On September 29 & 30, the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation will host the 6th Annual ROBOTICON Tampa Bay K-12 STEAM Showcase and FIRST Robotics Competition off-season event at the University of South Florida Yuengling Center. At ROBOTICON, nearly 1000 students, plus their teachers, coaches, mentors and families from around Tampa Bay and Florida will come together to learn while they play, and show guests – over 1500 last year – the power of hands on, mentor-supported STEAM education.
AMRoC is a direct outgrowth of ROBOTICON, inspired by the energetic embrace of science and technology exhibited by youth involved in the robotics design and competition process – essentially, learning by doing. After years of renting the big FIRST Robotics Competition field for ROBOTICON, and all the challenges associated with that process, last fall FCDI was able to put a grant award toward the construction of a permanent field to anchor a Tampa Bay K-20+ robotics and manufacturing center – AMRoC. Participating teams will be playing on the AMRoC field at ROBOTICON in September.
Why design a learning and career readiness environment around youth robotics? Well, because it works. FIRST , in particular, is well configured to leverage this exciting game-based, hands-on, problem-focused and mentor-assisted competitive experience in the service of actual real world skills, from tool use to CAD and programming skills to so-called “soft-skills” like communications and teamwork.
All of these skills, exercised in the course of playing a sophisticated mechanical and engineering design game, are vital for the development of well-rounded, capable youth, helping them refine the social and professional tools they need to make it in their future and for ours. At AMRoC, we’ll be providing both meeting and build space for youth involved in FIRST and similar programs, as well as opportunities for next steps like certifications and internships. There will also be plenty of cross-collaborative opportunities to apply those real world skills in meaningful work, and professional development opportunities for educators and others, plus general build and small scale design and manufacturing capabilities.
ROBOTICON Tampa Bay is the perfect event to see all of this in action. With support from University of South Florida, Hillsborough County, Lockheed Martin, Jabil, JPMorgan Chase, USF Connect and the Florida High Tech Corridor, AFCEA, Women in Defense, SourceToad and other fine community organizations, ROBOTICON provides students and guests an opportunity to enjoy a full scale FIRST Robotics Competition event featuring high school student built robot that weigh up to 120 lbs., as well as FIRST Tech Challenge (7th to 12th grade teams) , and FIRST LEGO League (4th to 8th grade teams) scrimmages and practice games, and a FIRST LEGO League Jr. Expo for our youngest roboticists, ages 6 to 9.
This year, ROBOTICON, in keeping with the new FIRST Launch initiative, is Space themed. Special guest Kurt Leucht, of NASA-Kennedy Space Center will be speaking and hosting a workshop. STEMWERX is hosting wind tunnel data acquisition demonstrations at ROBOTICON this year, where guests can test CO2 cars in a Jet Stream 500 wind tunnel to find the cars with the best aerodynamics along with discovering what feature contribute to the aero efficiency. There will also be an Innovation Fair showcasing commercial and industrial robotics and education exhibits, and a USF College of Engineering Expo. Guests will also be able to tour Team Pits to see team members working on their robots, and have a chance to talk to students, visit the Innovation Fair to enjoy STEAM demos, vendors and organizations, learn about AMRoC, as well as about technical, industrial, and science career and college opportunities.
ROBOTICON Tampa Bay is free to the public and events take place from 10am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday. Individuals and organizations interested in being part of the event as sponsors, donors, or exhibitors, or wanting to secure free event tickets, are invited to visit ROBOTICON.net to learn more.
If you would like to be a ROBOTICON Tampa Bay event sponsor, to show your support for our next generation of science and technology leaders, please visit the ROBOTICON Sponsor page or contact Terri Willingham directly, at Terri@FFCDI.org