The topic of outreach has become more prevalent in the recent years of FRC Team 4311. Usually our team, at least in the past, was just into competition and that is it. While our time has become more skilled, we have broadened our horizons and now have a goal to make ourselves known in the Town of Swampscott. Not just that, but outreach is a major help when it comes to going for awards such as Chairman's Award. This section highlights some of the Outreach projects we have worked on in the past as well as ideas we hope to work on in the future.
Past Outreach Events
Middle School STEM Week- In the 2019 season, we decided to do our first widespread outreach event besides STEM night. There is a week during the school year for middle schoolers with the name of "STEM Week" where after school there are a host of programs that educate these middle school kids on the benefits and different types of STEM. During that week we brought in a robot and showcased how it worked. We also set up a little course and let kids drive it around for a little bit(Of course with close monitoring). This is very important in hindsight because this encourages new members to be interested in the domain of robotics so when they come to the high school, there is more of a chance that they will join the team.
Farmer's Market- In the 2019 season, we also decided to go to the Farmer's Market for one weekend as more of an easy form of outreach. Our booth is of course in the tech lounge because has the most outlets for setting up our booth. The set up is the same for STEM night i.e. we have a board with all our accomplishments and we explain what we do. We also drive the robot around for demonstration purposes. On the side we have a popcorn machine to sell popcorn to people in order to receive extra donation. It is simple and very doable. Not to mention, the people there are very interesting and seem to appreciate our passion for robotics.
STEM Night- This Outreach is essentially just a given at this point. Every year we get invited to the STEM Night which is an event that displays to parents the STEM that Swampscott High School performs. Besides us, there are multitudes of other people who have booths to show off STEM. Also, this date is usually where the science fair is held so that attracts even more parents. The booth is very similar to farmers market minus the popcorn and this time we let kids ride on the robot via a rope with a cart on the back. With a future bot we hope to put a seat on top of the robot but that can go two ways.
Robotics Workshop- The goal for this is to essentially get a group of kids in middle school and essentially have a set of remote classes that teach entry-level robotics. Each kid that signs up will receive a vex kit that is inventoried before hand and each week they will complete challenges that teach them the concepts for coding, mechanical, and electrical. Though this will take planning, it is definitely doable.
Donating Knowledge- From the ideas of Douglas Dwyer, there is a selection of books in the robotics room that involve the use of code that we do not need so we can simply donate those to the library. Though it isn't much, it is still some sort of outreach. This is important due to limited options in the pandemic.