by Masiha B.
We've had many outreach events this season so far, especially on professional development days. A few of our team members went to the Kelowna School District to share our experience with that community. We also got to introduce FIRST to teachers in our own Vancouver School District. And we had the opportunity to host the FLL kickoff and co-host the FTC kickoff with another local FTC team. This kickoff was the first regional event where all the teams in the area gathered for information and trial runs of the new season.
Expanding our connections in the province
At the end of August, we sent a couple of our team members to Kelowna in the Okanagan so that they could run a workshop for teachers in the Kelowna School District about FLL. The FIRST Senior Mentor for British Columbia along with FRC Regional Director, we took turns helping teachers to quickly build and program robots using Spike Prime and EV3’s. We then tried out a few of the new missions for the season, Cargo Connect. This gave the teachers a good sense for the joys and the challenges of playing the game. By the end of the workshop, our Kelowna teachers were well equipped to pass FLL on to students at their respective schools.
Meanwhile, back in Vancouver...
This past October we joined our forces (no pun intended) with the the FIRST LEGO League partner, Uschi Leslie, to run another FLL workshop at St. Patrick's Secondary. It was a ProD Day, and teachers from around the Vancouver School District had been invited to participate. Similarly to what we had done in Kelowna, we divided the group of teachers in pairs, and half of them worked with Spike Prime and the other half worked with EV3 Mindstorms. Once they finished building their robots, we helped them program them and stayed with them answering questions while they tried out the game missions. Our aim was to make sure they left with a clear sense for how to run FLL.
Season Kickoff Events
We co-hosted the FTC kickoff with Parabellum. This was the first in person event we were able to attend with other teams present since the championship event last March 2020 due to the pandemic. There were about 6-8 teams and each team had around 6-10 people. We had a few robots on display from last season. All teams were super excited, as we patiently waited for FIRST Robotics BC's Head Referee to set up the new season's game field for the season reveal. Once the game had been revealed, We teamed up with another FTC Team, Parabellum, to help prepare teams for the new season. Parabellum's presentation was about their previous season's robot and their programming. In our presentation we covered outreach, finance, and engineering notebook based on our experience from previous seasons. At the end of the event, new FTC teams left not only with all the info they needed to start off the season, but also a few walked out with some loot. Just for fun, we taped a piece of paper under 4 chairs at random before the event started, and at the end, whoever sat on those chairs got to take home a REV robotics t-shirt.
In the afternoon, we also hosted the FLL kickoff, which to our surprise wasn’t as packed with only 3 teams in attendance. After the game reveal, the bulk of our presentation covered the 3 key components of FLL: Robot Game, Project, and Core Values. The game trailer was presented to all the attendees with the game table in person. There were a few tables with EV3 and Spike Prime so that students and coaches at the event could try them out.
We plan to do other outreach activities as the season progresses.... stay tuned to find out how we do!