Tech Camp Frequently Asked Questions
Find out all the details for Tech Camps here!
- Does a camper work individually, or in a group?
- What devices and software will be used?
- What sort of activities will my camper participate in?
- How much time will my camper be spending indoors?
- Sample Daily Schedule
- What experience level does my camper need for these camps?
- What is the difference between the various LEGO camps?
- What is the difference between the various Minecraft camps?
Does a camper work individually, or in a group?
We believe that working in pairs or small groups fosters an environment of inclusivity and gives campers an opportunity to share and develop their skills together. We also find that switching roles within activities allows campers to see challenges from new perspectives, develop new ideas more easily, and work on collaboration skills that we believe are important to being good critical thinkers.
• All Minecraft campers work at computers in pairs. Each camper takes turns (usually 5 minutes each) either controlling the mouse and keyboard or supporting the team by making observations, offering advice, or developing design ideas.
• LEGO campers typically work together in groups of 3, though occasionally we may have groups of two depending on enrollment. Campers can rotate through different roles like builder, kit keeper, or programmer as they work through each activity.
What devices and software will be used?
Campers build and code on laptops with a mouse or trackpad (their choice). We use Minecraft: Education Edition for all of these camps, as it has great tools for facilitating smooth group-based educational experiences, and incorporates coding lessons using Microsoft MakeCode.
• 1st-2nd grade campers will use LEGO WeDo 2.0 kits and tablets. WeDos are a great way for campers to develop building and coding skills with developmentally appropriate tools.
• 3rd-8th grade campers will use LEGO Mindstorm EV3s and laptops. These tools can scale to more complex building and coding and are more developmentally appropriate for an older age group.
What sort of activities will my camper participate in?
In all of our Minecraft programs, campers will learn how to play, design, build, and code.
• Minecraft Makers focuses on basic gameplay and building. For example, campers will research ancient architecture and then design and build their own wonders of the world in Minecraft.
• Minecraft Coders explores computer science concepts and programming. Campers will learn to build minigames and program an autonomous robot to do things like gather materials, tend a farm, and even build structures.
• Minecraft – Girls Only is a balance of both our Maker and Coder camps. Campers will create an in-game Rube Goldberg machine and code superpowers for their avatars. There will also be time each day to explore the contributions of female game developers to the gaming community.
• Minecraft Modders is a deep dive into the way Minecraft works. Campers will learn more about some powerful coding concepts including conditionals, functions, arrays, and artificial intelligence through the lens of Minecraft.
• Campers will tackle various building and coding challenges using their LEGO kits. Each day of camp has an area of focus – past day themes have included gears, animal movement, coding with Scratch, or using sensors. A few activities campers have done in the past include building a car and navigating an obstacle course, creating a puppy that barks and sits, and coding an interactive game; the camp theme will determine which activities occur.
How much time will my camper be spending indoors?
As you might hope, we spend most of our days in a Minecraft or LEGO camp playing and exploring Minecraft or LEGO robotics! Each morning and afternoon, your camper will spend about two hours working on activities directly related to your theme. For Minecraft camps, this time is predominately spent on computers. Although this is the main focus of our camps, we also recognize the need for your campers to move around and make use of our amazing campuses. Each day we also will spend about an hour of supervised unstructured time to allow your camper to follow their own interests and expel some energy.
Here is a basic breakdown of our Minecraft and LEGO Camp Schedule:
Sample Daily Schedule
9:00am – 11:30am
Computer-based Minecraft activities or hands-on LEGO activities
11:30am – 12:00pm
*Lunch is always 30 minutes but the exact time of lunch varies by day, age level, or activities.
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Free time and exhibit visits
1:00pm – 3:00pm
Computer-based Minecraft activities or hands-on LEGO activities
What experience level does my camper need for these camps?
We find that campers come to us with many different experience levels and interests, so we tailor all of our Minecraft camps to accommodate a wide range of abilities and experience levels.
• Minecraft Makers camps focus more on gameplay and building, making it a great option for first time Minecrafters and experienced players alike.
• Minecraft Coders camps explore coding and develop programming skills which deepen the experience of the game. We find these camps are most effective and enjoyable for campers who already have some familiarity with gameplay.
• Minecraft – Girls Only! balances building and gameplay with coding and programming development and is perfect for girls of all experience levels.
• Minecraft Modders camps explore coding and develop programming skills which deepen the experience of the game. We find these camps are most effective and enjoyable for campers who already have some familiarity with gameplay.
• Minecraft Modders – Girls Only! camps explore coding and develop programming skills which deepen the experience of the game. We find these camps are most effective and enjoyable for campers who already have some familiarity with gameplay.
Our LEGO camps are designed with all levels of experience in mind and are perfect for any LEGO enthusiast. There are no prerequisites for any of our LEGO themes, so campers are free to participate in either (or both!) LEGO camps for their age group.
What is the difference between the various LEGO camps?
• LEGO Jam: Creature Creation focuses on building and designing creations that mimic animal movement. While campers will learn to write code in WeDo software, the focus of this camp is to explore the designing and building of physical LEGO creations using animals’ physical characteristics as models.
• LEGO Jam: Code Builds focuses on coding. We empower your camper to build vehicles and machinery using LEGO WeDo, then write code to control their creation using WeDo software to complete various challenges. This camp also explores the block-based coding language Scratch, challenging campers to expand their coding knowledge and write their own interactive programs.
• LEGO EV3: Engineering focuses on engineering and design skills using LEGO Mindstorm EV3s. Campers will learn how to write code in the EV3 software and will spend a few days exploring the designing and building of physical LEGO creations based off animal’s characteristics.
• LEGO EV3: Code Creators focuses on coding skills using LEGO Mindstorm EV3s, and the block-based programming languages Scratch and MakeCode. Campers will explore building and coding their LEGO creations as they work to navigate complex courses. This camp also explores other block-based coding languages, challenging campers to expand their coding knowledge and practice translating code between different languages.
• LEGO EV3: Girls Only! Is a LEGO camp where girls can dive into engineering and coding skills. Campers will learn how to write code in the EV3 software using the block-based coding language, Scratch. We’ll explore engineering and design skills as we spend a few days developing physical LEGO creations using animal’s characteristics.
• LEGO Mars 2020 uses the LEGO Space Challenge kit to develop building and coding skills with LEGO Mindstorm EV3s. Campers will work together to create a rover to discover and tackle the challenges of space exploration.
What is the difference between the various Minecraft camps?
• Minecraft Makers camps focus on gameplay and building. Campers will spend their week building skills to design and build an in-game Museum of Life and Minecraft!
• Minecraft Coders camps focus on coding through Make Code and Minecraft: Education Edition. While we will be building and playing the game, most of the activities surround writing code to affect the way campers experience and play the game.
• Minecraft – Girls Only! takes some of our favorite activities from both Minecraft Makers and Minecraft Coders to create an engaging camp that balances building design and programming code. We also take time to learn about the contributions to the gaming community by famous female game developers.