2017 Biola Enrichment Program

In the summer of 2017, our team took the wonderful opportunity to help Inspire One’s Biola Enrichment Program. Inspire One is an organization that educates children in creative arts and strives to build cross-cultural and socioeconomic bridges. This enrichment program takes place in the town of Biola, a community outside of Fresno with a population of a little over one thousand. It reaches almost one hundred children.

The opening session for this program consists of singing, dancing, and story time. On the days our team went out there,  the kids had the opportunity to ask several of our team members questions about the robot and FIRST competitions. Then our drive team demonstrated our robot- driving it around, picking up gears, and climbing a rope.

Following this, we divided the kids into groups of five to eight and assigned team members to each group. On the first day, we had one team member in each group pretend to be a robot and had the kids give him commands in order to complete objectives such as picking up a chair. In this way, we demonstrated to the kids that you have to communicate with the robot for it to do what you want it to do. This activity led to a discussion about programming. On our second day there, with the assistance of the team members, the kids constructed a car with clothespins, pipe cleaners, and buttons.

Because of this program, the kids get free breakfast and lunch at the local elementary school. This is also a great opportunity for the kids to bond with teen volunteers. Aside from what we taught them about robotics, the kids got to go on a few field trips including a fishing trip and an ice skating rink. They also got to learn more about cooking and photography. Typically, they finished the week off with a fun water day.

The children who live in Biola often spend their summer days home alone since their parents have to work in the fields. We feel that this program has had a tremendously positive impact on such children. We were honored to be able to introduce them to STEM.

2017 Girls World Expo

In March 2017, Team 3303 members Morgan McRee, Kayley Griffin, and Abigail Callis attended the Girls’ World Expo in downtown Fresno. They were able to speak with almost 1000 young women about the exciting and challenging things we learn through FIRST robotics and the possibilities for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). The young women talked to had unique sets of interests, and were from all walks of life and age groups. Each one discovered something about FIRST Robotics that intrigued them, whether it be the building and programming of the robot or the business and public relations side.

The three 3303 students also took the practice robot to demonstrate for the girls at the Expo, which sparked wonder and amazement in the eyes of those who watched it. One of the 3303 girls specifically remembers thinking “this is why we are here” upon seeing one young lady intently studying the robot and its electronics and wiring. Our student knew that girl was inspired that day and hopes she goes on to discover great things in STEM!

Team 3303’s members were joined by two other local FIRST Robotics Competition teams, Buchanan Bird Brains Team 1671 from Buchanan High School and Uni-rex Team 5817 from Sanger High. 3303 was also joined be a FIRST LEGO League team, Team P.O.P. Team P.O.P. is an all-girls team with ages ranging from 9 to 14. It was a pleasure to meet them and to hear their enthusiasm as they explained their F.L.L. challenge for the year to us and how they had qualified for World Championships (we actually had the opportunity to wish them luck at World Championships when we qualified at the Los Angeles Regional).

It was fun and more importantly, an honor, to represent FIRST and Central Valley Robotics at this event alongside Uni-rex, The Bird Brains, and Team P.O.P. It is also extremely satisfying to know that we had the opportunity to help change the culture of STEM Education for girls.

2016 Fresno Elementary School STEAM Outreach

On December 14, Team 3303 partnered with Fresno Ideaworks for a community outreach at a local elementary school. We did a Santa’s Workshop where each student had the opportunity to make little robots of their own! In the past, the after school program would  give away toys to the students and celebrate, but they decided a better gift would be to give them the experience of wiring their own robot. The students were all so enthusiastic and they enjoyed every moment of it.

The robot options were a scribble bot, that consisted of a plastic cup, a motor, and some pens. A bristle bot, that was the end of a toothbrush and a motor. Or a catapult, made of laser cut wood which was assembled and used to fire objects at cup towers.

It was inspiring watching their faces light up when we told them they’d be making robots. They picked up the building concepts very quickly, and were so willing to learn. It was cool to see how much joy the students got from making something as simple as a scribble bot.  By the end of the night, we had just over 200 students come through.

It was also really nice to get to know more Ideaworks members while we worked. We look forward to more outreaches in the future and would like to thank Ideaworks for inviting us to this awesome event.

 

2016 Fresno Mini Maker Faire

On Sunday, April 17, Team 3303 participated in the Fresno Mini Maker Faire at Chukchansi Park. Occurring during a Fresno Grizzlies game, the Mini Maker Faire is an event where anyone can bring a creative work, and display it to the public within the stadium. Our team was proud of one of our team members and her three sisters, who were invited to sing the national anthem before the Fresno Grizzlies game.

Our team was privileged to participate in this event alongside Teams 1671 and 3495. For this event, our team showcased our robot and provided demonstrations of our robot crossing the cheval de frise and rock wall. We also had opportunities to share about our team and talk about the FIRST organization to everyone that visited us. Additionally, our team passed out fliers for the live stream showing of the 2016  World Championship at our work space at Fresno Ideaworks.

 

Our team at the Mini Maker Faire:

Pic from minmaker fair