Discovery Faire at the Dallas Downtown LibraryTags: Outreach, Motivate, Connect, and Inspire
Task: Present at the Dallas City of Learning Discovery Faire
"Kids are invited to “Turn Up!” to make, create, craft, play and learn at the Dallas Public Library on Saturday June 20. The Dallas City of Learning free family event will be from 1 to 4 p.m. on various floors at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St."
Quote from Dallas City News Article
Iron Reign was one of many presenters at the Discovery Faire, showing various robots to curious kids and parents. We were on the top floor, and after rolling up assorted robots from the team's past years, we were set up across from Polyprinter people. Although it took a while for visitors to make their way up to us, we were working with and talking to a large crowd at the peak.
We set up multiple places for people to interact with. In the right-hand corner of our area we had a sumo field with 2 or 3 smaller lego robots running. On our main table we had our coca-cola cube 3d printer we won from an earlier grant, and the beginning of Argos was set up. Currently Argos uses color blob detection to follow a selected color from an android phone. Right now the phone is mounted on two servos and swivels in the direction of the color. Minion, our robotic "dog" was being driven by Tycho and was going around the whole area. A lot of kids wanted to try driving him around, and Tycho attempted to teach them the leash based controls.
The main attraction was our season robot, which was set up with a few foam tiles, a rolling goal, and a bunch of plastic balls in a box. We followed he path of the balls through the beater bar, into the chute, up the ski lift, and off the backboard into the tall rolling goal. We seemed to do better here than in any previous competition! A crowd of kids surrounded the robot, and while it was originally being driven around, we decided to keep it stationary later, only running the collection and scoring motors. It was hard to keep their hands away from the ski lift, something that could be broken easily, and that could potentially hook onto sweaters or necklaces. We told them to roll the balls towards the beater bar and watch as they travelled up and (hopefully) into the goals. They seemed really interested and engaged as we got a combo going, and started cheering as goals were made.
A lot of parents came by the booth, and we were distributing fliers and information for our high school, The Science and Engineering Magnet. Many asked question about the curriculum, entrance requirements, and robotics opportunities there. Parents of younger children asked for suggestions on how to become involved in robotics with their kids, and we suggested looking for FLL teams in their middle schools and scouting troops.