Tag Archives: robotics

Are You Ready For This? Volunteer At The World’s Largest Robotics Championship

Confetti_shotFIRST® 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 roboticsfirstcompetitionevent 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 FRC crowdleaders 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.


When:  Sunday, November 13th, 10:30am – 10:50am

Where: Maker Exhibit Hall Stage at the George R. Brown Convention Center

Description:  Dancing SHEBot !  Demonstrating how EV3 can be use to do super fun project during your hang out time with friends!  Talking about how to play like a girl that likes STEM !

Tech / Craft / Mindset:  Robotics, Women in STEM

Speaker(s): Jane Taylor and Pop Panel

About the Speaker:

Jane Taylor is the Founder and President of Bot Shop LLC. Bot Shop is an innovative one-stop shop specializing in integrating Robotics and Energy Education into K-12 public janetaylorschools, informal education, non-profits and outreach programs. As a full-service consulting firm, Bot Shop provides turnkey solutions for effectively engaging youth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through making. We support robots in education from the classroom to competition.

Jane Taylor began teaching middle school science in HISD in 2000 after graduating from Lamar University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and joining Teach for Americas-Houston. She used robotics as an instructional tool in her science class in 2001 after securing a community grant which purchased LEGO Mindstorms RCX robots and registration fees for First LEGO League. In response to the amazing reaction from students to this new technology, Jane created a course name Project Based: STEM in 2004 and established one of the first robotics elective courses in Houston Independent School Districts. She went on to successful designed, developed and implemented grassroots robotics competitions, after school programs, and course curriculums throughout Greater Houston and Harris County areas.

Jane currently serves as advisory and game designer to the 4H SET AgriBotics Robotics Challenge, as the chairman for the SHEbot Initiatives for GIRLS in STEM, and has been recognized as the Teach for America “Energy in Education” and numerous National Teacher of the Year. She has studied educational robotics at Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy and is a certified LEGO Education Academy Master trainer. Jane has been involved in the Houston’s competitive robotics community for over 14 years as a coach, mentor, and sponsor and has been instrumental in the growth of the regional robotics community. Jane has presented at SXSWedu, TCEA, ISTE and NSTA conferences on STEM Education topics.

Educational Robotics (K-8th)

When:  Saturday, November 12th, 10:30am – 11:30am

Where: Meeting Room 310A at the George R. Brown Convention Center

What:  This presentation will cover robotics education in traditional and informal settings to teach computer science, science, coachkelleywithherfllteambricksmarttechnology, engineering, mathematics, creativity, and teamwork. It will provide an overview of the LEGO Education products including the LEGO Mindstorms system and other options. Competition can be a catalyst for student involvement so we will explore a range of robotic competitions: FLL, FLL Jr, FTC, VEX, EARLY Robotics, EcoBot, MATE, and more. Lastly, we will discuss opportunities for children to get involved with robotics online that leads to collaboration as well as receiving attention from colleges and industry.

Related articles in various use of robotics:legowaterboticsCollaborative R&D with Twitter, LEGO, and Digital Tools

Tech / Craft / Mindset:  Robotics, Education, STEAM

Speaker: Katie Kelley

About the Speaker
bio_katiekelleyKatie Kelley is a teacher and owner of Woodlands Robotics in The Woodlands, Texas. She has been involved with robotics education for over 12 years. Katie works part-time for FIRST Robotics as a Senior Mentor working to support local robotics programs in the South Texas region including FRC, FLL, FTC, and FLL Jr.

She studied Fine Arts at the Kansas City Art Institute and Industrial Design at the College For Creative Studies. She worked for many years developing hands-on exhibits and programs for museums including the Houston Museum of Natural Science, The Fort Lauderdale Museum of Science and Discovery, and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. She is also a contributor for the Tuft’s University Center For Engineering and Education and Outreach’s website LEGO Engineering.  Catch some of her discussions on LEGO Engineering’s facebook page.

“I focus on inquiry driven science exploration, encourage questioning and discovery, and empower children to learn about phenomena that matter to them.”

To keep in touch of Katie’s latest adventures checkout Woodland Robotics’ Facebook page, her Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube channel.

Robotics for All: Engineering for Learning Differences

When:  Sunday, November 13th, 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Where: Meeting Room 310A at the George R. Brown Convention Center

What: Learning differences are very common, but what about the advantages of unique mindsets? The joy of education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) is available to everyone. Students with Autism, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and other related fields have hidden talents; let’s inspire them! Participants receive insight towards the mindsets of those living with disabilities, and how they can contribute to the growing demand for STEAM Curriculum.

Tech / Craft / Mindset: Robotics, STEAM, Differentiated Instruction

Speaker: Nicholas Guillerman

About the Speaker

Mr. Guillerman is a Career and Technology Educator on the Autism Spectrum. He is currently pursuing graduate studies and developing a UIL Robotics FIRST Tech Challenge Team. He has six years of experience in the classroom, in addition to presenting professional development on Special Education topics at Katy Independent School District.

Competitive Robotics: It’s More Than Robots

When:  Saturday, November 12th, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Where: Meeting Room 310A at the George R. Brown Convention Center

What: The benefits of competitive robotics programs and why they are more then just an introduction to engineering concepts.  For more information on his team visit Spectrum 3847’s website.

Tech / Craft / Mindset: Educational Competitive Robotics

Speaker: Allen Gregory

About the Speaker

Allen Gregory has been involved in competitive robotics since 2003. He has been a student, mentor and volunteer in numerous competitions through out the year.  You can follow the latest happenings @allengregoryiv on Twitter.


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!

Speakers & Panels

From local food supplies, robotics, space technology, young inventors & entrepreneurs and technology innovations in the medical industry like 3D Printed prosthetic and other devices for patients, Houston area makers are doing it all!   Our schedule of speakers and panels includes:

Saturday, November 12th
10:30AM Educational Robotics from K-8th by Katie Kelley
12:00PM Competitive Robotics: It’s More Than Robots by Allen Gregory
1:30PM A Maker Revolution in Health Care by Jose Gomez-Marquez
3:00PM Approaching Innovation: A Perspective of Food Production by Thomas Garcia-Prats & Daniel Garcia-Prats
Sunday, November 13th
10:30AM HCPL and eNABLE Give You a Hand by Patrick Ferrell and Jalal Yazji
12:00PM Enabling the Maker Mindset at NASA by Lee Graham and Chris Gerty
1:30PM Robotics for All: Engineering for learning differences by Nicholas Guillerman
3:00PM Young Inventors & Entrepreneurs Panel

These sessions will be held in Outside Lobby of Exhibit Hall A in the George R. Brown Convention Center.  These sessions will be free and open to the public, but we invite you to purchase tickets to support this event and visit more with all the exhibitors in the Maker Exhibit Hall.