Outreach

Introduction
For the NASA Robotic Mining Competition 2015 – 2016 season, The Utah Robotic Mining Project set several goals as part of an overall goal to improve its participation in community outreach. These goals included participating in at least 10 different events, in addition to establishing a long-term mentoring-based outreach effort. The team was successful in both of these goals, participating in a total of 13 events and starting to mentor a FIRST Lego League (FLL) Team. Most of the outreach events involved presentation and demonstration portions. The presentations covered a wide variety of topics, including the engineering design process, NASA, and space exploration, while engaging students through their asking and answering of questions. During the presentations, robotic mining and STEM were synonymous topics, and we emphasized the importance of STEM in building and designing our robot. The demonstrations involved our team representatives showing the students how to drive our robot from the 2015 competition, then allowing them to drive it using an Xbox controller.

Mentoring FIRST Lego League Team 5252
The Utah Robotic Mining Project began mentoring FIRST Lego League (FLL) Team 5252, Lego Trio from North Salt Lake. We have had a representative from our team at each of their regular meetings, where we helped the students with programming their robot. Our team participated in the FLL Kickoff event with Team 5252 on October 6, 2015. While supporting Team 5252, we also demonstrated our robot to the approximately 120 students (4th – 8th grade) present and let them drive it. We took this time to explain our objectives with the NASA Robotic Mining Competition and answered questions about robotics and space exploration. At the end of the FLL season, our team continued to support Team 5252 at their District Qualifier Event at Summit Christian Academy, which was held January 17, 2016.

pizza kids urmp

STEM Tabling URMP

Elementary School Visits and Presentations
The Utah Robotic Mining Project visited two elementary schools, where we gave presentations and demonstrations during class assemblies. We had students participate through answering our questions about possible challenges of space travel or purposes for interplanetary mining. We also gave them opportunities to ask questions and to drive our robot as part of these presentations.

Elementary School Visits and Presentations
The Utah Robotic Mining Project visited two elementary schools, where we gave presentations and demonstrations during class assemblies. We had students participate through answering our questions about possible challenges of space travel or purposes for interplanetary mining. We also gave them opportunities to ask questions and to drive our robot as part of these presentations.

Reading Elementary School, Centerville, Utah: January 28, 2016
Three members of our team visited Reading Elementary School’s after school STEM club, which was comprised of approximately 40 students from 4th through 6th grade. Some of the students from the club participate in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), and in addition to presenting and demonstrating to the club, we had the opportunity to advise their FTC team about possible uses for sensors on their robot. After this event, the presenter received an email from the teachers at the elementary school saying that the presentation was “fantastic and well presented” and invited us back next year.

St. Vincent de Paul School, Salt Lake City, Utah: March 17, 2016
Three members from our team visited St. Vincent de Paul School’s group of 6th through 8th graders. Our team conducted a presentation and demonstration for the 70 students, who were accompanied by their teachers and representatives from Millcreek Engineering. During this presentation, we focused on the importance of engineering, and the growing field of robotics for many applications. After the presentations, students took turns driving the robot.

K-12 Focused Presentations and Demonstrations
STEAMed Up!, Salt Lake City Public Library: November 7, 2015
Three members of our team participated in STEAMed Up!, a public event specifically for K-6 students from Salt Lake City. Representatives from various STEM-related groups brought hands- on demonstrations and activities for the elementary students. Other than our team, some of the groups present included the University of Utah Materials Research, Science, and Engineering Center, the Utah Society for Environmental Education, and the American Chemical Society. Each group’s demonstration was designed to let the students have fun while learning about an assortment of STEM concepts. Our team saw about 80 students, and we gave them the opportunity to drive the robot. We also
discussed with them the possible purposes for our robot and why interplanetary mining is important. Before and after the event, our team’s Outreach Director met with Liesl Johnson, The Salt Lake City Library’s Early Literacy and Children’s Services Manager, who was running the STEAMEed Up! event. Johnson said that having our team at the event was a success, and that it was great for the kids to see that being part of a robotics team is a possibility in their futures.

kids and robot urmp

Engineering Day, University of Utah: November 14, 2015
About five of our team members participated in Engineering Day at the University of Utah. This event was targeted at high school students, especially those considering the University of Utah as one of their options for college. The event was divided into three 30-minute sessions, and our demonstration was one of the options students could sign up for. Between 30 and 36 students came to our station, where we first discussed our team’s purpose, the NASA Robotic Mining Competition, and space exploration, then allowed the students to drive the robot. We also took the opportunity to talk with the students about majoring in engineering at the University of Utah.
LEAP Program Junior High Involvement and University Exploration Day, University of Utah: January 16, 2016
The University of Utah’s LEAP Program allows students to participate in events in addition to the core seminar classes that are offered through the program. One of these events was the Junior High Involvement and University Exploration Day. About 60 middle school students from ‘at risk’ schools participated in this event. We also participated in this event by demonstrating our robot and explaining its purpose, then letting the students present drive it.

k12 test drive urmp

STEM Fest, South Towne Expo Center, Sandy, Utah: February 2, 2016
One of our team members demonstrated our robot at the STEM Fest, which was an event similar to STEAMed UP!, representatives from various STEM-related groups brought hands-on demonstrations and activities for students. Students came to the event with their schools as a field trip. Approximately 300 students in grades K-12 visited our station and talked to our team representative about robotics and mining, many of the K-12 students were able to drive the robot and ask questions relating to the competition, space, NASA, and robotics.

Other Outreach Events
Utah Mining Association, Utah Valley Convention Center: August 2015
Our team presented to about 300 members in the engineering industry at a Utah Mining Association event at the Utah Valley Convention Center. The team gave a presentation discussing the purpose of our team and its goals related to the NASA Robotic Mining Competition and mining in our community, earth, and other planetary bodies. The teams also had a booth during the two days of the convention to promote sponsorship for our team, and to allow engineers to drive the robot.

UMA Presentation urmp

chillin robot urmp

PlazaFest and Club Rush, University of Utah: September 2015
At the beginning of each academic year, the University of Utah hosts two events, PlazaFest and Club Rush, where clubs at the University can recruit new members. The team also demonstrated the robot and discussed the purpose of the team, specifically its goal to design and build a robot to mine resources in the extreme conditions of space.

Engineers Week, Hill Air Force Base: February 23, 2016
The Utah Robotic Mining Project participated in Engineers Week at Hill Air Force Base, which is an annual event designed to increase interest in the STEM field and its professions. Three representatives from our team gave a presentation and demonstration for the other organizations, corporations, and universities.

Utah FIRST Robotics Regional Competition: March 16 – 19, 2016
About a third of our team participated as volunteers in the Utah FIRST Robotics Regional Competition. 38 FRC teams from Utah and several surrounding states participated in the event, and our team members volunteered in several capacities, including Field Reset, Team Queuing, and Crowd Control, to help keep the event running efficiently.

Explore Space – Glendale Library: June 17–19 , 2016
The team has already begun outreach events for the 2016-2017 season! Our first event was at the Explore Space event at the Glendale library, where we had long lines of kids wanting to drive and “dig” around with our newest robot!

13575802_1130878370301961_2209098087534579677_oprincess

Sponsorship Presentations
As a way to reach out to engineering industry groups, while also working to gain sponsors for the team, the Utah Robotic Mining Project visited five companies: The Boeing Company, General Atomics, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Rio Tinto Kennecott, and Utah Mining Association. At each of these visits, the team gave a presentation describing our team’s purposes and goals in relation to participation in the NASA Robotic Mining Competition and to finding innovative solutions to data and resource collection in the extreme conditions of space.

Conclusion
The Utah Robotic Mining Project exceeded its goals for the team’s outreach efforts for the 2015 – 2016 season by organizing and attending 13 outreach events, and successfully mentoring an FLL team. The time spent organizing and attending all of these outreach activities is estimated to be over 350 man hours. In all of the outreach events we attended we were well acclaimed by the hosts and organizers, and in every case we were invited back to present again next year. Each of the events focused on STEM, specifically robotics and space exploration, and promoted the importance of STEM topics to young students. In total we were able to directly impact over 700 K-12 students who were able to have a hands-on experience through our demonstrations, and were able to see that participating in projects like ours is accessible in their futures.