July 24, 2014

Elyria
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Whiz kids at CWRU

36 kids design games, robots at tech camp

CLEVELAND — Eight-year-olds creating video games. Twelve-year-olds building robots.
Thirty-six children, ages 7 to 17, were designing, programming and creating video games, Web sites and robots at the internalDrive Tech Camp at Case Western Reserve University this week.
On Wednesday, 11-year-old Matt Avampato, of Avon Lake, was trying to beat the last level of the video game he had created.
“I beat the last level about 50/50,” Matt said as the queen killed the hero, making him lose the game he was playing. “It’s just luck and strategy and what you do.”
Matt shrugged off his loss and continued to tweak his alien- and army-themed video game.
Prathna Kumar, 8, of Avon, was also busy testing out her video game, “The Dark Sea.” She quickly hit the up, down and side arrows on her keyboard to avoid the vicious sting of eels and octopuses. The object of the game was to get the little fish across the ocean safely back to its family.
At the end of the week, Prathna and all the other gamers will be able to take their games home and play them on their computers against their friends.
“This camp builds their confidence,” said Gloria Badillo, the camp director, adding that her favorite part is seeing their transformation.
“They keep coming back,” she said.
The tech kids don’t just sit at their computers all week. They have gaming tournaments and even play some non-electronic games such as freeze-tag.
“We try to give them a sense of community-building,” Badillo said.
This is iD Tech Camps’ first program at Case Western and fourth weeklong session. Children enroll for one or several weeks, learning a new program each week.
This week is 12-year-old Trent Taylor’s third week at the tech camp. The Cleveland Heights student and two other kids are building a robot.
Glitchy, the robot, must have been sick Wednesday, because it was not functioning properly — going left instead of right.
The robotics challenge of the day was for the four-wheel structure to pick up a ball with its robotic “hand” and place it in a bowl.
Trent spent his first two weeks at camp working on a Web site. As he clicked on a 4-inch icon of the Statue of Liberty, the structure crumbled into six pieces — way high tech.
Rania Shakkour at 329-7127 or rshakkour@chroniclet.com.