FIRST Flames

In our "FIRST Flames" program we introduce robotic concepts and specifically FIRST robotics to younger grade students and to the general public. Through demos and camps we give live robot demonstrations and planned activities. We find that the best method is hands-on experience, which is why we strive to let as many people as possible drive our robot, explore its inside, etc. all while maintaining a safe environment. The goal of FIRST is to create a culture in which kids idealize STEM heroes and dream of emulating them. At Combustion, we realize that in order for this to happen, kids must be exposed at a very young age. We seek every opportunity to show children that robotics is the new cool. We have visited various camps including Fit as a Firefighter, First Baptist, and 21st Century. This is in addition to co-hosting our own week long Science Camp that exposed one hundred and thirty kids various fun STEM activities. Throughout the year we travelled to our Annual Boy Scouts Expo, Bonne Ecole's Science Night, our Parish's College and Career Night and Truth 180's Teen Summit for troubled youth. While partnering with our sponsors, we gave demonstrations of PWR's and Michoud's "Take Our Children to Work Day". We often are asked back to demo and therefore make many repeat appearances at places throughout the years. For example, 2014 will make our eighth time at our city's Fourth of July Heritage Fest.


MAVEN Launch Event
MAVEN Launch
At NASA's Infinity Complex at Stennis Space Center, we brought Hammerhead to generate interest for the latest mission launch. MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission) will explore the upper atmosphere of Mars and attempt to reveal details of its past. Hammerhead entertained local schoolchildren before the much-anticipated "blast-off," televised live from Kennedy Space Center. The Infinity Center's exhibits offered a rare blend of information and excitement, even drawing a local news crew to interview us about our partnership with NASA. We enjoyed the eventful morning, and hope that the MAVEN mission opens new horizons of deep space exploration.

Xavier District FLL Qualifier
To give New Orleans FLL teams a chance to compete close to home, we partnered with Xavier University to host a second qualifying tournament. All twelve teams, including several bilingual schools, presented to the judges and participated in Nature's Fury matches. The great facility allowed everyone to easily watch the matches, especially from the upper balconies. Seven teams were rewarded with the opportunity to compete in the State Championship in December. We loved this second chance to actively participate in the Nature's Fury challenge, volunteering as the field reset crew, timekeepers, scorers, and awards writers.
Xavier FLL Qualifier

Northshore FLL Qualifier
Northshore District FLL Qualifier
We hosted a qualifying tournament for the local FLL teams, opening our cafeteria to kids, parents, volunteers, and (of course) robots. Everyone enjoyed the spirited atmosphere, with judging sessions and practice matches in the morning and competition rounds in the afternoon. It was great to see all six teams finesse their game strategies for Nature's Fury, while displaying Gracious Professionalism throughout the day. We were very proud to announce the five teams advancing to the State Championship, and can't wait to see them excel at the next level.

Whispering Forest Pumpkin Patch
At a local elementary school's Fall Festival, we brought Hammerhead to promote FIRST. It was a little warm throughout the day, but the sky was clear and soon saw discs arcing to kids of all ages. One of the FLL teams that we partner with came as well, with their 2012 robot and field set. Overall, this was a great way to spend an October weekend in preparation for Halloween. We even picked out personal pumpkins to decorate from Whispering Forest's surplus.
Pumpkin Patch

Club Week
Freshman Orientation / Club Week
As part of our recruitment process we demo for many of the prospective students. A week before school officially starts, Team 1912 participates in our school's Freshman Orientation. Along with many of the other large clubs at Northshore, we set up a booth and explained to the these new students what robotics is all about. A few weeks into school there is "Club Week" where all the clubs showcase their programs and attract new members. We have a tendency to steal the spotlight, because, well, a robot rolling through the commons is pretty hard to miss.

District PTA Workshop
To show our appreciation for our district school board, we attended a District PTA Workshop/Expo. Although we shared space with other deserving organizations, Hammerhead generated much interest with a flurry of flying discs. We played catch with the superintendent, Trey Folse, and assistant superintendent Peter Jabbia. We answered questions from parents and teachers alike between their seminar sessions. All the teachers and parents were impressed with our performance, and left inspired by their contact with FIRST.
District PTA Visit

Heritage Fest
Heritage Fest
For seven years now, Team 1912 has attended the annual Fourth of July Heritage Festival, at Heritage Park in Slidell. Each year, we demo our robot on the sidewalk in front of our booth, attracting crowds of children and adults alike. It also gives our team members a chance to make a plethora of new contacts from local businesses, other teams, and politicians, including our mayor. We are very privileged to attend an event like the Heritage Festival year after year!

Rocket Camp
Inspiring local kids to shoot for the best, Team 1912 organized and ran our second annual Rocket Camp for students from third to fifth grade. As dedicated team counselors, 1912 members worked with the Boyet Jr. High FLL team to bring a fun learning experience to nearly forty campers. Children designed, assembled, and launched handheld rockets based on the basic principles of aerospace mathematics, physics, and engineering. From Estes Firesteak kits to pressurized water rockets, the campers expressed their knowledge with creative designs and flamboyant decorations. Team 1912 looks forward to summers filled with Rocket Camps for even more young campers interested in hands-on rocketry.
Rocket Camp

Science Camp
CSI Science Camp
Our biggest outreach event this summer was the week long CSI Science Camp that we co-hosted with Cypress Cove Elementary for the fourth consecutive year. We provided funding, counselors and a considerable part of curriculum. We received a lot of NASA support due to their "Summer of Innovation" program. For five days, 120 kids from 1st to 5th grade learned about various topics and performed fun and cool experiments. On Team 1912 Day, our members operated stations relating to robotics and rocketry, including our very own Hammerhead. Every student drove the robot, and several even scored discs into nearby basketball goals. We were very happy to have to help from members of Boyet Jr. High's FIRST Lego League team, who ran a practice match for the campers. As if the camp was not successful enough, it has also lead to the creation of Junior Lego league teams at Cypress Cove.

Camp Bearable
This year, several team members decided to visit the inaugural Camp Bearable. This summer program focuses on children who have recently lost a loved one. We contributed to the camp with our robot, Thermite. Each camper got to drive from the operator's console, then tried catching the Rebound Rumble balls in the most creative way. Even though we had to demo inside due to rain clouds, everyone had fun as Thermite shot balls at varying heights with unpredictable timing. We hope to come back next year (outside!) for an equally satisfying event.
Camp Bearable Visit

Zephyrs Visit
Zephyrs Pre-game Activity
Responding to a NASA invitation, we visited Zephyrs Field in New Orleans to reach out to underprivileged students. Thermite was a huge hit, shooting basketballs to kids for a couple of hours before an exhibition game by the New Orleans Zephyrs. Even teachers and parents joined in the fun, eager to learn more about FIRST. We teamed up with FRC Team 2080 Torbotics, from Hammond High School, to inspire around 3,500 local students by the end of the day. It was a unique mid-morning demo to an exceptionally enthusiastic crowd.

Boyet Jr. High Presentation
After participating in the Zephyrs Pre-game event in the morning, we travelled back to Slidell to visit Boyet Jr. High. There, we talked with a mixed class of 7th and 8th graders to promote our team. We dispelled myths about robotics ("It's too complicated"; "Only geniuses do robotics") by discussing the many roles within a successful team and inspiring the students to join as soon as possible. We ended our visit with a robot demo in the halls, providing a break from the normal school routine. Who wants to sit in a desk when you can play with a robot?
Boyet Visit

D-Day Lego Event
D-Day Museum Lego Challenge
In October, several team members donated extra time to help design a World War II-themed robotics tournament. The final competition took a similar format to FIRST Lego League, with autonomous Lego robots accomplishing different tasks on a large table. At the inaugural event, focusing on the Home Front, we volunteered alongside FRC Team 3946, Tiger Robotics. 1912 members refereed on the fields, managed the match queue, and directed teams from the pit area. Everyone had a blast as the day ended in a successful combination of history and robotics.

State PTA Convention
To increase support for STEM education, several team members brought Thermite to the Louisiana State PTA Convention in Baton Rouge. We provided robotic entertainment to kids and parents before a special lunch. One of our members spoke to an entire conference room of influential PTA members, promoting FIRST in every public school. We can't wait to come back and inspire more families to pursue better education.
State PTA Visit

Planetarium Premier
Kenner Planetarium Premier
During the build-up to the Bayou Regional, our team took some time off to partner with NASA's community outreach. Several students travelled to the Kenner Planetarium with our 2012 robot, Thermite. We demoed to families before the red-carpet premier of a special "Sid the Science Kid" event. After playing robot basketball for most of the morning, we toured the newly renovated planetarium and enjoyed astronaut ice cream with our NASA neighbors.

Mardi Gras Parade
One of the perks of living down South is enjoying the chaos and craziness of a festival we like to call Mardi Gras. Even robotics kids can't help but join in the fun. For the second consecutive year, we were invited to march in our city's oldest parade - The Krewe of Slidellians. We created a robotics truck float that displayed one of our previous year's robots and our iconic trailer, Onyx. PEDRO, our newest demo bot, shot confetti, cups, and beads into the crowd. Some team members marched along side the float tossing beads and business cards while others carried parade sponsor banners all along the route. While the five mile trek was exhausting, it gave us a great opportunity to spread our wildfire!
Mardi Gras Parade


Boys and Girls Club
Boys and Girls Club at Yazoo City
To reach the underserved communities of the Gulf Coast, Team 1912 packed robot Thermite and headed for the four-hours-away land of Yazoo City, Mississippi. There, we were welcomed by the Boys and Girls' Club as a fellow FIRST partner, delighted to share science and technology during an astronomical special occasion (the transit of Venus! Next date: December 10, 2117). Thermite wowed families and friends with basketball skills, while 1912 members ensured every child a drive from behind the operator's console. We believe that every child and school deserves the chance to become passionate about robotics.

National AARP Conference
Over the fall, Team 1912 was invited to the National AARP Conference, held in New Orleans. We showcased Thermite for the Life@50+ event and set up our pit area, giving a colorful burst to the convention center. An AARP Board Member even drove the robot himself. Conveniently, the FLL theme this year is "Senior Solutions", tying the AARP and robotics together in a neat package. We had a blast answering questions from curious visitors and showing how robots will change the future in every field for every age.
AARP Convention

Girl Scout Camp
Girl Scout Camellia Camp
Continuing a tradition of spreading FIRST even outside of school communities, Team Combustion had a blast with Girl Scout troops at the Camellia City Demo. With eager girls crowding around to learn more about driving, designing, and building robots, our students shared the FIRST experience with everyone from troop parents and leaders to even the youngest Girl Scout. The Camellia City demo is part of an ongoing 1912 focus to encourage and empower more young women to pursue STEM futures through fun and creative means.

First Baptist Summer Camp
his summer we were invited by the First Baptist Church to do a demonstation at their week-long camp. The children varied in ages but all were interested in various topics of robotics. While the line to drive to robot moved along, many of the children were filled with great questions from the application to robotics to the weight of our battery. Luckily we were able to answer all their inquiries and show them some really cool robotics, something that delighted them all.
First Baptist

Boy Scouts
Boy Scouts Expo
In the early spring, right after the Championship event, we attended the Regional Boy Scouts Expo in New Orleans' City Park. The Boy Scouts and FIRST Robotics share many things such as the desire to serve their community while enriching the lives of their members, which makes it only natural that the two organizations would partner. This year the robotics merit badge was introduced and we are hoping to help troops achieve this badge. Currently we are working to form boy scout based FIRST teams that may participate in Lego League.

Boo Fest
We got our spooky side on at the Lakeview Medical Center an event that raises money for disabled children. During Boo Fest, various organizations set up little booth or 'houses' that children visit to collect candy. Team Combustion put their own spin on it, offering candy and the chance to drive one of our robots. This offered us another opportunity to partner with one of our favorite groups, Northshore Families Helping Families. With all the fun costumes, the very worthy cause and a healthy dose of robotics, it was a very fun and spirited demo.
Boo Fest

College and Career Night
College and Career Night
At an annual parish wide expo night, students and the parents from around the area explore possible career path options. With a host of information and our robot, we explained to many why any STEM field would be an excellent and rewarding choice. The majority of our alumni have gone into science or engineering and it's always great to spread the word about one of the fastest and best paying job markets.

Veterans Day Parade
To show our support for those who serve and have served our country we marched in our city's fourth annual Veterans Day Parade. Our team decked out one of our team member's truck with flags and other patriotic decorations. With a robot on display, we marched down our city's main streets. While parade routes may be tiring, it's all worth it when you here random citizens remember that, "Hey there's the robotics team!" We look forward to marching for years to come, to spread our fiery science love and show support for our beloved veterans.
Veterans Day Parade

Fit as a Firefighter
Fit as a Firefighter Camp
For the past three years we have visited one of the most health conscious summer camps in our city,Fit as a Firefighter Camp. It encourages children to make smart, nutritional choices regarding their diet. We show these 80+ campers that being invovled in robotics is one of the smartest decisions you could make. The response has always been a gleeful and as seen in the picture, playing with our robot is one of more favorite activites.While we build robots, we also aim for healthy lifestyles!

Belle Chasse Visit
Besides producing high-quality robots for competitions, Team 1912 makes its sponsors proud by spreading the word about science and technology in fun, innovative ways. A visit to the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse on behalf of gracious sponsor NRL proved to be as rewarding for crowds there as it was for our students. The STEM Youth Summer Blitz was a hit. With Thermite and his basketballs in tow, 1912 spoke to throngs of interested kids on the base, showing them the many benefits of joining a robotics team. After letting roomfuls of eager young kids drive Thermite and examine his anatomy, Team Combustion finished the day with an on-stage offer to help start JrFLL, FLL, and FRC teams.
Belle Chase Visit