Category Archives: outreach

Demo at two SIUE Engineering Camps

Today was our second demonstration at the 2014 SIUE Engineering Summer Camp.  The two 1-week long camps introduced almost 70 high school students to various engineering disciplines, computer science and construction management through multiple kinds of activities.

Earlier in the week the campers spent several hours working with and building Mindstorm robots, so they were already familiar with the basic concepts and parts of a robot. We spent a few minutes talking about FIRST, FRC, and how we as students design, build, program and test our robots. We briefly showed off our robot, and spent the rest of the hour letting the students drive the robot.

Our mentors also walked around the room to talk with the students about the kinds of engineering  they want to study, and answered lots of questions about what its like to be engineers.

We did the same thing at last week’s camp, too.

Explaining FIRST, FRC and what goes into a robot

Campers could drive our large and small robots

After our session was done, some members of the SIUE Solar Car team invited us into their workshop, showed us their car, and talked about their new solar panel that they are fabricating. This was really great for our high school students to interact with college students to share experiences and passions for engineering and STEM, and to see that even though robots and solar cars are ultimately quite different, the engineering aspects are extremely similar.

We’re so lucky to be able to share our robotics experience with others. And while our goal is for our audiences to get a lot out of our demonstrations and talks, we know that we get just as much out of them.

STEM Day at Woodland Elementary

Today we participated in Woodland Elementary’s STEM Day. What a great way for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students to end their school year – a full day of STEM-related activities and projects. For the last event of the day, all 450 students and teachers got together in the gym to spend 20 minutes with our team.

We showed one of our videos while our students talked about FIRST, FRC, how the competitions work, and how they design, build, program, and test our robots. Then to the delight of the elementary students, our team demonstrated our 5ft-tall 120lb robot, showing among other things how it can drive, catch, and pass the large 2ft-diameter game ball. We concluded by telling the students that they, too, can get involved in robotics thanks to multiple area programs. (Edwardsville Robotics Club, our parent organization, now has multiple teams at the JrFLL, FLL, FTC, and FRC levels.)

Driving FRC Team 4931's robot at Woodland Elementary STEM Day FRC Team 4931 at Woodland Elementary STEM Day

This was our 4th outreach event since the end of the 2014 FRC season. It’s great to watch our students get up in front of large audiences and share their infectious excitement, passion and knowledge of robotics!