Last year, with the help from our Development Team, several robotics team members devised a business plan for the team that included a desire and a mandate to actively engage in community outreach and education efforts. In the Team Outreach and Impact section of the business plan, students wrote the following:
"We want to spread knowledge of the FIRST Robotics program and the opportunities it presents. We want to help younger generations get into and like something that we are extremely passionate about."
This past weekend, members of the robotics team and students in the Business, Fundraising and Community Outreach class organized and staffed a STEM education booth at the Bend Fall Festival. Our 10' x 10' tent was packed with the Lego robotics kits, computer tablets, and enthusiastic upper school students necessary to provide festival goers with the experience of building and programming their own robotic creations. The upper school students that volunteered to teach the kids were attentive, patient, and engaging. They were also adept at tailoring their presentations to meet the age and experience levels of the kids that stopped by to learn and play. It was quite a challenge to be teaching a 4 year old one minute and a 12 year old the next! Parents and kids that stopped by the tent were very appreciative of the team's education efforts and they left with smiles and a wonderful, positive STEM experience. Many parents also took snapshots of the Lego boxes so that they could go online and buy a set for their children to continue the learning at home. When the students and I packed up the tent on Sunday evening, it felt great knowing that we may have inspired some kids to get more involved in science, technology and engineering.
Look out for announcements about future STEM community events by following the robotics team on instagram @real_mystic_biscuit. Students will also be volunteering at the FIRST Lego League regional competition on December 16th at Mountain View High School. Also, a big thanks to Lay it Out Events, the Fall Festival organizers, for waiving the booth fee for the team! You can also learn more about our robotics program here.