About Robotics Club
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve taken our Robotics Club online. There are still plenty of things to learn and do, so sign up through the buttons below.
Every other Wednesday from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, Ocean Alliance hosts our after-school Robotics Club at our headquarters at the Tarr & Wonson Paint Factory in Gloucester. The Robotics Club is generously funded by the Applied Materials Foundation. There is no charge to join the club and we provide free of charge instruction, materials, and equipment.
The Robotics Club provides a safe, fun, friendly, dynamic and engaging environment where kids can satisfy their interests in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects. In addition, we have informal meetups on the weekends and allow students at all levels (including university classes and clubs) to use our space on an as-needed basis. We have just under 100 people on the club mailing list and typically get from 15 to 40 people coming to the club on any given Wednesday.
Activities include Drone Blocks where you can learn to fly and program DJI Tello drones, build a radio controlled airplane or glider, practice your flight skills on our flight simulators and a earn a Paint Factory Fliers license to fly our machines, or use our tools and space to work on your own project.
You can come for 30 min and run a simulator or stay 2 hours and start building a robot. There is no maximum or minimum time or effort participants just need to bring their enthusiasm.
We are expanding our current Robotics Club by offering a club just for girls. We know how important diversity is in the STEM fields, and that many STEM fields lack female voices. The goal of the club is to introduce more girls to science and technology and give them a place to tinker, to ask questions, and to not be afraid of making mistakes. Our hope is that by coming to the club, girls can be inspired to work on their own projects, make new friends, and have mentors for life.
The Girls’ Club is led by Ocean Alliance Assistant Director Alicia Pensarosa, with support from female volunteers and role models within our community. The club sessions will be hosted every other week. An email will be sent our prior to each club night with an overview of the project and information on how to join the meeting. The projects are planned in advance, but with the flexibility to align projects with interests and skill sets. The girls club will focus on project design, programming, electronics, science, and of course, whales!
We will feature women in the STEM fields and have lined up a few volunteers to join us at our sessions to share their experiences.
Every other week (except during the winter or when weather prohibits) we have a flying session where members bring their drones, planes and other unmanned aerial systems to a local field to fly. Our newsletter also keeps our members updated with happenings in the wider robotics industry. At its most basic, the club concentrates on four key areas:
- Construction – making and repairing models/machines.
- Soldering – wiring and connecting circuit boards.
- Programming – a lot of the machines we use need to be told what to do (we are about to start using the raspberry pie — a small, practical and programmable computer)
- Flying – we have 3 simulators that can be used for plane, boat, quadcopter and car simulations. Once kids have qualified on the simulators they can then fly our more expensive machines.
Our Robotics Laboratory (located in a converted shipping container at our site in Gloucester) has a wide array of equipment including tools for wiring, building and repairing drones or other systems, simulators, a 3D printer, and game consoles.
This is a unique and immensely valuable resource for all the kids who are able to come, and it has been inspiring watching so many children become so engaged and animated with robotics and engineering. Watching their skill level increase quickly, to the point where many of the regular participants are now not only helping others their own age but even helping our own staff in the repair and construction of their own vehicles, including drones from our SnotBot program. We have also received a number of wonderful appraisals from the parents of participants, who have told us of their children’s passion for the subject and how our club has allowed such a constructive outlet, in such a positive learning environment, to their passion.
If you are interested in coming along to the club, want to bring your kids along, or simply want to learn more about the club, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.