They campers at the Connecticut Science Center call Mike Ross "Mister Mike," Connecticut's "robot guru."
Robot week is one of a series of camp themes this summer at the center in downtown Hartford and Ross said they all share a common goal.
"How to explore science and how to investigate things that they may not be comfortable with," Ross, the CSC's camp director, said.
Every camper builds a "Follow Me" robot during the week and will go home with the finished product on Friday afternoon. Most kids, including Anika Sharma, 7, of Rocky Hill, come ready to learn.
"They're gonna teach us everything and then we're gonna be really intelligent," Sharma said.
Others, including Jason Ahmad, 8, came to the table focused and ready to build his robot. He's working a day ahead of his peers. He's a whiz with tools and has figured out a trick.
"There's a trick for one part. You do the same thing on both sides, so I already knew the instructions for one side, so I did the other side the same exact way," the Hartford 3rd grader said.
The middle schoolers build the same robot, but have also created their own projects, ranging from a remote control car, to a fantastical constructor bot, to a functional vending machine, made from Legos.
Mike Ross says it's just the kind of inquiry-based learning they strive for at the Science Center camps. Campers take "hands on" to the next level by they generating their own questions, then searching for the answers.
For the right kid, the thrill of the experiment can make the summer fly by.