Hi all, welcome to the Mechanical Advantage 2020 outreach thread, presented by #openalliance.
Hope everyone is doing well in these unprecedented times. Although we were unable to compete much this season, it has not stopped us from participating in the season entirely - we decided to bring things online and change our outreach into a virtual project this year. Currently, there are still some unknowns and unforeseen limitations, but we will try our best to continue our efforts to spread the message of FIRST to those around us. We’ve brainstormed some ideas for “virtual outreach” and are in the initial stages of planning out these ideas.
We will be using this thread to share everything we are working on in terms of virtual outreach, and we are excited for this collaboration with the FIRST community! Feel free to use anything we post here on your own team, or add ideas on the thread about how to improve what we are working on. The build season thread was such a great resource to not only other teams but to us as well, and we are excited to take this idea even further and include the non-technical parts of our team.
Look out for some virtual FLL training programs we will be posting here soon!
Our FLL teams in nearby Bolton missed out on their spring practice, so we have taken that online. Starting in mid-March, mentors and students have been publishing short challenge videos meant to teach new team members and enrich returning ones. The 22 participating students use either personal or team-owned EV3 kits. These videos cover robot building, programming, and Core Values challenges that can be completed either by the team member or the team member and their family. After completing the challenge, team members post a video of their robot or Core Values challenge on a Slack channel, and students and mentors discuss their work. We have summarized the challenges that we completed here. Feel free to use these challenges or DM me with questions!
Mechanical Advantage is working on creating a Girl Scouts Robotics Badge Event for Daisies (Ages 5-7). There are three badges, How Robots Move, What Robots Do, and Design A Robot.
The plan was to have a slideshow showing what a robot is, the parts of a robot, how robots move, and what robots can do. We still need to find a way the kids can design and prototype robots, then get feedback. Originally I was thinking the kids could use WeDo kits to teach them. However, due to the Covid-19 Outbreak, I am not sure how we could do this online. If anyone has any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
As an FRC Team we have a unique platform where we can reach many people, and we have a duty to take action for Black Lives Matter. It’s not political, it’s a matter of right and wrong and we cannot stay silent.
FRC 6328 has decided to start a Social Justice Book Club to help educate ourselves on the cause and have meaningful discussions about how we can take action. This book club is open to all. Please see the attached flyer with all the info - meeting dates/times, sign up form and the first book we will be reading.
To sign up fill out the form linked in the flyer and we will invite you to our Social Justice Book Club channel on Slack. All meeting updates will be posted there and we will use it as a place for general discussion.
Please purchase our first book as well (links in flyer). The first meeting will just be informational, so you do not need to start reading yet (but you can if you want to). We will also set goals for the club at the first meeting and start a discussion.
Share with all - friends, family, teachers, co-workers, etc. The more diverse the group is the better.
We look forward to collaborating and taking action with you all
My team is actually a Girl Scout FRC team and we run badge programs all the time. One thing we do for the prototyping is use trash that you can find around the house. Things like cardboard, milk jugs, empty containers, and other dry trash is great to make a prototype. If the girls have LEGOs those are great for prototyping too. If you want to do some programming you can have the girls use Code.org or even Microsoft MakeCode although that may be a little over their heads.
If you want some help with your badge program or want more ideas feel free to DM me!
We are excited to announce our first Pride Month fundraiser! We are selling limited edition 6328 pride socks, and all proceeds will go to Time Out Youth Mission and Purpose. Time Out Youth offers support, advocacy and opportunities for personal development and social interaction to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, ages 11 through 20, in the greater Charlotte, NC, area. They are a featured organization for Pride Month 2020!
Just $100 Provides LGBTQ cultural competency training for 25 teachers, social workers, police officers or other youth service providers.
Friendly reminder that we have our first social justice book club meeting tonight at 7PM EST! No reading required for the first meeting, we will just be introducing ourselves and setting goals for the club.
For future meetings I will be sending out a recipe card with a yummy snack people can make if they want, because what is a book club without good snacks!
It is not too late to sign up! Fill out this form to join!
Once you sign up I will add you to our Slack channel, and the Google hangout link for tonight’s meeting is posted in there.
FRC 6328 has 5 in-house FLL teams with 40 students. We normally run an in-person training program for new and returning members over the summer to prepare for the upcoming fall season. We decided to follow Bolton FLL’s lead and implement a virtual training program for the summer. Here are some key features of the program:
Every Thursday, a new challenge video will be released to team members and their parents via Slack.
The challenge each week will include 4 parts:
Robot building (either with a kit or in Virtual Robotics Toolkit [VRT])
Robot programming (either with a kit or in VRT)
Core values worksheet & challenge
The students will have until the following Wednesday evening each week to complete all 4 parts of the challenge.
Each weekly challenge will have an accompanying worksheet to go along with it. The worksheets will guide the students through the challenges and provide helpful hints and technical knowledge along the way.
FRC 6328 students will serve as student coaches/TA’s or mentors-in-training for the program
Currently have 10 students (all FLL alumni) as student coaches & ~20 additional students serving as mentors in training
Here is a link to the week 1 challenge booklet. We will be making one of these for each week of the program, and will continue to post them here as we produce them. This version is about 99% done (missing some images because I still need to do the robot challenge myself lol), but all the content is there! Feel free to use any of this content in your summer programs!
We are excited to share a presentation that goes over all our different outreach efforts since the season was postponed. Please take a look and feel free to share any ideas or feedback you have. Everything we post is 100% available for anyone to use, so please share around to other teams! (:
Only 3 days left to support Time Out Youth and celebrate Pride Month 2020! We’ve raised $200 so far which will provide resources to 50 staff! Let’s make it 75 staff by raising another $100 in the final few days!
PS if you want to support but don’t want the socks, DM me and we can ship them to me and I will give to my robot kiddos!
As a part of the Littleton FLL Virtual summer training program, many of our kids who do not own an EV3 kit are using the LEGO Digital Designer (LDD) and Virtual Robotics Toolkit (VRT). The VRT lets you simulate your robots you build in the LDD and is only $65 for a perpetual license! While learning how to use the LDD as well, I have found it is a great intro to CAD for young kiddos. It lets students learn how to manipulate models in 3D space, as well as start to understand the idea of mates and assemblies with the “connected selection” tool.
In order to get students up and running on the LDD & VRT, 6328 will be creating and publishing VRT Resource Packets throughout the summer. Resource Packet #1 is ready for release and can be found at the link below!
I HIGHLY recommend using the VRT and LDD as an alternative option to the physical EV3 kit. I, as a 25-year old (26 next week UGH), have been thoroughly enjoying making bots in the LDD so it is truly fun for all!
Feel free to DM me if you or anyone on an FLL team needs assistance!
If anyone is following along at home with the virtual FLL challenges presented by Littleton FLL here are some videos that go over setting up the challenge, an alternate building option for the Base-Bot if you are missing the solid dark grey piece, and an example mechanism to collect the eraser!
I am excited to say we ended up raising $320, which will provide teaching resources for approximately 80 staff members at Time Out Youth! Thanks to everyone who supported this great cause. Socks are estimated to be delivered by July 16!
I’m back and have some wholesome LEGO content to share! Before getting to that though, I would like to say that FRC 6328 was BEYOND HONORED to be awarded 1 of the 4 NE District Champs Chairman’s Award this past Friday. I truly still can’t believe it, and WOW am I proud of my kiddos and fellow mentors. I legitimately started bawling when I saw the social media post because it was crazy to see 6328 up there next to such amazing and awe-inspiring teams (congrats to 125, 3654 & 195!) It is has been so incredible to watch this team blossom over the past 4 years. It feels like we were just starting 6328 yesterday!
Anyways, as promised, wholesome FLL content featuring my kitty Poppy! I posted an example of a complete Challenge #1 with the EV3 kit. I linked my code and my LEGO Digital Designer (LDD) model as well for anyone looking for some inspiration!
I am also mega-struggling with the Virtual Robotics Toolkit (VRT) software, specifically importing my LDD model into the VRT. I am using the MacOS version and whenever I import my model, it goes through the whole process but nothing pops up in the viewer or in the Sandbox. Does anyone have experience with the VRT who could help me? About 15/60 kids in the virtual camp are using the VRT and are waiting on me to figure it out Thanks in advance!