Outreach & Fundraising
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and a lack of mentors, we have not been able to organize the Test and Prototype (TAP) team this year. However, we have employed other methods to interact with members of the community and future team members. We have launched a repl.it course on Java programming fundamentals. The course teaches potential team members about the programming language Java, which the programming team uses on a daily basis with our work in FTC. With units published periodically, students can check in to the course, read about Java, and submit solutions to brief exercises made by team members. We currently have 10 members, but hope to gain more in the future!
Zoom With FLL Team
Earlier this year, our team met with a local FLL team on zoom. The kids on the team were 3rd and 4th graders, and they were curious about our team and FTC in general. We talked to them about gracious professionalism and how we organize our team into build, programing, and outreach. Towards the end we showed them our robot, which the kids loved! They wanted to know what materials we use, our build process, and what our end goal is. Many children were joined by their parents on the call, and the parents had questions about how their children can get involved with FTC when they are older. It was a great opportunity to talk to the kids that will likely be the future of FTC, and it was good to discuss our team. In the future we hope to work more with this team, or with other local FLL teams.
Summer Coding Program (Scratch)
Over the summer 2019, from July 9th - 13th, our team hosted a Scratch coding class for 4th - 6th graders for an hour a day. Lots of work went into actually setting up the program, and further efforts went into teaching it. As can be seen in our engineering notebook, several emails were sent (As can be seen below) and meetings were set up with Mrs. Szabo, the head of Children’s Services at the Wilton Library, to plan and organize the week-long class. Through this planning, we discussed the syllabus that we would teach, which is pasted below, the number of kids we would like to see in the program, and the number of teachers we would need. Since we ended up getting 16 sign-ups for our class, we invited a third teacher outside of our robotics team, Ben Grass, to help out. This allowed us to spread the word about FIRST not only to the kids we taught and to the head of Children’s Services, but also to other high schoolers. Throughout the week, my sister, Ben, and I taught kids the basics of Scratch, such as creating and moving sprites, manipulating backgrounds, and basic knowledge of variables and conditional loops. One of my favorite projects that I saw was an animation of several ‘Fortnite’ dances. In total, as we had three teachers teaching 16 kids for an hour a day, we provided 240 hours of instructional time and 15 hours of service to our community through this project!
Summer Coding Program (Java and Python)
Furthermore, later that summer from July 23rd-27th, our team hosted a Java and Python coding class for 7-8th graders for an hour and a half a day. We coordinated the program with Mrs. Lauricella, our team advisor and the head of Teen Services at the Wilton Library. This class was taught by Rohit and Rishabh, and we used the Codecademy curriculum to guide the kids through the basics of each language. We had a relatively small class, only 6 kids, but each and everyone loved the week-long program; we are hoping to expand it next year. Throughout the week, we taught the kids basic Java structure and syntax for the first two days, basic Python structure and syntax for the next two days, and then had a work and question day on the fifth day to help the kids absorb all the information they had gained throughout the week. In total, we put in 90 hours of instructional time and 15 hours of service to our community through the course. Below is attached a picture of our class!
Innovation Day is an annual event that the Wilton Library hosts where all sorts of people can come in and set up a station where they display what they have either invented or innovated upon. This year Innovation Day hosted a multitude of stations such as robotics, hovercraft, virtual reality with the HTC Vive, green screen photos, spray tattoos, take-apart table, button making, soldering and much more! All members of our team take part in this event to support the library, and do many different things such as display our robot on the stage and help out with the various stations. Not only are we displaying our robot but we get to learn how to man each station, work with kids, and teach about the station. This day really helps our team come close to the community and is a great way to get to know some of the people in it. This also helps our team show our community what we do and is a great opportunity to display our robot and the work gone into building it.
Donation of Lego Parts to Cider Mill
During the 2019-2020 season, our team donated a box of Lego parts to our local elementary school, Cider Mill. As the Legos had become obsolete for our team to use, we decided to donate them to the school in order to spark curiosity in STEM in younger members of our community. The full list of parts and the letter we sent along with them can be found below. In addition to providing a box of Legos, our team has been in contact with Mr. Jason Greasley, who helps organize STEM activities for the students at the school. With his help, we are planning on going down to the elementary school on January 25th to present our robot to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders and get them excited about learning about STEM topics.
Thanksgiving Scrimmage and Charity Event
2018 was our first year hosting a scrimmage. It was held on November 18th from 10-3, and we spent time with other teams working on our robots and collaborating. Each team presented their robot in front of all the other teams and spoke about any issues they were facing, and then everyone made suggestions. We also got to run a couple of practice matches. Admission for the teams was a donation of items which were given to social services and distributed to families in need for Thanksgiving. The scrimmage was productive for our team and others, as well as a way of giving back to our community!
During the 2018-2019 season, we presented to our local elementary school, Cider Mill, and a middle school in Stamford, Cloonan Middle School. We presented various aspects of our team to over 100 kids. Members of our team spoke about aspects such as build, programming, outreach, and even got to talk about important life skills that we use throughout our season. Furthermore, we spoke a little about the engineering world and what FTC could help us achieve in life. The students also got a chance to experience the robot in action and drive it alongside our drive team. Overall, this was an amazing experience for our team and the students.
During the 2019-2020 season, we presented at the Middlebrook Middle School science fair. Although the presentation was not planned very far in advance, it was a success! The students asked lots of questions and liked taking a try driving the robot.
Destroy Your Hard Drive Day
Our sixth annual Destroy Your Hard Drive Day at the Wilton Library in November allowed us to raise $1,890 for our team while providing a valuable service for the community. At this event, members of the community bring their old computers and we safely remove and destroy the hard drives within for $20 per computer. We also provide a recycling service to dispose of the whole computer if the customer chooses. Between taking apart circa 1990's computers and using a variety of tools to do so, our team members have a chance to expand their knowledge about technology, while community members, especially little kids, have the opportunity to see the inside of their computers. Additionally, team members speak with the community about FIRST and we display the FTC game animation onstage for people to learn more about the program. The most frequent question we get is "How can I/my child do this?!" We greatly appreciate the community's support for our team, which continues to make our favorite November day a success!