We were invited to attend a monthly luncheon held by the church that a few of our mentors attend. The congregation wanted to see the robotics team that they have been hearing about for the last 6 years! So we loaded up our practice bot, driver console, and whatever other materials we needed. We brought our two Team Co-Captains and our Logistics Lead since we couldn't bring the whole team.
The students explained the purpose of the practice bot and how it works. They demonstrated the way it moves around with the mecanum wheels. The church members had questions for the students about the competitions we go to and what we do all year. They were impressed with the students and the church pastor even drove the robot!
The congregation very graciously donated funds to our team to allow us to purchase items like a team flag and mascot costume! Thank you so very much, St. Mark's!
Our team was honored today by a visit from an international group of women in STEM. The Global Ties Alabama Hidden No More project brought women from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Cook Islands, Italy, North Macedonia, & the United Kingdom to Huntsville for three days of celebrating Women in STEM.
The students started by describing themselves and what they want to do after high school. The international visitors asked questions and gave insight into their worlds. For instance, students in Italy start school days around 8:30 AM just like we do, but they dismiss around 2:30 or 3 PM, much earlier than we do. They don't have the variety of after school programs like us.
After talking about themselves for a bit the team members talked about the projects we have been working on (metal storage stand, battery cart, recruitment efforts) and our robots. They gave a driving demonstration and even let some of the women try their hand at the joystick. The team members explained the control system of the robot, and what they plan on doing with pneumatics.
After spending about an hour with the visitors, they left the robotics lab to go visit the Advanced Manufacturing section of the school.
The CyberJagzz again participated with the Gigawatts, team 7428, at the Huntsville STEAMfest. This is the second year of the event, held in the East Hall of the Von Braun Center in downtown Huntsville. In addition to our two FIRST Robotics Competition teams there were two FIRST Tech Challenge teams and a FIRST LEGO League team. In the photo above you can see the FIRST booth, which extends farther right out of the picture.
The crowd was larger than last year, and the organizers promise an event next year about twice the size. https://www.huntsvillescience.org/
This year we opted to only bring our wooden "learning bot" that we're using to teach systems to the new team members. Right now that robot only drives around on a mecanum chassis and has part of a pneumatics system on it. But that didn't stop festival attendees to line up to drive it.
Today we were part of the Jemison College Academy at the Huntsville City Schools STEM Magnet Fair. We brought a robot and photo boards showing the team activities over the years. We were on the third floor of the Science building at Calhoun Community College. We let students drive the robot while the team members talked about how the robot works and what the team does.
This is Homecoming week, and today the Pep Rally was actually more like a carnival, with different groups having stations around the track by the football field. There was face painting, music, food trucks, and other activities. Our station was robot driving. We brought out our mecanum drive "just for fun" bot and let students try driving it for a prize or candy.
The weather was perfect, with it being in the mid 70's and sunny. Lots of students showed interest in the robot, and we may have gotten a few more recruits for the team.
Dr. Richard Collins from the Pathfinder chapter invited local robotics teams to participate in the three day symposium. Each team would have a booth for a half day during one of the three days. Our time to shine was this morning from 8 AM to noon.
We packed a trailer with two of our robots and some team publicity materials on Monday after school, then met in the College Academy parking lot at 7:30 AM on Tuesday. After loading our vehicles we headed to the Davidson Center at the Space & Rocket Center.
As soon as we got there we were informed that we need a driving robot on the stage in the Davidson Center Theater to start off the day. We had to wait until Mayor Paul Finley of Madison, AL spoke, then we had the stage. The students quickly got the robot turned on and demonstrated how the robot drives with mecanum wheels to all the symposium attendees in the theater.
We then went to set up our 10' x 10' booth (same size as a pit at competition) with two of our robots and some trifolds showing team photos from our past seasons. The students spent time either staying at the booth to talk to attendees, or visiting the other exhibitors under the Saturn V.
A second robotics team also was attending at the same time as we were, the Nerdettes from Huntsville High School.
The team had a great time going around to all the exhibitors and talking to them about their drones and other displays. And getting free stuff, of course!
Saturday August 20 was the North Huntsville Back-to-School Parade & Festival. There were fancy cars, bands, dance teams, and lots of other groups in the parade. We were the only robotics team. There was Jemison's band, plus bands from two other high schools in the area and from Alabama A&M. We decorated a float (trailer provided by one of the mentors) at our previous team meeting and then had students ride and walk alongside.
After the parade there was a Festival at the school. There were food trucks, music, and several "booths" where teams and organizations displayed their wares. We set up a photo gallery of the team's last 7 years, and had three robots on display. Attendees could come and drive a robot or just look at what we had. We handed out prizes to people who tried driving the robot.
The weather was threatening rain (it actually was sprinkling) so the Festival attendance was low. We had to take down our booth about 2 hours before the festival ended due to incoming rain. But by that time most of the booths had started shutting down.
Jemison High's administration did Orientation Sessions a bit differently this year. Each grade level held their orientation in the Auditorium, then moved to the Competition Gym to turn in paperwork and pick up schedules. Each athletic team and extracurricular club had a table set up with information about the activity and a sign-up sheet. We feel that this system worked well, as we got more interest in the team than we have in the past.
We participated in the Summer Bash, a fundraising activity for Jemison's Girls Basketball Team. The event was held out on the football field/track, and featured food trucks, vendors, live music, and a dunking booth.
We set up our popup canopy and brought out two of our working robots, and demonstrated driving skills and if anyone wanted to try driving they could.
The crowd was slim, but the weather was beautiful, and a day of fresh air was had by all.
The team hosted the Robotics Lab portion of the College Academy tour at the Open House. A group of rising ninth grade students and their parents came through and got to see what the team does. We had three working robots for them to see in action, and some of the students actually did a little robot driving on their own.