One of the the areas of focus for KCDML is robotics. In partnership with the Kansas City, Missouri Public Schools, we started an FTC team with AC Prep a K-8 school across the street from the Southeast Branch Library. The reasoning behind our interest is the lack of diversity n throughout the FIRST robotics competition programming. It’s been an exciting journey establishing a team and competing in tournaments. Our first year allowed us to get familiar with the process. In preparation for our second year, Staff and volunteers spent the summer practicing and preparing for the season. This required Myself and our volunteers to dig in and model how we wanted our participants to engage the process.
What we found out is that many of our students have problems with conceptual learning. To remedy this we began with the engineering design process as a way to get them acclimated. This was important because it gave us a launching platform to properly consider how to tackle the task of building a robot from scratch.There are so many aspects of robotics that could be spoke of, especially the intrinsic and extrinsic gains that we as facilitators and students were able to walk away with.It was great to see the growth of the students as individuals within the program itself. In addition to robotics programming, we were able to have candid conversations with students about their personal interest, self esteem education and how teammates should support each other.
Now the challenge for KCDML is to create a robotics program that is beyond the FTC competition season. FIRST is centered on competition it doesn’t allow for students that participate in other seasonal activities such as basketball and football to join a robotics team. We would like to fill that void with hands on activities in the lab that allow for youth to use robotics for their personal interest versus a challenge issued for competition.We have a wide array of activities and kits to explore robotics ranging from Aruduino boards to Vex robotics kits. Check back soon for our summer schedule!