I’ve seen a crazy number of threads about FRC teams contemplating creating medical devices to help with the COVID-19 outbreak. This is a noble idea, but likely not practical, and not actually helpful in most cases.
I think the efforts of our community can be spent more effectively.
There are millions of K-12 students cooped up in their houses across the world right now. Schools everywhere are figuring out how to make “distanced learning” work. Parents are trying to figure out how to keep their children active, engaged, and entertained. Everybody is in a difficult situation.
We can help! Our FIRST community knows how to make learning fun. I think there is a massive opportunity for FIRST teams to help parents and children in their communities by providing them with curriculum and educational tools.
Last weekend I wrote curriculum for some of the STEM equipment that I have around my house. The equipment I have is for my company, but I imagine FRC teams similarly have tons of STEM kits/equipment laying around that could be shared with the community in some capacity.
How my Stay-at-Home Camps Work:
- Parents will get in contact with me, or their local activities office through their school (who I’m working with) if they’re interested, and we’ll figure out equipment drop off details
- I’ll bring sanitary kits (disinfected thoroughly between uses) directly to people’s houses
- I’ll share my digital curriculum via email
- When the families are finished, the kits will be picked up, inventoried, and disinfected to ensure all components are accounted for and ready to go for the next family
I believe FRC teams across the world can do something similar. The response I’ve seen so far has been that of grateful parents who were extremely happy to find something for their children, and excited school districts who were more than willing to support an effort that facilitates learning.
As a disclaimer, moving kits from house to house has the potential to do more harm than good. If you don’t take care to thoroughly clean them, don’t do it. Additionally, many places in US and around the world have “shelter in place” orders. If this is the case, physically providing educational tools for your local community should wait. Those orders don’t prevent you from curating online curriculum and providing it to families! There is already a ton of content out there… putting it together in one place and sharing it directly with local families can still be very helpful!
I’d love to see the FIRST community help in this crisis. There is a lot we can do… let’s focus our efforts where they can truly make an impact!
Below is the curriculum I’ve put together. It’s nothing special, but feel free to use it if it helps you!