In a nutshell: Delmar Robotics Engineers @ MADE (DRE@M) is a new collaboration between The Magic House, MADE STL, St. Louis Public Schools, and St. Louis Student Robotics Association to create a community-based FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team meeting at The Magic House @ MADE. The team is seeking mentors; no experience required! Come to our mentor information meeting this Tuesday July 30, or fill out this form.
Have you heard about MADE? MADE grew out of the defunct Tech Shop business that was in the Cortex district. It's a membership-based public workshop for Makers, Artists, Designers, and Entrepreneurs (M A D E), and it's on Delmar, near Forest Park. More info: https://madestl.com/about-made/
Have you heard about The Magic House @ MADE? The Magic House @ MADE is a workshop for kid Makers, Artists, Designers, and Entrepreneurs. It is the first permanent satellite location of The Magic House, notably located in the city of St. Louis, on the second floor of the MADE building. More info: https://www.magichouse.org/made/ The team will be affiliated with The Magic House @ MADE, and will be meeting in their space in the evenings, after The Magic House closes for normal business.
Have you heard about FIRST Robotics Competition? If you're a regular reader of ours, you probably know quite a bit about FIRST robotics in general. You might not know that FRC is one of the four programs under FIRST, and it is the one that is specifically for high school students. FRC season proper starts in January, so it is primarily a spring semester activity. The robots tend to be quite large, and likewise, the teams can also be large. FIRST does not place a limit on the size of an FRC team, and because there's so much to do in a short time, the program lends itself to a team of sub-teams, like a mechanical team, an electrical team, a CAD team, a business team, etc.
Is the new team affiliated with a school? It is not! One of the beauties of FIRST is that it is different from traditional school sports and activities. Many schools do have FIRST programs, but there are also many community-based teams. Think of this team as a club team. Our recruiting activities, and our transportation assistance program, will be focused entirely on the high schools of the St. Louis Public Schools district, but high school students from other districts or from home schools are welcome to apply.
What does a mentor do? The short answer is, it depends on the team and the mentor. Here's a one-pager from FIRST about mentoring. I often think of the scene from Spare Parts where Marisa Tomei warns George Lopez not to start a robotics team and get the students hopes up, and I will say this: Lopez' character ignored the warning. Every little bit of mentoring will be greatly appreciated by this team, and there is no specific commitment required. If you are a MADE member, you are welcome to drop in for any meeting, to find out what the kids are doing, offer your input, and probably get hooked. If you are not a MADE member, don't worry, membership to MADE is not in any way required to be affiliated with the team.
If you are not familiar with FIRST or the idea of competitive student robotics, I like to say that it is like a sport, but with some very important differences. And students will learn a lot from it, but not on purpose. It is a sport, a club, and a class, all rolled into one, plus other stuff. Mostly, it is inspiring.
What do we know about the 2019/2020 season of FRC? All the rules and details will be released in January. We know that the tradition of a frantic 6-week build season, with a deadline by which the robot needs to be "bagged," is going to be changed this year. We also know that FIRST allied with the non-profit Star Wars a Force for Change in developing the themes, and in past years, Disney Imagineers participated in game design, so I expect an extra flair this year!