A large part of STEM education is raising awareness to kids and parents as to what it actually is. STEM isn’t just about messing around in a lab or writing complex equations on chalkboards. STEM is cool, and Penn Robotics Team 135 spends time each during the Northpoint Elementary and Mary Frank Elementary “Science Nights” to show young students what robotics and FIRST is all about.
This was the first year FTC was able to present their own exhibit along with FRC and it really got to show students the clear progression of robotics. One might think that the larger FRC robot would steal the show, but in reality kids hopped around both exhibits. All this really goes to show that the excitement of STEM isn’t bounded by size.
Throughout the evening, the FTC teams drove around their robots (with the added silliness of cardboard cutouts of Dean and Woodie taped on). FRC allowed kids to control their 2017 season robot on a mini version of the FIRST® Steamworks field.
Staffed together by FRC and FTC was the 3D printing exhibit showing people the latest advances in 3D printing and design. Throughout the evening various kids stood by and watched the printer go in amazement as the plastic layered up.
Overall, everyone attending and staffing the event had a great time. In the words of the event coordinator, Mr. Schroeder: “Dee and I would just like to thank everyone for your efforts to make it a great science night last night. We could not have the event without your generous support. We ended up with 24 exhibits with over 50 volunteers. By 6:00 pm, we had over 600 visitors walk through the front door.”
Written by: Drason Chow