From the start of FRC 4607 the goal was to change the face of education in the Becker School District. When the team started, there were no STEM programs in Becker. Our first priority was to create opportunities for youngsters in our elementary and middle schools. We started Green Girls - a STEM opportunity for girls grades 6-8. We worked with our media centers to create Maker Spaces, helped to create STEM and STEAM days for students in grades 1-5, provided ‘Days of Code’ throughout our district, and donated money to create new classes in our High School. In 2017 FRC 4607 worked with the Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association to bring ‘Manufacturers on the Road’ to life. Our Robo-Camps morphed into COR Robotics - a Summer Camp initiative started by one of our alumni that will offer over 90 robo camps in the summer of 2020.
In our own work space, the High School’s Fabrication Lab, over 80% of the current tools and machines have been donated by FRC 4607 through our partnerships, sponsors, and funding. In fact, the school’s coding and robotics classes are due to the work done by our team working with our Assistant Superintendent to bring these classes to life. Over 500 HS students have been impacted by these courses. FRC 4607 donated $6000 in VEX EDR equipment in 2016 and then over $6000 in PITSCO FTC equipment to the HS Curriculum.
Following our rookie season, FRC 4607 realized that our school district did not have sufficient STEM classes in the curriculum school wide. This lead to two different initiatives, Becker RoboCamp and Green Girls. We partnered with Xcel Energy and Natalie Gruber to bring a 6 week camp to Becker Middle School where girls could explore science, technology, energy and engineering. The success of Green Girls expanded into neighboring communities of Big Lake and Monticello.
Following these initiatives, FRC 4607 purchased $6000 of robotics classroom sets to bolster the curriculum in the high school. The team continued to advocate for more opportunities for students and was successful as a STEAM club was brought to all schools in the district. Because of these efforts, two more courses were added to the High School - a programming class and robotics class. Following the adoption of the High School robotics class, we donated $6,000 of FTC Competition Sets (Tetrix Max) to the robotics curriculum.
In 2014 we realized that more needed to be done within our community to showcase and support STEM and Robotics. For three summers we developed and hosted week-long STEM camps in Becker and other communities. These camps grew into what is now known as COR Robotics, an entity started by our alum Ryan Swanson.
C.I.S. has been a primary partner with COR Robotics since 2017 to bring robotics and STEM to new bodies of students through these camps. COR camps have a curriculum tailored towards inspiring students through designing robots, engineering challenges, and engaging in teamwork. The success of COR is instrumental in growing FIRST throughout Minnesota and beyond. COR Robotics hosted 70 camps throughout Midwest in 2019.
Code Camp/Day of Code
To help promote STEM in our community, we provide volunteers for all of the coding camps in our schools. Most of these courses happen after school in our elementary and middle schools.
Most recently our members are working with students in grades 6-8. They meet twice a week and work with a program called Scratch where they can learn the basics of coding. We help plan these activities and run them in any way that are needed. This grows the relationship we have with our school and the younger students of Becker.
On this day the Becker Elementary Schools have many different activities for student to promote S.T.E.A.M. Every year our team members provide stations where we help the students work through various engineering challenges. Doing this gives us a chance to inspire the next generation of FIRST Robotics and have some constructive fun along the way.
Manufacturers On the Road
FRC 4607 along with Becker High School, and the Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association, The manufacturing fair is a yearly event held for all students of Becker, where they introduced to local manufacturing and industrial companies. The event allows the students to meet and form connections with professionals in a variety of fields, while also showing them the employment opportunities that they could hold after graduation.
Robot in 3 Days, NDSU Bison Robotics GreenHorns
FRC 4607 has built a strong partnership with NDSU. In fact, Bison Robotics at NDSU was founded by a number of C.I.S. alum. This lead to one of the most prolific and impactful mass-mentorship initiatives, The GreenHorns.
From 2015-2018 we hosted Bison Robotics in our space. The GreenHorns would view the game at our kickoff event then give a strategy presentation for the game to the masses. After this they'd spend the next four days in our shop space using our tools and supplies to build their robot. This let us work along with them and build a solid connection with NDSU. This relationship was a give and take as FRC 4607 lost a week of build time due to the end of their three day build, they would construct their videos.
Being that they were so successful and did this in our own space, we were able to capitalize on the venture - this lead to some significant growth opportunities. Case in point, the Minnesota Mentors on Call came from this venture. Due to the promotion of C.I.S. in their videos, we were able to promote our own Programming Helpline. This Helpline then transformed into the MN Mentors on Call.
After the Ri3D project was completed, we were able to use the robot for prototyping and aiding other teams. We then used the robot that the GreenHorns built for various off-season events or future student recruitment. This gave them a great understanding on how the robots work and helped them immensely for the upcoming season.