Girls + Robots = Fun!

On Saturday, August 22nd, a group of elementary and middle school girls headed downtown to the School of Informatics & Computing (SOIC) on IUPUI's campus to participate in an all-girls, FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics training.

The girls and their adult coaches started this half-day session all together for an FLL program overview and some highlights of the FLL Core Values. They then split into sections with coaches in one room and FLL-ers in another to continue their trainings.

While the coaches covered a technical training on programming and running the robots, the girls split into groups of 3 and paired up with high school robotics students. Each group went over the basics of building and programming a robot to run specific missions, and allowed all the FLL girls to get some hands-on experience with the robots. It also gave them an opportunity to learn about the FIRST program and hear from the high school girls about what it's like to be on an upper level robotics team, especially as a female student in an often predominantly male program.

After each team had practiced sending their robots on a few missions, it was time to take an IUPUI-led tour of the SOIC's Media Arts Research & Learning Arcade (MARLA) as well as the Advanced Visualization Lab. MARLA provides students access to a professional-level game studio and gallery for those interested in 2D and 3D game design and animation, while the Advanced Visualization Lab boasts high-resolution displays and projection-based virtual reality devices. Needless to say, the FLL-ers were beyond thrilled with the opportunity to explore and interact with all of this technology!

A big thanks to our high school girls who volunteered their Saturday to come and help the younger girls learn more about robotics! These high schoolers represented 3 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams: Carmel High School's FRC 868 TechHOUNDS, Western High School's FRC 292 PantherTech, and Southport High School's FRC 1529 CyberCards

We are lucky to have partnered with some great organizations to put on this all-girls FLL training. We had just as much fun as the girls themselves and look forward to a repeat event!

Thanks to the great organizations who planned and hosted this event: