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Maliah Lett, 8, left, and Abby Wheeler, 10, solve programming challenges at Fort Belvoir Library, Friday. The Coding Alibi game requires movement commands be properly sequenced so the on-screen character can navigate obstacles. 

Libraries are known as places of quiet and reading, but the Fort Belvoir Library was filled with laughs and smiles, Friday, at Robot Rodeo. Children learned visual programming while off from classes during a school teacher work day. 

Nilya Carrato, supervisory librarian, said what the children learned in the Robot Rodeo can be a foundation for later learning skills. 

“This teaches them creative problem solving, even if they don’t go into coding jobs,” Carrato said, “They get to figure out why something isn’t working.” 

She said the rodeo is one of many upcoming activities that MWR and the library will offer with hands-on, directed play. 

Collier Landry, 12, a student attending the rodeo, was unfazed by the laughter in the room. He was totally focused on creating a repeatable path for his tiny, OZOBOT, about the size of a ping pong ball, operating on the table. 

“This is my first time to code,” Landry said, “I like it because of the robots, and I get to draw.” 

For more information on library events, call 703-805-4244 or visit their website at belvoir. armymwr.com/ programs/ library. 

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A dash robot used during the program.

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Collier Landry, 12, draws command codes onto the path as he programs an OZOBOT during Fort Belvoir Library's Robot Rodeo. 

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Nilya Carrato, Fort Belvoir Supervisory Librarian, explains how to draw computer codes onto a path for tiny robots. The Robot Rodeo was a learning activity during Friday's teacher workday. 

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Moving characters across the screen requires Abby Wheeler, 10, to attach command cards in the correct sequence during Fort Belvoir Library's Robot Rodeo. 

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A girl uses an on-screen programming tool to move a dash robot across the library at a Robot Rodeo.