Discover Summer FairTags: motivate
Task: Teach kids how to program and 3D-model at the Discover Summer Fair
Students drive-test their newly-programmed LEGO robots
This Saturday was the Discover Summer Fair organized by the City of Dallas Learning. Considering this was our very first MXP event to kick off the season, we had a large turnout of up to 500 participants for both the 3D printing station and the Sumo-Robots game. The purpose of this event is to spread STEM programs to students in the Dallas area who would have otherwise had no access to such activities.
We started out by setting up the MXP and the EV3 robots. After ensuring that the MXP was stocked up with laptops and 3D printers, we set up sumo mats, laptops, and LEGO Mindstorm robots in tables outside the vehicle. We wanted to kick-off the first outreach event of the season by demoing our competition robot from Worlds, Icarus, so we had to mmake sure Icarus was able to both balance and drive around.
Between the four of us, there were so many partcipants that we had made the decision to teach them as a group to maximize efficiency. Making every step of the teaching process - whether it's block-programming a robot or modelling a keychain - as interactive and engaging as possible allowed us to easily communicate with large groups of participants.
Our station could not have run as smoothly as it did without the help of Big Thought for helping us staff and maintain the MXP, and for allowing us to introduce FIRST to so many young partcipants by giving us a booth at the fair. 3D-modelling and programming are, at the end of day, two important concepts encompassed within FIRST. Watching students who had little to no experience with robotics marvel at their keychain designs and their robots coming to life allowed us to see firsthand the impact we were hoping to make with our MXP events - to teach kids of all ages and all backgrounds that robotics was for everyone.