From August to November, Team Fusion runs the RACE for Success program. This takes place after school at numerous elementary schools, where children are introduced to the importance of technology, and the amount of change they can implement if they set their minds to it. Introducing pneumatics, electronics, mechanics, and problem-solving skills every Tuesday afternoon during these months, we use exciting demonstrations such as pneumatic bottle rockets to get kids pumped about discovering and learning. This after-school program eventually led to the development of our annual VEX tournament.
For 9 years, Fusion designed and managed a week-long summer camp for elementary and middle school students. It has been held at both the University of Southern Mississippi and even at the Exploreum Science Museum in Mobile, AL. Three to four camps are hosted by the students to introduce basic electronics, reverse engineering, design challenges, and robotics. Once coined “Robot Studio,” over 250 students have participated, in which several have become Team Fusion members. The camp was redesigned, though, and is now STAR (Summer Technology and Robotics Camp) where activities range from construction of VEX robots to pneumatics-powered rockets.
Above are main focal points in which we, as a team, strive to provide the best education, examples, and excitement for our “younger generations.” However, these are only microcosms in all that we do throughout the year. Listed below are a few examples from ’09-’10.
· Kindergarten classroom visited throughout the year in Gulfport (Such as Bayou View, Anniston, and Three Rivers Elementary Schools)
· St. Martin Middle School visited as a field trip (from Jackson County)
· Bayou Regional: we provided free transportation and food for our VEX students so they could come experience the excitement of FIRST
· FLL and VEX students, such as Gregory Samms, came in and worked hands-on with our high school students and engineers during our 6-week build season
Last year (’10-’11) we had VEX student, Noah Cox, come in and work hands-on with our high school students and engineers during our 6-week build season