After the Jesubots learning experience at worlds, through interaction with the best teams from all over the world, we came back to Kansas City with plenty of inspiration and ideas to become more active in the community. The team and coaches decided we would hold several robotics camps, for younger students to increase their interest in STEAM fields. Through many brainstorming we decided using the VEX program would be the best for our camps, due to its simplicity which allows for faster building, which is preferred by younger campers. Furthermore, after many numerous jokes about a water themed competition in FRC next year, we came up with a underwater robotics camp using the LEGO Mindstorm system.
The first camp, designated VEX IQ Level 1, began June 6th. We had over thirty participants, between grades 1 to 5. The campers worked together to build a robot, and complete in a game. Called swept away the game involved picking up sections of pool noodles, carrying them a given distance, and depositing them in containers. The camp was successful, as the young campers learned much about robotics and teamwork in a fun environment, inspiring many to come back next summer.
Our next camp, entitled VEX Cortex Level 1, was designed for older students from two were coming into 7th grade to those coming into the 9th grade. Again, we had roughly thirty precipitates. Building and programming the VEX EDR system, the same system the Rockhurst High School Students use in our robotics classes. This camp also taught students about Robotics and STEAM, at the same time showing them what some Rockhurst High School Robots classes are like. These students also completed in a final game, a variation of the VEX IQ Level 1 game. This time, competitors did not have separate noodle piles, instead having to complete for noodles from a central pile. This camp turned out great, and inspired students to sign up for the Class at Rockhurst if they were incoming freshman, and inspired others to return next year.
The next camp VEX IQ Level 2, was essentially a more challenging version of VEX IQ Level 1. This camp, also offered for students grades 1-5 competed in the same competition with a catch. The students learned to program their own Robots, and were able to program the robots with a little help. We had roughly thirty campers, some of whom attended the VEX IQ Level 1 camp earlier that summer. Vex IQ level 2 was designed to mimic a robotics class at Rockhurst. With this in mind, the competition was Nothing But Net, essentially a game of basketball with robots. As in the class, the students built and programmed robots.
The Underwater robotics camp is by far the camp everyone’s been waiting for. This camp is designed for students that have completed the sixth seventh or eighth grades. Campers worked in teams to build and program LEGO NXT robots to function underwater. The robots had to save LEGO mini figures from a Kiddie pool. With around thirty campers, the camp planned to take an ROV, a robot built by the Jesubots, to the Kansas City Zoo and drive it around the lake. Or the Alligator pit, in case we wanted to break it for any reason.
The Jesubots latest community outreach project is focused around the natural history museum at Prairiefire in Kansas. Outreach was originally going to be a single trip to the museum to host a VEX Cortex robot build for first graders through fifth graders. After immediate success and the realization that fifth graders can not build and program a robot in an hour, the museum invited Team 5809 back to continue helping the kids build robots. What stemmed from the first meeting turned out to be two more planned events, then later three engineers from a local engineering firm were present to aid the kids in robot building. Team 5809 looks forward to co-hosting future events at Prairiefire.