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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Discovering Innovation and Technology-- Discovery Day 2016

On the weekend of December 3rd, over 120 second through sixth grade students flocked to the RHS Tech Lab for Robotics Discovery Day. Here, they learned and experienced the thrill of an engineering challenge, with the guidance of Nemesis team members, many of whom participated as campers in Discovery Day themselves. Captivated, students engaged in each of the four exciting activities that Nemesis had in store for them: building a robot to meet a game-inspired challenge, talking and dancing with the team’s humanoid NAO Robot, driving Daedalus, the award-winning 2016 robot, and attending a presentation and Q & A session with a Robbinsville FIRST Lego League (FLL) team.

Four FLL teams, Nerd Herd, Shockwave, IDK, and Electrons were inspired by the success of Nemesis. This year they built LEGO NXT robots and competed in the FLL Animal Allies Challenge. Their robots used color sensors and extensive programming to navigate their courses and deliver “food” to all of the “animals” scattered throughout their landscape.

The campers, divided into teams of two and guided by Nemesis members, worked on exciting LEGO projects. The younger campers participated in the Parachute Challenge where the ultimate goal was to drop a parachute crafted out of LEGOs and napkins from the second story walkway using a student-designed contraption. More advanced campers competed in the Catapult Challenge, using LEGO Mindstorms to engineer and build a motorized ping-pong shooting catapult. Campers who desired a more challenging exercise were invited to take on the Maze Challenge. Our most determined campers built NXT robots that utilized color sensors to navigate a maze. Nemesis member, Kaitlyn Young, who worked with the young students, was very impressed. “Watching my campers believe they can do anything,” she said, “filled me with pride.”

Discovery Day revolves around exposing young students to the ever-changing worlds of science and technology. Marketing Team member Rachel Gillmer offered her perspective on the success of the event, saying, “It was enlightening to watch these campers push themselves to learn new and exciting skills.” Ensuring campers are passionate about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) is essential to the future of Nemesis and robotics programs everywhere. Discovery Day 2016 was a great opportunity to get young campers involved. Campers who participated in Discovery Day left feeling enthusiastic about all that they accomplished and more passionate about robotics that ever before.

Only 364 days until Discovery Day 2017! See you next year!