This season, the girls of our team – Rachael, Krittika, Sarah, and Susan - organized and ran numerous outreaches for other girls in our community to get hands-on experiences with building, programming, and driving metal and Lego robots.
In October, we set up a booth at the first annual Harrisburg Girls World Expo, which is an event that promotes girls in STEM and the arts. Rachael and Sarah were part of the STEM Advisory Board, so they were able to secure a spot for our team to hold a robot demonstration. Our whole team worked together to design, build, and program a demo robot specifically for outreaches. Over one hundred girls from around the community were able to drive our robot and practice shooting balls into a goal, just like we did during FTC matches.
Later, in February, we hosted a workshop at a local Girl Scouts Lock-In sleepover event for elementary- through high-school aged girls. As Rachael and Sarah are Girl Scouts and there are few STEM opportunities for Girl Scouts in central PA, they wanted to hold more outreaches for fellow Girl Scouts to learn about STEM. Here, around twenty to thirty girls of varying ages practiced building and programming Lego Mindstorms robots and learned how to drive metal FTC robots through an obstacle course.
Our most recent robotics outreach for girls was a one-day Lego Mindstorms robotics camp on March 4th, 2017. In January, Rachael approached the Girl Scout Council of troop leaders in central PA to discuss expansion of STEM outreach for girls and pitched the idea of creating a one-day robotics camp for girls across the community, which the Council immediately approved and agreed to help advertise for. We planned the event from scratch, creating the curriculum, reserving the room, putting together the Lego robot kits, and serving as teachers for the camp, among many other responsibilities. The interest was so high among girls in our local community that the enrollment limit was reached within one week of advertising! We taught building concepts, such as the parts of a basic Lego robot, as well as EV3 programming concepts, such as different types of sensors used to navigate the environment. The camp was a hit, and we plan to hold the camp again next year.
All in all, the 2016-2017 season was very successful year in terms of outreach, and we plan to expand our outreach next year, by possibly holding outreaches for high school girls and coordinating more robot demonstrations at venues around the community.