SMT007 Magazine


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 65 of 115

66 SMT Magazine • August 2016 By Barry Matties I-CONNECT007 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a massive initiative taking place around the world that is aimed at getting kids more interested in STEM subjects through a variety of fun and interactive experi- ences. Many FIRST challenges and competitions took place at a recent Maker Faire in San Mateo, where I met with Jill Wilker and Ken Johnson from FIRST, who helped illustrate FIRST's truly inspirational mission and vision. Barry Matties: Jill, tell me a little about what you are doing here at this event. Jill Wilker: We have a whole hall here at Maker Faire, where we are demonstrating the FIRST programs. We have three of the FIRST pro- grams represented, with kids from high school through elementary school. We have FIRST LEGO League with our elementary kids where they build a LEGO robot, all autonomous, and solve a problem. The problem this past year was based around trash, so getting young middle school kids to think about why we are creating so much trash in the world and what can we do about it. It really makes them prob - lem solvers along the way while playing with LEGOs, which is always a natural attracter for the kids. Investing in the Future of our Industries Then we have FIRST Tech Challenge rep- resented, where we're actually running an off- season competition. We have 14 of our local teams here who signed up to come back for a post-season event to replay FIRST Res-Q, where they're learning about issues around what hap- pens in an avalanche. Things like, how do you save climbers and clean up debris after an ava- lanche? It gets the kids really thinking about real-world problems. Then we have FIRST Robotics Competition, where last year they played a game around storming a castle, FIRST Stronghold, and now they're here demoing their robots all together and showing the progression of the programs. With me is Ken Johnson, who is also with the FIRST Tech Challenge program. Matties: Ken, you're out of New Hampshire? Wel- come to California, first of all. Ken Johnson: Thank you. It's beautiful out here. Matties: You're the director of the FIRST Tech Chal- lenge. Tell me about that please. FEATURE INTERVIEW

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SMT007 Magazine - SMT-Aug2016