The Army Ants are committed to expanding the FIRST vision across the community, ensuring equal opportunities to groups underrepresented in STEM
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 communities in STEM as well as host local camps and workshops. Camp scholarships are provided to dedicated students who otherwise would not be able to afford the activities. Additionally, the Army Ants host special educational camps 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
- Virtual mBot Camp
- Red Roof Inn
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.
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 then take home and explore with. mBot resources and extra challenges can be found in the Resource tab.
Parents receive a programmable Airblock flying drone to wrap and put under their Christmas tree. The kids then bring their drone to the camp where they learn the basic principals on how to fly and program their drone. Airblock is robust for kids (made out of foam) and can also be reconfigured as a hovercraft.