Chairman's Team - STEAM-ing Ahead
Back in 2012, The Flying Toasters added an A for art to STEM making it STEAM. Through the years, we have noticed how critical art is for all STEM areas, and we are strengthening our campaign for art’s rightful place among the other science and technology careers. By adding one simple letter to STEM, the Toasters have opened a whole new world of opportunity for young, aspiring artists. Art draws in new members who bring new perspective and inspiration to our robotics team and all of FIRST. Team 3641 first attracted artists to help them with the creation of our activity books, our FIRST reader, posters, videos and team branding.
The Flying Toasters have held two STEAM Classes a year the local library for the past few years. This year, they have organized one for the fall, one for the winter, and one for spring; the classes have been successful enough in the past that the team was enthusiastic to schedule more. These classes are interactive stations for children in Kindergarten to fifth grade. Each station stands for one of the letters in STEAM: a science station, technology station, engineering station, art station, and so forth. We bring blocks and vex robots for the kids to build courses and drive the robots through them; we work with the children to create bouncy balls, slime, elephant’s toothpaste, and other exciting science experiments; and create an assortment of art activities like drawing robots or making whirligigs.
Each STEAM Class is an hour long (the Toasters have two classes per session, K-2 and 3-5) and gives both the Flying Toasters and the FTC team, the Robo Toasters, a great way to volunteer in the community and engage the younger students. It’s a type of volunteering that is exciting for both parties. The Toasters can’t wait to teach and have fun and the kids can’t wait to learn. The Toasters do our best to be appropriate role models and explain how STEAM and FIRST Robotics have changed our lives.
We made a compilation of over 50 interactive and educational activities for all ages called “The Flying Toasters’ STEAM Class Resource Book.” This guide has all of the steps needed for parents, grandparents, teachers, other FIRST teams, and anyone interested to run a successful STEAM learning experience, using activities we have employed in our very own classes. We made a version of the book available on our website so people near and far have the opportunity to access it.