Burbank kids learn how to build robots

A group of children gathered at the Verdugo Log Cabin in Burbank on Thursday for the first day of a two-month course in which they’ll learn to build mini-robots, which eventually can function as an elevator, catapult or ski lift — all using Legos.

The robotics course is just one of many spring classes that kicked off this week and are offered through the city’s park, recreation and community services department.

“It’s a very popular class,” said Burbank recreation supervisor Christine Rumfola.

PHOTOS: Robotics in the park

The hands-on course is led by a former Jet Propulsion Laboratory programmer, who said his lessons incorporate team-building, programming and creativity.

“I wanted to really teach them how to cooperate and work together, learn to be patient, learn to take their time in building something so they can appreciate their math classes and science classes,” robotics instructor Noel Famatiga said.

Famatiga gives his students roughly 100 Lego pieces to build each robot, he said. To make the Lego creations operate, Famatiga uses machine parts donated to his class by Robin’s Hobby in Glendale.

“I let [the students] be creative about their design, and give direction on where to go,” he said. “Every week we build something, then they get to race it and compete with it.”

The city offers two eight-week robotics classes — Lego robotics on Tuesdays and the more advanced Lego machine shop on Thursdays — for children ages 6 to 12.

The city offers a variety of other classes for all ages, including sewing, fencing and karate. Class registration is open until next week, the second week of classes.

“There’s something for everybody,” Rumfola said.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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