Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day Flowers for 4th Grade

Today three other students and I visited Mr. Lander's fourth grade class at Tompkins Elementary School to teach them about closed circuits. We did a hands-on activity to create a closed circuit using an LED light, a battery, and copper tape. Since its Valentines Day, we decided to have them make light-up, paper flowers. These fourth graders were very bright students and were very excited during the activity. We love going to the elementary schools and doing activities with the students. We hope to partner up with Mr. Lander and more classes to bring even more cool hands-on activities to them!


Saturday, February 10, 2018


We had such a great time at LEGOLand! Six of our FLL Jr teams went to and displayed their models at LEGOLand today. Team members were interviewed by judges and shared with them what they had learned during our nine week season in the fall semester. Team members who mentored any of our Junior Robotics teams, including FLL, FLL Jr, and FTC, went to LEGOLand with us.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Junior Robotics Special Meetings

Today, we refired the Junior Robotics program for our special events. We've combined 30 of our FLL Jr. kiddos into five teams to participate in the FLL Jr. Exposition at LEGOLand.  We have done this every year since we started FLL Jr. and it's such a great way to wrap up the season.  Through the quarter auction fundraiser, and reduced event pricing from LEGOLand, we are able to offer families a discount for tickets on the day of the expo.  All of our team members who mentor in Junior Robotics are able to come along and enjoy a day at the park with the FLL Jr. kids.

Additionally, we have one FLL team that advanced to Championships and they are itching to start refining their robot for that event.  We are so proud of them and can't wait to see what they do between now and then!

Of course, the FTC team has been meeting regularly since September, building a very cool robot for the Relic Recovery challenge.  They meet in the same space as our team and have become such a great addition to our evenings!  We can't say how proud we are of them, and how happy we are to be mentoring such a great group of middle schoolers!

Friday, January 26, 2018

AAUW and Victor Valley College's Celebrating Women in Mathematics and Science

We have been presenting at the AAUW and Victor Valley College's Celebrating Women in Mathematics and Science for several years.  This year, our mentor wasn't able to attend, so we asked Miranda Fike, one of our friends from NASA, to present with us in her place.  It was awesome! She did a presentation about robots and engineering and shared her story with all the girls. Everyone enjoyed the presentation and then had fun with the workshop that I led with two other female team members. We taught the girls about closed circuits by making a light up, paper flower using an LED light, a battery, and copper tape. We had a blast this year and can't wait for next years conference!


Friday, January 12, 2018

Chili Cook Off News

We've got a lot going on with the Chili Cook-Off preparations!

In case you weren't aware, the Chili Cook-Off is our big community fundraiser.  The event features chili from home cooks and professional chefs, a silent auction, and the unveiling of our robot for the FIRST PowerUp competition!

Our guest speaker will be Roger Hayes, owner of Sierra Technical Services, a Tehachapi based aerospace company that is quickly making a name for itself.  We are excited to hear what he has to share with us!

Items for the silent auction already include park-hopper passes for DisneyLand, Magic Mountain tickets, gift certificates and donated items from local businesses, and even CPR/First Aid training courses. It's going to be a great event!

To get tickets at a discounted price, look for our team members outside of Albertsons this month!  They will be there most Fridays and Saturdays from 3 to 6 PM. Otherwise, visit our EventBrite page to pick some tickets up online.

Friday, January 5, 2018

It's almost time for FIRST PowerUp!

Oh boy, it's build season!  We are going to plunge into build season really soon, so Outreach is going to relax, a little...  Our Junior Robotics program will start back up on January 29 and February 5, so that our FLL Jr. kiddos can team up and prepare for LEGOLand and the Cream Cookie Builders can prepare for the Central California FLL Championships!  We also have some school visits planned, and the AAUW and Victor Valley College, "Celebrating Women in Mathematics and Science" conference, but really, we are going to focus on building a robot and the upcoming FRC Challenge!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hour of Code at Tompkins Elementary School

So this week, we continued our invasion of the elementary schools and visited Tompkins again, but this time, to host the Hour of Code for all of their students.  We are such big fans of the Hour of Code. It has different "games" that students play which teaches them basic programming skills. Students start off learning how to use basic commands and each level gradually gets harder. Our team members love being able to visit students in elementary school and begin to expose them to coding at such a young age. We spent an hour with every first through fifth grade class at Tompkins reaching roughly 600 students. For each grade there is a different program to match their skill level.

First Grade did Monster Coding, where they designed their own monster using programming. They learned to use "if/then" statements to take their monster on an adventure in which they decoded a map to an island and found a solution for their monster to escape the island.

Second Grade did Wayfinding with Moana, where they guided Moana and Maui on the ocean to find fish and dodge rocks as they approached a barge. They also programmed a character of their choice to dodge and strike down Kakamora in which they learned to use the repeat, repeat until, and  if/then functions.

Third Grade did Myra's Dream, where they helped Myra defeat monsters and get to a castle so she could get her stolen dream back. They used when run, if/then and other simple statements to defeat all the monsters and finish their quest.

Fourth Grade did Code Combat, where they went through a dungeon, using programming to command their adventurer as they searched for treasure and defeated goblins and trolls.  The default language was Python, but they were able to switch over to Java, if they wanted to.

Fifth Grade did Robot Repair, where they began their training to be a cybernetics specialist in which they found solutions to fix faulty robots. Boolean expressions were used to help them determine which wires go where and also used true or false statements.