Educator Jake Bells works with Jonah Herrera-Dodd, 17, during a bionic elephant training session at the Carson City Library.

Reimagining learning, the Carson City Library is bringing robotics technology and engineering to Carson City middle school students starting in February. Using analog and digital learning, participants will build components of a bionic fish, elephant and chameleon over the three-day Bionics Camp designed to encourage STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) related career exploration and development. Participation is limited and the deadline to register is Feb. 5, 2021.

The February Bionics Camp is open to middle school students in Carson City and takes place Saturdays, Feb. 6, Feb. 13 and Feb. 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Participants must attend all three days of camp. Registration is limited to eight students and is available on the library’s website calendar. Two additional bionics camps are scheduled with one in March and another offered June 2021; registration will open separately for each.

“We are thrilled to begin this program for our local community,” Carson City Library Creative Learning Manager Maria Klesta said. “This camp provides an outlet for students interested in technology, engineering and science to get hands-on experience. Being able to offer programs like this helps us reach our youth through a unique educational pathway, while introducing them to different career opportunities.”

Camps are conducted following strict health and safety protocols including one kit per student, ensuring proper physical distance by limiting each table to one student, limited participation, face coverings and/or face shields required (face shields are produced on-site using 3-D printing technology at the library’s Capital Makers space), hand sanitation stations and other sanitation procedures. Provided food, snacks and drinks are individually wrapped and containerized.

Bionics is the study of mechanical systems that function like living organisms or parts of living organisms. The library will use Bionics4Education resources from FESTO which were developed by a team of engineers, designers, computer scientists and biologists to help with ideation, creativity, problem-solving and the excitement around bionics and STEM to bring these skills to life in an instructional setting. The nature-based robots are controlled remotely with mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. A locally trained bionics educator, high school bionics interns, and Carson City Library staff will lead the Bionic Camps.

This project is made possible through a grant provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Nevada State Library, Archives and Public Records. This project is 90% funded with the Institute of Museum and Library Services federal monies with an additional 10% locally funded. Federal funds for this project are $26,376.