The SEMA Foundation, a Turkish organization and cultural center, hosted a Turkish festival. Handmade food, fashion, and goods were available at the festival. Music, games, and dances was also performed by the children of the SEMA foundation. The Festival was held at their center all day, and they had a large turnout of people, many of whom were families.
We were able to take the Promobot (along with traditional Turkish candies) and display it to the visitors and participants in the festival. Promobot was very popular especially with the kids in the crowd, many of whom were excited and asked about the construction of the robot, and how many candies were inside.
We also made a point to talk about FIRST with the parents who were watching, and inform them about the STEM opportunities that FIRST provides to our communities and how their kids can be a part of it. Many of the parents were interested and asked if FIRST was available at their child’s school and if not, how they could get them signed up for a community FLL or FTC team.
Helping Hand Relief and Development is a nonprofit organization that works worldwide to provide humanitarian aid to less fortunate people in countries afflicted by war, natural disasters, or famine. Helping Hand works with local communities to pack donated clothes, food, and supplies, and ship large containers to these countries to be distributed.
We volunteered with the organization Helping Hand for Relief and Development, where we assisted in loading a container for Somalia while representing FIRST. In this effort our goal was to aid the struggling groups that are in the global community under the banner of FIRST.
We wanted to show that FIRST goes beyond the robot and the field and that benefiting the community, both global and local is an important aspect of STEM. After a brief introduction, we began to work, loading boxes of supplies into a container that would be heading to Somalia. After volunteering we showcased our Promobot.
During this we spoke to many of the attendees and volunteers about FIRST and our Promobot. We were able to teach many of the volunteers and attendees about FIRST and we got the opportunity to talk about Promobot and our competing robot.
This was overall a very fun experience where we got to not only support a cause that would benefit the global community, but we were also able to inform people about FIRST and what it represents.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) published this video on Dec 10th 2018 about the still transmitting Voyager 2 launched on 1977. This happened 41 years ago, amazing. It contains footage from the launch with the “medieval computers” (20 – 30 generations ago).
The first competition in the new season for our team was a rollercoaster ride for a lack of better terms. Our builders stayed up late Thursday night to finish the robot and continued working on it throughout the competition. Nonetheless, there were various unfortunate issues during the matches. Our robot had problems with the program, could not place our team marker in the depot, and was unable to land from the lander at the beginning of autonomous. In one of the matches, our robot actually flew across the field into the crater and landed on its side as soon as the match began. The entire audience gasped in shock and was even more surprised when our alliance actually won the match. During alliance choosing, there was controversy over sudden ranking changes and many teams were unaware of this. Due to this, the competition coordinators asked the audience if they should redo the alliance picks. Of course, the audience gave the graciously professional answer: Yes. We were graciously chosen by Die Krieger to join their alliance for the semi-finals. Together we competed to the best of our ability but lost in the end. Even though our robot was having difficulties, our team shined in other ways. Our pit was decorated with our display board, sponsor poster, promobot tri-fold, a monitor showing pictures of our Outreach activities, and treats from different countries across the world for other teams (and our own) to enjoy. Our team members danced during the break and interacted with every team at the competition whenever we had the chance. We built a great connection specifically with the Marvels, a new FTC team created through an Islamic Community Center in New Mexico. After the finals, the award ceremony began and it was a great success for us. We won 3rd place in Motivate, 2nd in Connect, and 1st Place in Design. But best of all, we won 2nd place Inspire and qualified for the State Championship. We couldn’t be more grateful. Overall, the competitive environment between other teams was positive and gracious professionalism was integral. The only issue I would present was the obvious tension between our own coaches and team members and the tension within the team in general during the competition. However, we discussed this after returning from Heber and I believe it was a lesson for us to grow from as a team for next time.