Eanes Elementary FLL Program
We had an enriching and successful year for FLL at Eanes Elementary. 2468 mentors established two new teams of 4 kids each — the Austinati and Mustang Mechanics. The young students met the challenge and excitement of their rookie year, learning about programming, building, and the game. We focused on the learning process for the bulk of the season, and the kids gained deep understanding in coding and NXT mechanics. The kids went into high gear at the tournament and had a rewarding and exhilarating, though frantic experience. Both the Mustang Mechanics and Austinati placed in the top half in the tournament, and the Austinati advanced to regionals as well as won the Innovative Solution award.
Hill Country Middle School FLL Program
One of the FLL teams that we mentor is an all-girls team from Hill Country Middle School, the LadyBots. They are a rookie team and are part of a brand new initiative to start an FLL program at Hill Country. Two of our team members worked with them twice a week in order to prepare them for competition, where they earned the Core Values Inspire Award.
Since our school’s FTC teams have only freshmen and sophomores, FTC is the students’ introduction to our robotics program. Choosing between 6 teams (one of which is all-girls), FTC students can learn valuable skills in mechanical, programming, and electrical fields, as well as gain leadership experience. While doing so, the students design and build competition robots, apply real-world math and science concepts, develop problem solving skills- and have fun!
The structure of our FTC/FRC combination gives the students a unique opportunity to build confidence and experience engineering before becoming more specialized on the FRC team. FRC students mentor the FTC teams throughout their season, offering a variety of skills and advice to keep the students engaged. This, in combination with our FLL teams, creates a diverse and sustainable program, which brings in students at every age.
Team 2468 also actively spreads STEM education overseas. We were 1 of 13 FRC teams who travelled to China last summer to mentor several rookie Chinese teams, helping them build a robot for the China Robotics Challenge off–season tournament. We are excited 3 of these teams will join us in Texas for the 2016 Alamo FRC Regional and spend a few days on our campus to prepare for the tournament. We created a Chinese-to-English dictionary of FRC terms to help ease the language barrier for Chinese FIRST teams. Recently, we branched out to remotely mentor FRC 5038 from Israel and will continue connecting to teams abroad through our international outreach efforts.