Robotics Workshop Opportunity by Amy Simko

Maker Faire 2016 at The Henry Ford

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”  – Einstein

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”  – Edison

“The most dangerous notion a young man can acquire is that there is no more room for originality.” – Ford

The greatest inventors of all time knew that great innovation comes from an open mind filled with imagination, curiosity and wonder.  When we are born, the world around us is truly a magical place.  Everything is new.  The world is one giant tinker box set in front of us to be explored.  Gifted children hold onto this beautiful gift as they grow and they are natural inventors and innovators.  Gifted children tend to accelerate even deeper into the world of tinkering, figuring out how things work, inventing new things and improving upon existing things.  For these children and teens, Maker Faire is a rich haven for them to immerse themselves into and spend hours exploring.

Last year was the first time my family visited the Maker Faire at The Henry Ford.  There is a plethora of tech-based vendors who fill most of the museum inside and have an even larger presence outside.  There is so much to see and do there.  Many vendors go beyond offering just literature and business cards and provide hands on demonstrations and activities for adult and children tech fans alike.  This is a smorgasbord of brain food for gifted children and teens.

Last year, my son met a teacher at Maker Faire who has become a mentor to him.  Keith Young, owner of Kinvert, has taken my son’s dream of creating his own working R2 unit and mapped out a path for my son to achieve his goal.  At just 8 years old, my son, like most gifted children, has big dreams.  Kinvert is a relatively new company, but already Keith is leading our gifted children toward their goals in such a short amount of time.  He offers hands on learning with a lot of child led invention and innovation.

This year, Keith is offering an amazing opportunity to children and teens that exhibit advanced abilities or interest in robotics, electronics and programming and have the ability to work in a team environment.  He is holding a robotics competition complete with lessons to prepare the teams on their quests of SumoBot battling.  The teams of up to 5 children will work together to learn how to code the robot to leverage sensors in order to locate the competitor’s robot  and locate the edge of the arena ring to try to be the first to push the competitor’s SumoBot out of the ring to win the match!  What makes this learning experience and competition unique is that the kids will not be controlling the robots directly through a remote control.  Instead, they will learn directly from Keith how to program the robot to make decisions on its own and operate autonomously using sensors.  The kids will then present their skills at Maker Faire 2016 at The Henry Ford.  Teams will compete there for great prizes and fun while being encouraged to learn not only team work, but the value of helping others as they learn together.

This is like a dream opportunity for so many gifted children and teens.  They will learn robotics, electronics, coding and life skills from a highly educated and experienced coach and teacher.  Keith holds two engineering degrees and has won two robotics competitions at the graduate level!  As a gifted individual himself, Keith “gets” gifted children and teens.  He is able to encourage a 5 year old to take her or his learning to any level the child desires without the age assumptions often placed on these kids.  He can help them through asynchronous abilities so they don’t have to stop coding just because they are struggling in one area or another.  As a gifted teen, it’s often difficult to connect with those who share like interests and it can feel lonely and isolating to have such a deep passion, but no one who speaks your same language.  Keith has taken on this problem and has worked diligently to bring together teens who share common interests and speak the language of all things tech-y.  He supports his students to learn by exploration which promotes learning how to accept mistakes and getting back to it to try again.  Finding a gifted instructor for our gifted children is rare.  Keith is an exceptional find.

If your gifted child is into robotics, programming, electronics or wants to be, then this is the opportunity for them to dive in and learn it all.  For more information on the lesson dates/times, costs and details on the competition itself, please visit: (one of the guinea pig groups getting their robots working for the first time 🙂 )


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