November Newsletter

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team 525 had a very busy month of November.

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At the beginning of November, we demonstrated at the Cedar Valley STEM Festival.  As part of a FIRST display, we showed what FRC is by running and displaying our robot, explaining the parts of robot, and encouraging people to join a FIRST team.  Teams 5837 Unity4Tech and 6455 The Coded Collective joined us to display their robots and talk with people.  Also, teams from other FIRST programs showed what they have accomplished and the other opportunities FIRST offers.

That same night, team 525 also demonstrated at Scheels.  We demonstrated our 2016 robot, Cricket.  We also had NXT robots kits that people built.

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Later in the week, we ran a workshop at the University of Northern Iowa’s (UNI) Expand Your Horizons Conference.  This day-long conference was held on UNI’s campus.  It consisted of a series of workshops where girls grades 5th through 8th participated in hands-on activities focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects.  The workshop that our team led focused on programming using C++.  After a brief introduction to the C++, the girls adapted a basic programming structure to program the robot to drive straight and come back, in the shape of a square, and around an obstacle course.  Also, they learned how to drive our 2016 robot.  Overall, this workshop was a great experience for our team to be able to inspire girls and introduce them to programming and FIRST.  

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Later that afternoon, we visited Windhaven, which is part of the Western Home Community.  Windhaven is an assisted living center in Cedar Falls.  While there, we played games and visited with the residents.

The next week, we went to the Cedar Valley Maker Space.  There, we demonstrated our robot and explained what it does.

We also volunteered at a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Local in Hudson.  This was basically a “practice” competition.  We specifically helped with queuing teams for matches and one team member helped with judging.  In addition, some of our team members mentor FLL teams, and the FLL teams that they mentor were at the local.  As a result, they got to support their teams.

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Throughout the fall and spring, some of our team members mentored FLL teams.  They helped with a variety of tasks such as teaching how to build or program the robot or helping to guide the FLL team members with the project.  Overall, they helped the FLL team members learn and supported and encouraged them throughout the process.

Overall, November was filled with many wonderful events!