There are many programs that we have implemented throughout the Kern County area to inspire younger students to get involved in the FIRST program. These include Library Readings for Pre-K and grade school students, hosting LEGO League competitions, teaching kindergartners in afterschool programs, and elementary circuits. All of these programs allow us to influence generations that haven't decided their paths and give them an early exposure to the fields of STEM.
Our Library Readings are held at libraries throughout Kern County and help to spark the interest of Pre-K and grade school students in robotics by reading technology storybooks to them. We also use this opportunity to give demonstrations of LEGO Robotics and our FRC bot.
The afterschool program with the kindergarteners is new this year. We teach them about robotics and programming by using the LEGO WeDo robotics system. We want to get as early of a start as possible in influencing our future and this is a perfect way to achieve that goal.
We hosted the first of our now annual LEGO League competitions this year in the Tehachapi High School gymnasium. Four out of the five LEGO League teams local to the Tehachapi area were in attendance. The teams were asked to research a topic and made presentations to all attendees during the competition. The entire competition was run by THS Robotics Team 585 members and mentors. It was very successful in displaying the excitement associated with FIRST programs and allowed us to give an FRC robot demonstration to encourage them to go on to become future Cyber Penguins
Elementary circuits is a program in which we teach grade schoolers about elementary circuits by building "blinky bugs" with LEDs, button batteries and chenille stems at the Edwards AIr Force Base Air show, 4th of July Hot Dog Fest and Science Camp. This gives the kids a confidence in electronics that will inspire them and allow them to have a background to expand upon.
Our goal is to encourage kids into STEM by exposing them at an early age and showing them that their peers enjoy and are highly successful in the FIRST programs. We are doing our best to lead by example and leave the future generations with memorable FIRST impressions.