Our team has directly worked with 5 schools in India to help facilitate robotics education for students that may not have the opportunity to experience a program like FIRST. For the past two years our members have travelled to host 6 in person workshops for the schools to provide them with an overall understanding of FIRST Robotics. However, majority of the schools we visited cannot afford programs such as FIRST or provide STEAM based education due to the high cost. Currently, we have developed curriculum that will teach students basic scientific and engineering principles by creating projects and experiences out of common everyday items that are affordable for the schools. Our long term goal is to be able to sponsor and sustain robotics educational programs at these schools.
1) Galo Wali Kuliya School - Amritsar
Our team partnered with a non-for-profit organization, Ekal Vidayala to bring robotics based education to rural villages in Northern India. In December of 2016, one of our team members, Tanreet travelled to host an in-person STEAM workshop for over 60 underprivileged children to create educational opportunities that would not have been available otherwise. We used household items such as popsicle sticks, paper, glue, cardboard, pipe cleaners and tape to create structures and test their strength. After learning about different types of strategies to make their buildings stronger, students also attained an understanding of the design process. Since this school runs in a community centre and does not have many resources, we think it is best to implement a cost efficient science based curriculum instead of robotics kits currently, as that would require expensive equipment such as computers.
2) Vijaya Institute Government High School - Bangalore
In February of 2016, we held a robotics and FIRST information session with Vijaya school in Southern India. We planned a full day of fun robotics activities to inspire 1000 students about STEAM. We have officially implemented robotics into this school’s curriculum and consequently these students informed us that they are ready to become engineers of the future! This school is equipped with one computer lab and we have donated a VEX Robotics Kit to the students.
Our team member Khush also hosted our second workshop with this school by utilizing the donated robotics kit and household items. Currently the students are able to use the VEX Kit for learning in the classroom. However our goal is to start an official FIRST Team with the proper amount of funding and provide the school with more kits to share amongst the large population of 5000.
New Robotics Club at Vijaya
We are proud to say that with the donated VEX robotics kits from last year, our mentorship, curriculum resources and second visit this school has resulted in this school launched their own robotics club. Below are several pictures of their most recent conference that was held this past month on April 7th, 2018 demonstrating the sustainability of our international outreach.
3) Zilla Parishad Government High School - Hyderabad
This summer, a FIRST seminar was held a rural high poverty suburb of Hyderabad, named Gowdavalli. The workshop started off with a presentation for 60 students on the basics of the design process, then goes into detail on why each step is essential to the next. After the presentation the students involved were required to apply they knowledge learned about the design process and build a bridge out of basic common house hold materials, such as newspaper, popsicle sticks, string, tape, etc. Later the bridges were tested by driving a small robot on them. Our goal is to implement a cost effective curriculum at their school based on household items as well.
4) Ekal Vidayala Elementary School - Jadcherala
Our final robotics workshop was primarily the most difficult to initiate due to the huge language barrier between our team member, Khush and the children who only spoke their native language. This workshop was also held with, the non for profit organization, Ekal Vidayala for 500 youth. Despite the challenge we were able to instill a passion for STEAM education in these children through translators and videos. The workshop started off with an introduction into robotics and how it is useful in the new world. Then we brought out a small robot to keep the students engaged as this is something they don’t get to see often. In fact, most of the children have never seen a robot in their lives. Students were given a task of each building a catapult using pencils, notebooks, and rubber bands, which were all provided by us. We held a small competition which required students to hit a target with an eraser that would be launched from their catapults. After the workshop, all of the 10,000 pencils and notebooks were donated to the students as many couldn’t afford these themselves through Pencils of Promise.
5) Neerjamodi High School - Jaipur
Finally, presentations were held with the teachers and educators of this school in order to officially start FIRST Robotics Teams with the support of organization such as the India STEM Foundation for 500 students. This school is fortunate enough to have access to a lot of resources and funding, so they are able to afford the cost of FRC. However, they will need guidance and mentorship in regard to FIRST, which our team is hoping to assist with through online video calling or preferably in person through a potential sponsored airplane voucher.
Our Bots on the Run Program with our sponsor Yamana Gold’s employee’s
children was so successful we are expanding our initiative to their corporate
offices in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. We will be collaborating with FRC Team
1382 from Brazil and FRC Team 2576 from Chile to host these fully funded
workshops. Yamana will even cover the costs of the Chile team flying to
Argentina. We had already started communications with the teams to
collectively plan the robotics day camp to be held in the summer of 2017.
However, due to major changes in employee positions and budget cuts the
company has moved the workshops to this upcoming summer.
This initiative showcases how our team is:
• Creating outreach opportunities for other FRC teams to emulate
• Establishing a strong relationship with our sponsors
• Deploying our resources to foster positive change in our global community
• Expanding the STEAM message to international audiences to change culture
Japan and Zambia
In 2015, when we first launched our international outreach we collaborated with the Mississauga Friendships Association to reach out to a school in Japan, with whom we discussed the importance of STEAM education. That year, we also met with the education minister of Zambia and presented to a school there. We are now working to stay in contact with them to start robotics programs.
To maintain the sustainability of our international outreach we regulatory
communicate with the global schools we have worked electronically, mainly
through phone call. We also revisited one of the schools this year.
After analyzing our demographic, we realized that since a lot of students on our team have an Indian background, it would be the perfect country for us to expand our robotics curriculum internationally. Many of our teammates regularly visit India to meet with family and for various events, therefore their take their passion for robotics with them. It has become a strong part of our team culture to become STEAM advocates wherever we go as a result of our international initiatives.
Although one members at a time visits each of our international schools, we
make sure the whole is involved in the planning and management of the
workshops back at home. The curriculum that is used internationally was
written with the collaboration of our entire team.
Additionally, we regularly share pictures and videos through a small conference when our members come back to share their story and experiences to inspire more people to take similar initiatives. Furthermore, we have even video chatted with our team back home while our members are on their trips.