Nemesis Hosts Another Successful Discovery Day
Smashing pins, flying pucks, robots, and happy faces. That’s what you would have seen if you stepped into the Robbinsville High School Technology Lab on December 2nd and 3rd during Robotics Discovery Day, a half day robotics experience for 2nd through 6th graders run by Nemesis, Robbinsville FIRST robotics competition team FRC 2590, and Nemesis Prime, Robbinsville rookie FIRST technology challenge team, FTC 14020. Campers came to learn and have fun with diverse robotics challenges. By the end of their sessions, the campers had an exhilarating experience building cool robots, playing with their creations in competitive challenges, and watching robotic demonstrations. Campers were left inspired, interested and wanted to keep building.
The campers, started off their day by meeting Nemesis’s humanoid NAO robot. He shot a ball, drew a picture, and danced around as the campers watched with delight. Next, the campers saw a FIRST Lego League (FLL) demonstration put on by Pond Road Students. Teams I.D.K, Shockwave, Electrons, and Nerd Herd awed the campers with their LEGO EV3 NXT robots that completed tasks in a model “Hydroelectric Society” game. The FLL teams showed an in-depth demonstration to the campers to help them understand the different motors and gears used to make the robots work. Additionally, the campers experienced the thrill of driving Nemesis’s own 120 pound, 2017 award winning robot, Eris. They navigated onto a game field like experts and then shot a flurry balls into the high goal to score points.
To moderate the difficulty of the challenges, campers were divided into two age groups. 2nd, through 4th graders, took on the design of using only two motorized gears to create an air hockey striker that could both score goals and defend their area. Through propellers and wheel shooters, the campers brought their creative ideas to fruition. They faced off against each other, high school mentors, and the daunting “fun table” which required pinpoint accuracy to navigate past spinning pieces placed around the table. Even at the younger age, the Nemesis (high school) mentors took a hands-off approach as the campers let their imaginations run wild.
More advanced 4th, 5th, and 6th grade campers put their building skills to the test as they built a robot made out of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT pieces. Their first goal was to create a robot that could hit a ball and knock down pins. The campers then used the same robot but started at a different position. This would challenge them to create a new program that could move over to the ball before hitting it. In the final and toughest challenge, the campers used an ultrasonic sensor to seek out and topple pins scattered around an area. In this challenge the mentors helped create the programming, but, building the robot was all up to the campers.
The goal of Discovery Day is to heighten campers’ interest towards a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) future. Through challenging the campers to see what they could build in a finite time, they were introduced to a pre-engineering environment. Cassidy, a Discovery Day camper, enthusiastically said, “I liked building robots because I’ve always wanted to be an inventor.” We hope that the campers go onto a successful career that started at Discovery Day 2017.
Discovery Day also has a huge impact on the Nemesis team members. Mentoring the campers was a great experience for everyone involved. They created friendships with their campers in a dynamic learning situation. Finance team member and senior Jarelle Boac said, “The campers made my day! They had such raw enthusiasm and curiosity and were so smart. I'm glad I could be a part of such a rewarding experience as a Discovery Day student mentor. It's bittersweet knowing this event was my last.” At Discovery Day, the campers learn that they can all achieve their goals in order to accomplish whatever mission is ahead of them while the mentors learn how to help the campers succeed, fail, and create their own robots.
Discovery Day 2017 was a huge success. Nemesis gives a big thank you to all the campers and can’t wait for next years event. It is always a highlight of the robotics season!
Nemesis also expresses their gratitude to the many sponsors that make community outreach ventures like Robotics Discovery Day possible. Special thanks to Robbinsville High School, NAVAIR, CCL Label, Lockheed Martin, Investor’s Bank, NYSCC, Triangle Copy, Robbinsville Education Association, Robbinsville Education Foundation, RAS, McGraw-Hill Financial, Design Tree, and Knowledgent. Sponsors, family and friends are welcome to come out to Hatboro-Horsham High School for our first District Event on March 2nd through 4th. Admission is free.