Two weeks ago, we volunteered to help out an event at the BP Exploration Center at their first ever robotics themed “Bring your Kids to Work Day,” in partnership with the UAA College of Engineering. Both BP and the UAA College of Engineering are a major sponsor of FIRST in Alaska, so we thought this would be a good way to give back. The event was focused on taking your kids to work, where they would get to learn about and play with robots, and even build their own.
The day got started with a presentation. First, a BP representative spoke to the kids about the excitement of robotics in oil drilling. After that, Nikira gave a short talk about our team, followed up by Vicki, one of our mentors, who told about FIRST and UAA. After that they got building. Kids from around 4-6 went to build Legos, and the older kids, around 7-10, built with Tetrix. We split ourselves up, helping the kids build the lego robots of their dreams. I can’t speak for the others, but I found it quite interesting listening to their thought process. We took a break 3-4 hours in and showed the kids our robots, Tankbot and our Competition bot, and then let them drive it. This went a lot better than at the reading rendezvous, with the only issue being dead batteries. Our joystick yoke we found to be much more intuitive than the Xbox remote, which was handy when explaining how to drive the robot. At the end, we were incredibly happy with how things turned out. All the kids defiantly had a good first day off from school (including us), and we even got to meet two new members who will be joining our team next year.