The most important part of FIRST Robotics is Gracious Professionalism, which our team embraces through community outreach.
Team 3242 mentors numerous FLL teams in our area. FLL stands for FIRST Lego League, which is an introductory competition designed to spark interest in robotics in younger children. Many children involved in FLL go on to FRC during high school.
Team 3242 also mentors several FRC teams of fellow high schools of the surrounding area including Dunnellon and Vanguard high school. Along with FIRST Robotics having been recognized as a service to the community and due to that ruling, students now qualify for service hours for participating with Team 3242 throughout their high school careers, as of 2014.
In order for kids in elementary school to get involved in robotics EMIT and its FIRST Robotics team, Team 3242, mentor local elementary schools to help spread the interest and love of robotics. Aiding the startup of a FIRST Lego League team at South Ocala Elementary and assisting the experienced team at Greenway, Team 3242 reaches out to the young community in any way they can.
While visiting these two FLL teams, EMIT students guide the young engineers through their journey in creating their team’s robot. They step back and let the FLL members come up with their own ideas and make their own robot; students step in only to help guide them along the way, like explaining the way the sensors work or enlightening them on how to construct a program. By doing this, not only has Team 3242 been able to aid a younger generation win numerous awards, EMIT has been able to spread the love and admiration of constructing robots and the development of a great work ethic in the younger generations, something that is absolutely priceless.
Another event of communtiy interaction of EMIT, Mini Maker Faire at Barnes and Noble on November 6th, 2015. Showing off last year’s robot, nicknamed “Two-Chains”, and one of EMIT’s 3D printers, EMIT stole the show and made jaws drop. EMIT and FIRST robotics was talked about overall consisting of the process of designing, building, and performance of the robot. Other aspects of EMIT was also included, such as our TLAs, sponsors, our variety of machines, and partners. The audience was in true awe when the robot was in motion, picking up totes, moving around the room, and setting the totes on the floor. EMIT represented itself in a professional and exciting manner that will truly be remembered by those who attended.
EMIT travels around Marion county demonstrating and presenting the program to various elementary and middle schools. These presentations have been sporadic due to the varying schools. Many of the middle school students are interested in the program, what it has to offer, and the benefits they are able to receive from going through the program. The elementary schoolers are highly interested in the robots and all the machines EMIT has created over the years. As the robot moves and lifts the crates, the children are in awe that such a creation could do such miraculous tasks. In one of the of the presentations, one student even announced that the Recycle Rush robot was better than Iron Man, complementing all the hard work FIRST does throughout the year as well as showing the positive effect these presentations create..
Since 2010, with the beginning of the FIRST Robotics in the EMIT program, Forest High School has hosted Robopalooza, which is the central competition of the FIRST Lego Leagues (FLL) of the surrounding area. Here, a variety of middle school level robotics team use Lego Mindstorms robots to compete. At this event EMIT students as well as FIRST participants from Team 3242 (typically participants are of both programs) come together to facilitate it. Students work in a service aspect as they manage competitions and police/remove trash all while performing presentations exhibiting the robot of the prior FIRST season and the EMIT program as a whole. Students, on a more personal level, get to see the bright futures of students younger than them who thoroughly enjoy robotics laid out before them.
Science Saturday is an event that occurs the first Saturday of every month at IHMC, in downtown Ocala. During this event, students that are in third through fifth grade get put into groups of five to conduct science experiments or other challenges. Science Saturdays help the elementary students get ready for middle school by teaching the kids about things that they will be having to do in the future while having fun. Examples of the types of science experiments that the kids do include testing how the color of Jello affect how light reflects off of it. As well as experiments, the kids have done activities helping them understand the water cycle. Science Saturdays are a great because they give kids entertainment while also teaching them. A multitude of EMIT students volunteer at such events every month as to show support for the community as well as help build an interest in the subjects of math and science in youths. The hope with volunteer work like this is that one day that the kids will become EMIT students based of those interests that were founding at these events.