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  • Writer's pictureThe SOTAbots

Outreach Lessons

I went on my second outreach today! Outreach is when members of the SOTAbots team visit other schools to teach them what we do and promote STEAM learning (STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). In my first outreach I went to Franklin Elementary and helped little ones (Kindergarten and First/Second graders) design and drive robots. This time I went to Mary Lyon Elementary and interacted with older elementary students (somewhere between 3rdand 5thgrade), and while Franklin was fun it had nothing on Mary Lyon. Maybe it’s because the kids are older but I for sure felt that I had more positive interaction with the students.

We (Kelsie, Ben, Lukas and I) started off with introducing ourselves and what our robotics team did, next we explained STEAM and some of its many applications. Then...we moved onto the fun stuff...PAPER TOWERS! Paper towers is... just what it sounds like, you’re given 2 sheets of paper, a foot of tape and a pair of scissors and expected to build a tower in 10 minutes. This, now this, was loads of fun! I got to go around listening to all of these kids' strategies, watch them build and I might’ve helped, but just a little bit! Small suggestions, like pointing out areas with excess tape when kids were stressed about running out. I also got the chance to act as a peacemaker, but not too much thankfully given that the majority of the kids got along. I noticed an odd trend however, the teams that finished 5-4 minutes early operated well as a team and their execution was close to flawless... but while they held until the end, they always seemed to fall at the last possible moment before they got measured.

After we had finished with the debrief following the tower building exercise, we pulled out... ROBOTS! It was soooo much fun to play robots with the children! They for the most part self-regulated turns driving the robot and I had fun providing challenges to the drivers such as driving between the chair legs before looping back around.

Oh! I also had a learning experience! I complimented a teacher on his tie that displayed Martin Luther King Jr and he informed me that today was Martin Luther Kings Jr’s birthday. I had no idea!

I feel that this experience can help me in the long run because I am learning how to interact with different age groups, something I’m bound to do at some point wither it be siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins or mine own children.


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