The Army Ants are committed to expanding the FIRST vision across the community, targeting girls and other underrepresented groups.
The Army Ants’ approach to expanding the FIRST vision consists of supporting the progression from FLL to FRC to higher education and STEM careers, while embracing the importance of diversity. The team forms strategic alliances with groups that serve underrepresented groups in STEM and hosts camps and workshops in the local community. Though camp scholarships are provided to dedicated students who would not able to afford the activities otherwise, the Army Ants also host special camps that are free of charge. Aside from spreading STEM, the team recognizes that inspiring younger minds helps the sustainability of the team. In 2011, the Army Ants established the first Columbia area FLL team. FLL teams have increased from three in 2011 to seventeen in 2017 since then.
The Army Ants form various partnerships with community organizations, local schools and the University of Missouri to engage in year-long outreach. Some of the events include:
- Granny’s House
- Grade A Plus
- Scouts Merit Badge
- MU Robotics Challenge
- Columbia FLL Tournament
- mBot/Drone Camps
- Underwater Robotics Camps
- OLLIS Stem Event
- Benton STEM Showcase
- IBM Girl’s Camp
- Homeschool Association Exhibit
UNDERWATER ROBOT CAMP
Campers spend the first two days learning about and assembling an underwater robot. On the 3rd day, the campers will test their assembled robots and compete against each other. Afterwards, they have time to swim in the pool. A lifeguard will be on duty.
When: Aug. 1-2:00 pm, August 3rd 1-3:30pm
Recommended age range: Incoming 4th – 8th grades.
Parents receive a programmable Codey Rockey just before the holidays to wrap up and put under the tree. Kids attend the camp with their newly-gifted robots, where they learn programming skills and how to customize their robot.
Requirement: An appropriate iOS or Android mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet) is needed to operate Codey Rocky and must be brought to camp.
Recommended age range: 3rd – 8th grade. No previous experience needed.
When: Two-day camp is Dec. 27-28, 9:30 am-noon
Students are immersed into the world of programming with mBots, arduino-based robots that can be programmed with Scratch (an introductory programming language created by MIT) . Kids attend the camp and receive an mBot, which they get to take home to explore their new skills. mBot resources and extra challenges can be found in the Resource tab.
Parents receive a programmable Airblock flying drone to wrap and put under the tree. Then kids bring their drone to a fun camp where they learn how to fly and program their drone as well as basic principles of how drones fly. Airblock is super cool because it is robust for kids (made out of foam) and can also be reconfigured as a hovercraft.