The Grand Blanc High School Robotics Team introduced its First annual training session, deemed "Robot Boot Camp". This crash-course allowed the Students to receive an introduction to a wide variety of topics relating to the FIRST program, the FIRST Robotics Competition, various engineering topics, as well as a wide range of tools and their uses.
The camp ran two evenings in December, where sixteen different topics were presented using the concept of centered learning stations. Each station demonstrated a single topic, presented by one of the Team's Mentors, in their area of expertise. Mentors demonstrated real-world engineering concepts (pictured left), based on years of experience. The students in attendance moved from station to station throughout the evening, rotating every 15 minutes. This time frame allowed maximum exposure to the material without overloading the students with new information. Using centered learning stations allows students to gain a hands-on experience with the tools and components, and provides visual-kinesthetic learners with the opportunity to interact with the equipment and materials.
The topics discussed at Boot Camp ranged from information the proper way to charge, transport, and handle batteries, to common mechanical and electrical materials and tools (pictured bottom right), to wiring, scouting, alliance selection (pictured above right), and CAD. Students were also given the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the process of measuring, drilling, and tapping a hole, and then demonstrate their knowledge by actually completing the task. While some of this information may not have been new to all of the students, it allowed returning members to refresh their knowledge in many areas. The response from the Students was very positive, and even returning Students from last season had a chance to learn new concepts in areas they may not have been exposed to previously.