Community Outreach 2017-18
Community Outreach is a key part of our team activities in the 2017-18 season. Our team outreach focuses on connecting with kids in our community to get them interested in robotics, engineering, STEM, and especially FIRST. Getting to share our robots with kids gets them excited about science and technology, preparing them to become the next generation of engineers and FIRST competitors.
Astromechs FLL Team 2017-18
Again this year we will be sharing our space and mentoring the Astromechs FLL team 25094. In addition to coaching for the 2017-18 FLL Challenge, we will be preparing FLL team members of the appropriate age to join our rookie FTC team in fall 2018.
Kansas City Maker Faire 2017
In June, the Astromechs were loud and proud at the 2017 Maker Faire Kansas City at Union Station. We had three robots onsite for kids (and adults!) to drive. We talked to many visitors about FIRST and how they could get involved. We also drove one of our demo robots through the Maker Faire to bring more people into the FIRST area of the event.
Girl Scout Day Camp 2017
In July, members of the team were again invited to teach at Girl Scout Day Camp for Girl Scout Service Unit 605. We taught girls from kindergarten to third grade about electricity and switches by working with them to build a light-up greeting card with LEDs, batteries, cooper tape and office supplies. Older Girl Scouts, grades 4-6th, learned similar lessons about electricity and switches with our introduction to soldering class in which we coached each girl through soldering our exclusive firefly kit. On the last day of camp, we also were able to teach these STEM concepts to older teen Girl Scout volunteers at camp. And of course we took our trusty demo bot, Rusty, so we could talk with the girls about FIRST and robotics programs.
NFLT Summer Co-op
Members of the Astromechs FTC team taught two classes for the Northland Families Learning Together (NFLT) Summer Co-op program in North Kansas City. The NFLT is a group of home-schooling families who collaborate to create interesting programs for their member families. The first of the four day classes our Astromechs taught was an Introduction to Electricity and Robotics for Young Engineers (ages 5-9), in which students learned about electricity, circuits, switches and robots. The second of these two classes was offered for students ages 9+ and included electricity, switches, robotics and an introduction to soldering. In each group, we also took time to share about the FIRST programs and allowed students to drive our demo robot, Rusty.
Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts
We were invited to talk to Cub Scout Pack 247 about robotics and FIRST for their first pack meeting of the year. We used our two Outreach bots (Rusty and Mechanum) and our competition bot from Velocity Vortex (Nova) to teach the kids about the mechanical and technical aspects of robotics. Afterwards, the Cubmaster and Den Leaders were given the chance to drive the robot and we answered questions from kids and adults alike about how they can join a FIRST team. We later returned to do a more in-depth presentation on the merits of FIRST and how it is similar to Boy Scouts for Pack 247's Blue and Gold meeting. We were excited to be the guests of honor at that event.
On November 11 we hosted the meets RoboSho Won and Too. Six teams played in the first event and ten in the second. We were proud to host teams at the local community college's business and technology campus, and Astromechs, alumni, friends, and family volunteered for the event. Everything ran smoothly In addition, we filmed a video explaining how to run an FTC meet for anyone that wants to try it.
We were invited to share with several Girl Scout troops in the second semester of our season. Through this avenue we reached several dozen girls. The girls jumped right into STEM with an engineering program that invited them to build LEGO arms to throw marshmallows across the room, and program those arms to move. Both programs were great successes.
Blue Valley CAPS Scrimmage
Along with our friends at Blue Valley CAPS Cobalt Colts #6547, we helped run a scrimmage just before Super Regionals for teams who would not have the opportunity to compete again that season. We hope to expand the Blue Valley CAPS Scrimmage next year by inviting more teams to participate.
Girls in Tech - Hour of Code
Two of our team members attended a Kansas City Girls in Tech Hour of Code and were given the opportunity to speak to hundreds of middle school and high school students and educators about the merits of FIRST for girls interested in STEM and computer science. In addition, our team members were mentoring middle school girls in computer science by participating in the event, and talked to their mentees about the Astromechs.