Our robotics competition team, the Pascack Pi-oneers, creates a robot based on an annual engineering challenge presented by non-profit organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). With six weeks to conceive, design, and build, the specialized student divisions and sub-divisions collaborate to achieve their common goal. Students learn through hands-on experience in mechanical, electrical, programming, and carpentry disciplines, as well as non-robot opportunities in award writing, media/publishing, animation, finance, and outreach. Teams compete regionally with their robots, as well as competing for specialized awards; the goal of all teams is to advance to the FIRST World Championship. Team 1676 promotes the FIRST Core Values through teamwork, camaraderie, community service, Gracious Professionalism, and Coopertition (Cooperation + Competition). Members gain confidence in communication and leadership skills, inspiring them to mentor others locally, regionally, and globally. Our team has won many awards, including the World Championship in 2017.
Students on the team come from all grades and have a very wide range of interests, including: engineering, computer programming, web design, graphic design, animation, business, and marketing. Over 55% of the team identify as female. The team actively recruits students from all grades with all kinds of interests, via email, posters in the school hallways, videos at school shows, loudspeaker announcements, and word of mouth.
An entire sub-division of students is devoted to engaging the community, not only sharing their work, but assisting when possible. They attend local town council meetings, march in local parades (with the robot), and attend various town events. In addition, they work at the state and federal levels, advocating for the importance of STEAM education for all.