In a small garage in Homewood, Mayor Michelle Nelson, her husband Cameron, and their neighbor Mark Matthews embarked on a remarkable journey ten years ago. What began as a modest Lego league team to teach children how to build robots has blossomed into the HF Robotics Team, a leading STEM learning resource for youngsters aged 9 to 18.
Motivated by a desire to provide a structured educational activity for local children and impart engineering skills from an early age, the team has flourished over the years. Led by a network of dedicated volunteers, primarily parents, the HF Robotics Team now boasts three Lego teams and a For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) league team with up to 15 members.
Members of the team, spanning different age groups, are engaged in a variety of challenges that require building and programming robots. The youngest division, aged 9 to 14, focuses on constructing Lego robots to complete designated tasks on a 4 x 8 board, as set by the FIRST LEGO League. In contrast, the older division, comprised of 13 to 18-year-olds, participates in the FIRST Tech Challenge, involving the creation and programming of advanced competition robots on a 10 x 10 mat.
The progression in capabilities of the HF Robotics Team has been remarkable. From humble Lego constructions, the team now employs machined metals, plastics, and 3D-printed parts to build complex and innovative devices. Using programming languages like JAVA and design tools like AutoCAD, team members acquire essential technical skills while honing their problem-solving abilities.
The impact of this program extends beyond technical proficiency, as emphasized by Mayor Nelson: “This is a well-rounded experience for the kids, and it is so beneficial.” The HF Robotics Team has become a platform that fosters creativity, teamwork, and critical thinking among its members, preparing them for future careers in engineering, science, and technology.
As the HF Robotics team celebrates its tenth anniversary, it continues to expand and inspire. The upcoming state qualifying meet on February 17th at Parker Junior High will showcase the talent and dedication of the HF Robotics “Tech Ninja Team” and other participating teams. Whether through competition or simply witnessing the team’s incredible feats, this event offers a glimpse into the remarkable accomplishments of these young innovators.
For those interested in joining the Homewood-Flossmoor team and pursuing their passion for engineering and science, the Homewood Science Center’s website provides further information. With HF Robotics leading the way, the future of STEM education looks brighter than ever before.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the HF Robotics Team?
The HF Robotics Team is a STEM learning resource for children aged 9 to 18. It started as a Lego league team in Homewood and has now grown to include multiple teams and competitions.
2. What is the purpose of the HF Robotics Team?
The team aims to provide structured educational activities for local children and teach them engineering skills from a young age.
3. What kind of challenges do the team members face?
The team members are engaged in building and programming robots for various challenges. The younger division constructs Lego robots to complete designated tasks, while the older division creates and programs more advanced competition robots.
4. How has the HF Robotics Team evolved over the years?
The team has progressed from simple Lego constructions to using machined metals, plastics, and 3D-printed parts for building complex devices. They also utilize programming languages like JAVA and design tools like AutoCAD.
5. What are the benefits of being a part of the HF Robotics Team?
Apart from gaining technical skills, being a part of the team fosters creativity, teamwork, and critical thinking. It prepares members for future careers in engineering, science, and technology.
6. Can others join the HF Robotics Team?
Yes, those interested in joining the Homewood-Flossmoor team and pursuing their passion for engineering and science can find further information on the Homewood Science Center’s website.
Homewood Science Center