FIRST® Robotics is the oldest and largest robotics education program in the world — and it is celebrating its 25th anniversary by bringing its Championship to Houston. The event happens April 19-22, 2017 and it’s so huge it will fill all of the GRB — plus Minute Maid Park! This event is a deep dive into STEM education as high-challenge, high-energy, high-impact inspirational fun! Don’t expect something simple, quiet and sedate here; rather, this is fully-engaging chaotic high-speed enthusiastic “sport for the mind”. If you want to see how education programs can inspire and build the leaders of the future, we can think of no better example than FIRST Robotics. We encourage everyone to attend, especially families and educators (bonus: attendance is free, and there are many other interesting things here too in addition to robotics!)
The best way to get the full experience of this dynamic event is to volunteer. Roles are available for a few hours, a full day — and even the full event. Thousands of volunteers are needed to support an event of this scale, and technical knowledge is not required (but can be useful in certain roles, so let them know when you register). Please make arrangements to spend some time as a volunteer at the event — you’ll be helping K-12 students from all around the world. But you’ll benefit too — inspiration is infectious around all this creative energy and enthusiasm!
To volunteer: please review this brief page and click on the VIMS link in the “HOW TO APPLY FOR A VOLUNTEER ROLE” section. (FIRST is a 501(c)(3) non profit charity.) Even better, volunteer at the FIRST Championship, plus one or more of the local events detailed below.
So much is happening in robotics in Houston! Once again, Houston Mini Maker Faire the presents the largest and most-varied exhibition of robotics in Texas, for STEM education, development and hobbies. Visit these exhibits to gather important insights into how robotics education programs increase the power of STEM in school and at home.
- A large number of competitive educational robotics teams will be at Maker Faire to proudly demonstrate and discuss their great robots. Many are designed for a specific competition category like FRC, VEX, FTC, FLL and even MATE underwater robotics. Many of these teams are past and present regional and international champions, but others are for fun and engineering challenge. You could easily spend all day in this area alone if you want to learn more about robot design and engineering. These projects are good for students in grades 3-12, so we recommend this area to teachers, students and parents.
- FIRST in Texas: did you know the largest educational robotics competition in the world will be in Houston in April 2017? Yes, the FIRST Championship will be in Houston on April 19-22, 2017, and will span the GRB, Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park! This is HUGE! This is an outstanding opportunity for local teachers and students to get involved and have an amazing life-changing experience. To learn more, come to Maker Faire and talk to the many educational robotics teams that will be actively exhibiting their robots, and visit the FIRST in Texas booth to find out how to get involved as a mentor, coach, volunteer or competitive team.
- Makeblock offers the most cost-effective complete programmable robot kits, designed by makers and using the Arduino electronics foundation. They’re built to be capable and durable — and they are the first in this class to be fully programmable from a smartphone or tablet! Come try them out at the Techno Chaos booth and see what a great robotics learning kit this is!
- Proto Makerspace has great programs for girls to get involved in robotics teams with ChickTech.
- Techno Chaos can help your school, library or community organization get started in robotics with its makerspace education programs. Techno Chaos has the widest range of real-world experience with educational robotics of any group in Texas! The exhibit will include a Makeblock robot demo, some small combat robots (“battlebots”) and the 6′ tall Minecraft Creeper robot!