This update comes from Owen S., who had to take a few days off to rest up for the 2016 season! The Green Machine’s outreach calendar has been busy this summer. Recently, we visited four elementary schools in Woodbury, where we set up STEM activities for summer Kids Clubs in each of these schools. In only two days, just about 300 kids built aluminum foil boats and tested how many pennies each boat could hold before it sank to the bottom of a bucket; raced marbles down pool noodles, and had a chance to drive our 2014 robot, Zeke. This event brought together young engineers from ages 5 to 12. Judging by the smile, it looked like everyone had a great experience with STEM and robotics!
Allison S. was one of the The Green Machine members who participated in the 2015 National Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC. Speaking to elected officials about the importance of funding STEM education was only part of the adventure. After traveling to Washington DC to advocate for STEM education, members of 1816 are getting some rest after a long journey back home. The morning we were scheduled to leave, we attended the weekly “Breakfast with Al,” a meet-and-greet held by MN Senator Al Franken. Originally, we were scheduled to meet, greet, take a photo and then dash to the airport for the trip back home. However, that’s not how it turned out. Our original flight was delayed, and then delayed again.
On June 2nd, The Green Machine returned to Edina’s City Hall to give our team’s annual ‘State of STEM in Edina’ presentation to the Edina City Council. This year’s ‘State of STEM’ presentation focused on how Team 1816 has been impacting our community with what we've been doing to raise awareness of STEM within our schools and through extra-curricular teams. Among our city council audience were many supporters of our team, including Edina's mayor, James Hovland. In our brief, three-minute presentation, we touched on team history, outreach, and our achievements this year, such as winning the Regional Chairman's Award and writing the winning entry for one of our mentors, Mark Lawrence, to earn the National Woodie Flowers Award for mentoring and STEM education.
We're embarking on a new outreach endeavor to provide relief to earthquake victims in Nepal. The country has been hit with two devastating earthquakes, and 1816 wants FIRST to be part of the effort to provide aid to survivors. To raise money, 1816 is selling T-shirts designed by a member of our own CAD subteam! You can buy the shirts at teespring.com/earthquake-relief-shirts, and consider getting your team involved and spreading the link on social media to help us reach our goal. The Green Machine will be starting a plethora of new outreach projects in the off-season, which will begin with the end of our competition season.
The Green Machine was honored to join some of the best FIRST teams in the nation and the world at the FIRST Championship at the end of April. We were extremely proud of our drive team and robot, Zebruh, when 1816 was chosen as first pick for the fifth alliance on the Curie Field. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the semifinals in our subdivision, but cannot say enough good things about being picked to be in the playoff rounds! We saw so many things at Championship. Several of us went to Union Station to check out the Jr FLL and FTC competitions, while many more of us took advantage of talking directly to college reps who came to Scholarship Row, and best of all, we got to visit with team sponsor PTC!
It is hard to believe that it’s already time to pack the trailer and head south to St. Louis, MO for the 2015 FIRST World Championships! To keep up our spirits as we make our way to the Dome, a new video wrapping up the 10,000 Lakes Regional is now online. Trying to capture everything that goes into a FIRST competition is tough, but this video montage maybe will get more people to watch the World Championships this weekend via the NASA LiveStream!
1816s busy March continued with Outreach events at local schools. Peter O. sent in this update! It was a busy Friday evening for The Green Machine, as team members hosted a robot demo and game stand at Concord Elementary School in Edina, as part of Concord’s annual Carnival. We offered our popular “Tower Challenge,” where kids competed to build the tallest tower they could out of Styrofoam blocks and toothpicks. Our robot demo was popular too, with the kids enjoying the opportunity to use the robot to shoot baskets. Along with all the fun, we spread the message about FIRST Robotics, and we again took the opportunity to talk with the parents attending the Carnival about the upcoming Edina School District referendum on Tuesday, May 5, 2015.
For the first of two regional competitions this year, Team 1816 attended the Lake Superior Regional, Duluth, MN. Our robot, Zebruh, performed very well in its first outing of Recycle Rush, and landed us in fifth place after qualifications. We moved up into fourth place during alliance selections and remained alliance captains, picking our own alliance to compete in the afternoon playoff rounds. Although we didn't advance to the semifinals, The Green Machine learned much more about the game as well as our robot's abilities. We plan to make some modifications and practice our driving skills before the 10,000 Lakes Regional, April 3 – 4, at the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena.
It's been a mad scramble in the workshop as all of our subteams are working overtime to put the finishing touches on all things needed for competition. Now that Zebruh is enjoying a nap in its special plastic bag, we have had time to put the finishing touches on our pit, our Junkyard Robot and our banners before we leave for Duluth to participate in the Lake Superior Competition at the DECC. We've also had a bit of down time, perfect for going over competition safety with the team, revisiting team expectations (like packing warm coats to wear between hotel and arena), and addressing good competition conduct, including and especially, Gracious Professionalism. This year, many have speculated about how the new game, Recycle Rush, will change competition dynamics.
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