WATERTOWN — Free, grant-funded workshops with a focus on emerging trends in agriculture will be held at the Lewis County JCC Education Center for students ages 12 to 17 in June and July. Students can learn how to grow plants without soil, get a crash course in aviation and coding for drones, and learn about aquaponics, hydroponics and greenhouses.

In partnership with BlackRocket, a family-owned business with 20 years of experience designing courses in the science, technology, engineering, art and math fields, Jefferson Community College is offering a variety of virtual workshops in July and August as well, in which students will learn how to bring their coding, video game design and YouTube ideas to life. STEAM workshops, for students ages 8 to 14, encourage collaboration and peer-to-peer feedback along with hands-on interaction. The STEAM workshops are compatible with MAC and Windows operation systems only and cost $169 each. Early registration is recommended. Those interested can learn more and register online at www.sunyjefferson.edu/youth. For more information, call JCC at 315-786-2233.

Free Workshops Held at the Lewis County JCC Education Center

Introduction to Aquaponics, Hydroponics, & Greenhouses (ages 12-17)

Workshop participants will learn how to differentiate between the different types of controlled environment agriculture (greenhouses, aquaponics, hydroponics, & aeroponics). Students will also have the opportunity to engage hands-on with the vertical hydroponics farm on site at the Lewis County JCC Education Center and grow their own vegetables using soil-based and hydroponic growing methods.

Hydroponics Water Quality & Pest Management (ages 12-17)

Workshop participants will get an overview of controlled environment agriculture grow methods and investigate growing conditions that may affect plant health, like water quality (pH & EC), and pest management.

Hydroponics Lighting, Grow Media, & Climate Control (ages 12-17)

Workshop participants will get an overview of the various lighting systems, growing media and temperature/humidity controls to consider on an indoor farm. Students will be able to observe the vertical hydroponics system on site at the Lewis County JCC Education Center, as well as learn about DIY systems that are cost-effective to build.

Introduction to Aviation & Block-Based Coding for Drones (ages 12-17)

Get hands-on experience with assembling a drone device and learning components of block-based programming for drone flight functions. Students will learn the basics of Blockly and autonomous drones by learning how to read sensors, make decisions, and fly in complex patterns.

Introduction to Python Coding for Drones (ages 12-17)

Learn the foundations of text-based programming with actual Python code. See your lines of code make the drone come to life. This is a great way to learn Python in a fun way!

BlackRocket Virtual Youth STEAM Summer Courses

ROBLOX Coders & Entrepreneurs

Discover the Lua language through a visual block coding system while designing worlds in ROBLOX, an online universe where you can create anything you dream of. This new class combines game design concepts, coding, and fun! Young entrepreneurs will also learn how to navigate ROBLOX’s fast-growing marketplace to publish their games. Student-created games will be available on a password protected Black Rocket website to share with friends and family.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon (ages 11-14); 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 8-11)

Make Your First Video Game

If you love playing video games, this is the camp for you! Make your first video game in this one-of-a-kind class that shows you the keys to designing your first 2D platformer game. Conceptualization, play experience, level design, graphics, sounds, and simple coding are just some of the concepts that we’ll explore. No prior experience necessary, just a desire to have fun. Student projects will be available on a password protected Black Rocket website to share with friends and family. Games are only compatible on PC computers. Returning students can create more advanced projects that build on previous years.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon (ages 8-11); 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 11-14)

Customize your own Minecraft world and mod the classic game in this one-of-a-kind class. Learn scripting and logic statements as you create your first mods. Students will create a wide variety of new elements, gameplay mechanics, and world generating mods to change the way you play Minecraft. Projects will be available on a password protected Black Rocket website to share with friends and family. Students must own a Java version of Minecraft to take this class. Tablet, phone, and game console versions of Minecraft are not compatible. Returning students can create more advanced projects that build on previous years.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon (ages 11-14); 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 8-11)

Unlock the power of ROBLOX Studio, the world creation tool used by real-world ROBLOX developers! Learn how to build 3D models and create an adventure in your ROBLOX world. Bring characters to life with unique animations you design. Student-created projects will be available on a password protected Black Rocket website to share with friends and family.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon (ages 8-11); 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 11-14)

Calling all future coders, programmers & designers! Learn the basics of coding languages like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS through a series of web projects and design challenges each day and be on your way to becoming the next tech star! Whether you want to be a Silicon Valley CEO or the high school student who just made $1 million for programming in her bedroom, this course has the essentials you need to begin your journey. Projects will be available on a Black Rocket website to share with friends and family. Returning students can create more advanced projects that build on previous years.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon (ages 11-14); 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 8-11)

Minecraft Redstone Engineers

Take the next step beyond simply “playing” Minecraft and become a true Redstone engineer. Expand your Redstone knowledge by constructing your own carnival with a variety of mini-games, roller coasters, and attractions powered by Redstone. Learn how to use Command and Structure blocks to incorporate them into your builds. Activate your skills and take your Minecraft structures to the next level! Students must own a Java version of Minecraft to take this class. Tablet, phone, and game console versions of Minecraft are not compatible.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon (ages 8-11); 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 11-14)

3D Game Design with Unity

Are you ready to take your game design skills to another level? With Unity, an industry-grade design software, aspiring game designers will learn level editing, 3D modeling, impactful gameplay creation, as well as how to utilize scripts and variables. Student-created games will be available on a password protected Black Rocket website to share with friends and family. Returning students can create more advanced projects that build on previous years.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon (ages 11-14); 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 8-11)

If you love the game Minecraft and always wanted to design your own world, this class is for you! Learn how to create a custom map, design structures to share between worlds, build with Redstone and Command blocks, and create custom textures for you to import at home or share with friends. Students must own a Java version of Minecraft to take this class. Tablet, phone, and game console versions of Minecraft are not compatible. Returning students can create more advanced projects that build on previous years.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon (ages 8-11); 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 11-14)

Want to learn the world’s fastest-growing programming language favored by Google, NASA, YouTube, and the CIA? Learn how to code with Python to create engaging apps and games. Each lesson takes you step-by-step on a programming path that will let you challenge friends with fun content you create from start to finish! Returning students can create more advanced projects that build on previous years.

Time: 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 11-14); 4:30 to 7 p.m. (ages 8-11)

Learn programming tools so powerful they seem like magic! Start off by learning an array of core programming concepts with JavaScript by experimenting in a series of digital challenges. Start with programming your first animated memes, then tackle more advanced skills such as interactive 3D experiences and game creation. Projects will be available on a password protected Black Rocket website to share with friends and family.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon (ages 11-14); 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 8-11)

Do you love movies with exciting special effects, like The Avengers, Star Wars, or Harry Potter? Amaze your friends by swinging a lightsaber or blasting fire from your hands and becoming a master of the illusions used by Hollywood artists to create visual effects magic. Whether you want to enhance your YouTube videos or create a cool scene to amaze your friends, this class teaches the tools you need. Experiment with visual effects as you learn the dynamics of camera angles, editing, graphic layering, and sound effects. Then watch as your new creations take your channel content to the next level! Student projects are available on a password protected Black Rocket website to share with friends and family.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon (ages 8-11); 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 11-14)

Battle Royale: Make Your First Fortnite Style Video Game

Fans of Fortnite we need you! Instead of playing the game, design your own. Using a professional 3D game development software, build levels and assets inspired by popular battle royale games like Fortnite. Students can participate in eSports League matches against other schools across the country with a chance to have their levels featured in the Black Rocket master build of the game! This course includes cartoonish action and battle sequences. Student-created games will be available on a password protected Black Rocket website to share with friends and family.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon (ages 8-11); 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 11-14)

Find your voice and leave your mark on the world! Whether you are six or sixteen, it’s time to start a career as the next YouTube star. Explore the variety of content and personalities that exist on YouTube and how to find your own niche. Learn the Dos and Don’ts of the platform and how to practice good digital citizenship. Develop your on-camera presence, your own channel branding, and professional editing skills. Take home a plan for launching your own channel with the content created in class! Student projects will be available on a password protected Black Rocket website to share with friends and family.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon (ages 11-14); 1 to 3:30 p.m. (ages 8-11)

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By Zigong