The school year is divided into two main sections. One is the “off-season” where we work to teach new members the skills that they will need. The other section is the “competition” season where we implement those skills in order to build a robot that we compete with.
We compete in the FIRST robotics competitions as Team 3863. At the beginning of the season every team is given the same list of objectives that the robot needs to be able to complete. We use the skills that we have learned over the course of the off-season to build a robot that can successfully complete these objectives. FIRST teaches us many valuable skills beyond the traditional scope of STEM. They encourage cooperation between teams despite the competitive environment. By teaching us that we can learn amazing things from the other teams, our members learn the value of collaboration with other people.
One of the major things that FIRST encourages is outreach to the community. We try very hard to reflect all of the values of FIRST and outreach is no exception. One of our major outreach methods is Family Science Nights. In our community, several local elementary schools will host these events. At these events we will hold demonstrations of some of our more interactive projects. By doing this we are able to encourage children to become interested in STEM. Getting children interested in STEM early on, we are able to foster the next generation of engineers to be better than ours.