Putting FIRST's STEM in Action!
"(We) don't use kids to build robots...(we) use robots to build kids!"
- Dean Kamen
FIRST Founder & Inventor
We believe that "putting STEM FIRST" is important to the future of our parish. With that in mind, we strive to serve as a catalyst to promote the importance of investing in future generations.
Averaging over 200 families served with each outreach event, one participant recently wrote, “Thank you for taking the time to put my child first and providing her with an obtainable image for what being involved with STEM could be for her.”
Torbotics aims to expose all youth to the possibility of seeing within themselves the opportunity for ingenuity within STEM.
STEM Cafe Series
As founding members of the now Northshore STEM Coalition, Torbotics has played an active role in the facilitation of monthly STEM Cafes throughout our region for the past 3 years. The purpose of these events is to bring quality hands-on STEM activities into rural and under-served areas at a location that is more convenient for families. On average there are 10-12 local businesses, after school programs and university groups who provide interactive STEM experiences for different age groups K-12. The Coalition also connects with STEM leaders within each community & larger region to come & meet with high school & middle school students in small groups to share how they chose & trained for their professional path in a STEM career. This season we participated in STEM cafes in 4 Parishes & worked to get other FIRST teams in the areas involved.
FLL State Championship
Torbotics was honored to be asked again to assist in facilitating this year's FLL Louisiana State Championship Tournament. In addition to helping with the transport and storage of the state championship tables, team members had the chance to serve as refs, official field reset, managed queuing for judging sessions, served as judge assistants and with the overall management of the pit area. It was a great experience to get to meet and support 60 rookie and veteran championship level teams from across our state and to have the opportunity to celebrate the unique ways each team chose to approach this year's theme. We also had the good fortune to cheer on several teams from our region and those who attended our Jump Start in August.
FLL Bon Ami Invitational
This year Torbotics teamed up with the Bayou Builders FLL team 4043 to host our first annual off-season FLL Bon Ami Invitational. The goal of this event was to give teams the opportunity to continue to develop their amazing work shaping future communities through the City Shaper season challenge.
Trophies were provided to teams for standard judged awards and robot performance. We also showcased additional gracious professionalism challenges and even a fun robot game alliance challenge. Participants have asked for this to be an annual event.
Hammond Library STEM Explo!
Torbotics was honored to be a participant in Hammond Library's third annual STEM Explo! event on November 17th. In addition to providing different mechanical and scientific experiments, it was our last official event to demo our 2018 FIRST Power Up competition robot, Toki. Team members also had the chance to visit the different vendors present to learn about different local organizations and participate in the STEM activities they had developed.
Hammond Air Show
Torbotics was honored to be asked to serve as volunteers for this year's Hammond-North Shore Regional Air Show on October 20th. While the majority of our members assisted with cooking and serving food, others assisted with logistics support. With over 35,000 people reported to have been in attendance throughout the event, team members were in awe getting to have a unique experience while also taking part in the air show.
NASA - Michoud's Family Day
Torbotics whole-heartedly accepted an invitation to participate in a FRC scrimmage/demo for NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility's Family Day on October 13th. We brought lots of FIRST promotional materials for staff and families who were interested in learning more about all the divisions of FIRST and answered questions about how to start teams. One of the local FLL teams we mentor had the chance to come with us to present and showcase their engineering process and developing project. Just prior to leaving, we had the chance to take a tour of the facility and see the different stages of the next Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in construction.
HHMS Homecoming Parade
Torbotics is proud to support our HHMS Tors varsity football team. We enjoy getting to be in the homecoming parade each year and to participate in the theme. This year's theme involved the movies. We used one of the old FLL championship tables that couldn't be easily refurbished and created a stand for our robot to ride with us. We have several team members who are also active on the varsity soccer, swim and basketball team.
NASA's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Stennis
We were honored to have been asked to assist Stennis Space Center's Infinity Center celebrate NASA's 60th Anniversary on September 29th. In addition to providing a robot demo with Toki, we answered questions and passed out information about all four FIRST programs and NASA's HEO Astro Camps. We also provided a demo of this season's FLLJr inspiration model. We also facilitated our Duplo Bridge engineering challenge. It was a lot of fun to meet so many community members, along with employees of NASA and Rocketdyne.
FTC Jump Start & Community Build Days
We opened our shop to 13 FTC teams from across the state on September 22. We provided rookie and veteran teams with a build space and offered use of our CNC machine, 3D printer and other shop tools with a Torbotics team member's assistance. Our lead programmer was also available to help teams update phones and software and assisted rookie teams in learning how to connect to operate. By the end of the meeting the majority of teams left with a driving chassis! We also held a community build day at the shop on December 27 for 5 school-based and community teams.
FIRST International Coopertition Parody Video
Torbotics is honored to have been part of this FIRST parody video exemplifying international "coopertition" unified by a common experience - the inspiration of FIRST robotics! This amazing collaboration encompassed 161 FIRST students, 17 FIRST teams from all 4 programs, 7 languages and 6 countries. Thank you FLL Team Skyline from Israel, Ofir Glazer and Koolulam for putting this together and providing us with this opportunity!
LA STEM Council STEM Summit
On November 7th, Torbotics had the opportunity to represent FIRST robotics along with several other FRC, FTC and FLL teams at the La STEM Council's second annual STEM Summit. We were able to assist in providing demonstrations for FTC, FLL and FLLJr answering the questions of interested educators, business professionals, and local and state government officials. Team members had the opportunity to sit in on different presentations while serving as summit volunteers, along with helping with helping supplement content on a presentation about FIRST.
FLL Season Jump Start
Torbotics hosted its third annual FLL Season Jump Start on August 17. In collaboration with FLL team, the Bayou Builders, we served 18 teams this season. During the morning, the Bayou Builders hosted two different programming workshops, while a veteran FLL Robot Design Judge met with rookie and veteran teams to share suggestions on how to design a robot strategy and then present such to the judges. Following lunch, we had presentations from the SLU Sustainability Center, Holly & Smith Architects and from a member of the SLU Engineering Department.
HHMS Student Orientations & Magnet Open House & Showcases
Torbotics members regularly participate in all Hammond High Magnet School Orientations, Magnet Open Houses & Showcases as a way to provide new and returning students with information about FIRST and for recruiting. We also frequently host visits to the shop from 7th and 8th grade classes throughout our Parish. We also routinely receive requests from different service groups to be able to come in and learn to do a shop activity like CNC and decorate Christmas ornaments.
FLL State Championship Robot Game Table Build
In June we started a campaign to raise money to fund the purchase of materials to create 12 new State Championship robot game tables. One of our team members created a CAD of the table design for approval by our FLL state partners. This became a great build opportunity for the entire team as everyone pitched in to get the tables completed before the start of classes. After storing the new tables, we brought the old ones back to the shop to refurbish and donate to FLL teams throughout the state in need of a table. The two that could not be refurbished were broken down and developed into FLL Jr model display boards.
ISS Downlink @ Stennis
On July 19th, we were able to bring several of our team members who helped with facilitating our three Astro Camps along with a few participants from our camps to go to NASA's Stennis Space Center to participate in an ISS Down Link. Five team members had previously submitted questions for consideration to ask NASA Astronaut - Richard Arnold during the Down Link. One of those questions was chosen for the broadcast. Two members of the Bayou Builders had the chance to ask the questions directly to Mr. Arnold. It was awesome to see everything that went on behind the scenes to secure the Down Link.
FIRST Demo for STEM NOLA
Torbotics was asked to provide a FIRST robotics demonstration for a STEM NOLA event on on July 14th. We were able to provide a demo of all four FIRST robotics programs, with members of Bayou Builders, FLL team 4043, assisting with the FLLJr presentation. It was a great chance to meet people from different area groups and for our new members to have the opportunity to interact with participants and answer questions.
HEO Summer Astro Camps
Our X-Treme Summer Science Camps have become a long-standing tradition with several students on our current team having been previous participants. In recognition of this season's theme, we jumped at the chance to become a host site for NASA's HEO Astro Camp. 11 team members and 3 of our mentors were able to travel to Stennis to be trained by NASA's National Astro Camp Director at the beginning of the summer. We then developed 3 unique Astro Camps for 2 different age groups (5-9) and (10-14). We received phenomenal feedback from children and families regarding this experience.
Festival de Robotique & LA Senate Proclamation
Torbotics participated in the 2nd annual Festival de Robotique held at our State Capitol Welcome Center on May 24th. In addition to competing in the off-season FRC scrimmage, we also provided transportation for 4 local FTC teams, 1 FLL team and 2 FLLJr teams. We had the chance to talk with several state legislatures, business leaders and educators. We also had the opportunity to meet FIRST president, Don Bosi. Our team was one of several present to be recognized with a Senate Proclimation on the Senate floor to honor our involvement in the 2018 FIRST World Championship.
On-Going Local Elementary
& International Day of the Girl
Each year Torbotics is called on to provide on-going support to local elementary schools in the way of STEM mentorship and as facilitators at their STEM events and assemblies. In addition to getting to create fun activities, this year we were asked to serve as guest speakers at events created to recognize International Day of the Girl at Greenville Park Leadership Academy and Oaks Montessori School on October 19.