By Logan Crees
Just as fun and important as the space mining competition are the outreach events that many of our club members are so dedicated to. It’s the clubs chance to really give back to the community that supports us. Not only do these events seem to engage the parents, but especially the children. It’s always wonderful to see the change in a child’s face when they walk into the room and see a robot, about as big as many of them, driving across the floor.
One of our goals here in the Lunabotics club is to inspire kids of all ages to be interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.) This not only improves the community’s quality of life in the long run, but also provides a steady stream of new members to the club for years to come. It also allows us to leave the basement of NucE and see the light of day a few times a year. I really think that these experience the kids have by seeing the robot will drive them to be as passionate about STEM as we are. In grade school, it seems these topics are made monotonous and boring. Very few children are excited to learn about science or math, but what kid isn’t crazy about P.E.? Being able to get a kid excited about STEM like they are with P.E. means being hands-on with the courses. Not just having them sit behind a desk and memorize a few science related blurbs, but having them be immersed in the subject and giving them a reason to be excited. The outreach events we go to do fantastic job of doing just that. If you’ve never been to a state middle school robotics competition and been able to really see kids ecstatic about what they’re doing, while also being surround by hundreds of other kids loving what they’re doing, then I highly recommend it.
Recently at one of our outreach events at a local elementary school, we let the children take turns driving last year’s competition robot. Not only were all of the kids excited, but many of the club members looked like they were having a great time showing them how to drive the robot. For almost the entire event, there were excited kids waiting for their chance to drive a “space robot.” This joy and curiosity created and inspired by our robot is the icing on the cake for many members of the club. Not only are we helping to encourage children to enter STEM, but it’s also helping in solidifying our love of STEM.