asked himself, “How did they make the games?” At the camp, he became more familiar with the design and implementation of 3-D computer games. Adeyemon said he was surprised to learn that he could write code in a different and easier way than he had learned before, and exclaimed, “You can make computers make different sounds simply by typing different codes!” Adeyemon wants to be a doctor when he grows up, but he said that maybe he would create computer games in his spare time.

According to Fehrenbach, the Funutation technology program supports the club’s education and career development initiative, improving educational proficiency using practical applications, and preparing children for future success through the use of technology. She anticipates that HYC will offer similar programs in the future.

The technology classes were operated by Funutation Tekademy LLC, an Ohio-based company offering technology programs such as robotronix, roller coaster construction, scratch game design, and stop motion animation for children aged 7 to 17. Ted Jordan, Funutation STEM program manager, said that the company’s primary goal is to provide students with an opportunity to learn technology skills that would empower and prepare them for the path they choose. Classes challenge the kids’ minds and, at the same time, satisfy the National Standards TEAMS (Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics & Science), while developing team-building skills.

Tongchan Boonyapataro

Tongchan is a program manager of Funutation Tekademy LLC, a technology school for kids that offers extracurricular programs, such as animation, video game design and robotronix.

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Volume 4, Issue 10, Posted 10:51 AM, 09.19.2011