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The Physics of Mario Kart

What is it? A camp where students will build and study the physics of a life-size Mario Kart: a go kart that uses a real Wii remote to control just about everything.

What will you learn? Students will learn about Physical Computing – the use of computers (in this case an Arduino microprocessor and Motion Capture Video) to interact with the physical world. Programming, Electronics, Engineering and Motion will all be explored.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily 

Ages: High School (entering 9-12 grades)

Cost: $150

Introduction to Robotics

Students will have the opportunity to learn about the construction, design and programming of the LEGO MINDSTORMS® robots. Through a series of hands on training missions, students will learn how to navigate their robot using light, distance and touch sensors to solve increasingly complex problems. The week will end with teams of students competing in a STEM-based competition similar to what they might experience competing in a FIRST LEGO League. Campers will need to bring a sack lunch except on Thursday.

8:30 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. daily

Ages: 10-14 years

Cost: $75

MiniSumo Robotics

Main Camp Objectives:

  • Mechanical construction:
    • Complete construction of a functioning mini-sumo robot. These are autonomous vehicles, designed each to push an opponent off of a 30" circular arena.
  • Computer programming (IsoMax Forth language) permitted and encouraged, but not required.
    • All necessary code for effective functioning of the sumo will be provided.
    • Students with a special interest in code often make significant contributions to the camp through code development and exploration.

The camp culminates with a public mini-sumo robot competition, to which parents are invited.

Ages: Rising eighth grade through rising high school juniors

Cost: $345. Add about $200 for the residential option

State of Iowa Physics Competition

The Physics Competition (formerly known as Physics Olympics) is a series of six competitive physics events for high school students in grades 9-12. The competition stresses creativity and ingenuity as well as understanding of physics related principles and is intended to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Events include: self-propelled catapult, mousetrap car, bridge building, soda straw arm, challenge problem and material recovery facility (MRF). The MRF is sponsored by the Iowa Recycling Association.

UNI/AEA 267 Regional Physics Competition

The Department of Physics will host the UNI/Area Education Agency 267 Regional Physics Competition for high school students. Events include self-propelled catapult, mousetrap car, bridge building, soda straw arm, challenge problem and material recovery facility (MRF). The MRF is sponsored by the Iowa Recycling Association. The College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences is providing lunch and information about programs for participating students and teachers. Regional winners and runners-up advance to the State of Iowa Physics Competition on April 17 at the McLeod Center. 

Graduate College Brown Bag Lecture Series

Paul Shand, department of physics, will present “Magnetic Nano-things.” An object is said to be “nanoscale” if one or more of its linear dimensions is less than 100 nanometers. Examples of nanoscale structures include films, nanoclusters, nanoparticles, nanocrystals and nanotubes. Shand will discuss the physics and applications of magnetism at the nanoscale. Technologies based upon nanoscale magnetism will be discussed as well as current research in magnetic nanostructures at UNI.


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