Summer 2018: Parades and Maker Faires and Game Development, Oh My!

As is typical for Code Red, off-season is not really off-season.  We had a busy summer of activities and events that promoted FIRST and STEM in our community. 

July brought us opportunities to interact with our community at the Byron Days Festival and Parade.  Here we had a display set up at the festival where we demonstrated our robots, “played catch” with kids using our 2016 robot, and told festival attendees all about Code Red and FIRST programs for all ages.  Sandwiched within the festival was the Byron Festival Parade, a hugely popular community parade, where our parade entry featured a float that displayed our robots, dancing music played over speakers, students and mentors handing out bookmarks with team information, and even a bubble machine.

Also in July, Code Red students met several times to develop a new game for the upcoming NRG (Next Robotics Generation) season, Code Red’s own elementary program where each student builds and modifies his/her own robot to play a game and compete in a tournament playing that game.  The game is completely designed by Code Red high school students.  Creating a new game involved engaging in the various tasks and processes of game development: brainstorming ideas, talking through match play, designing game elements, developing rules, simulating play, prototyping game parts, and even creating a game animation.  It is an awesome opportunity for our FRC students to experience a whole different level of applying STEM skills from the game creation side different from the game playing side.

August wasn’t any less busy with final touches being put on the new NRG game and building game elements. Another major event of August was the large display Code Red sets up each year at the Grand Rapids Maker Faire, a two-day event at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.  Our display offered something for all ages.  We had a NRG field set up and children could drive a NRG robot to earn a Robot Driver’s License.  We had a scale from the 2018 FRC game set up so as to demonstrate our 2018 swerve drive competition robot.  We had a Rubik’s Cube solving robot set up, and attendees could race the robot to see who would solve a Rubik’s Cube first.  And a local company set up a Jenga playing robot display for attendees to watch.

Overall, it was a busy but typical summer for Code Red.