FIRST Global Competition 2018

Thank you to FGC Team USA aka FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) 9794 Wizards.exe for partnering with our Spark program. They distributed 20 Spark Science Kits to teams attending the 2018 FIRST Global Competition in Mexico City. The kits are serving children in 9 countries: Venezuela, Uganda Paraguay, Bosnia, Greece, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Tonga, and Saint Lucia.

They also gave out 300 #FIRSTLikeAGirl Buttons to students, mentors, and volunteers from around the world. The program is a social media movement that strives to improve the culture of STEM by sharing the experiences of the women and girls in FIRST. All over the world, we are seeing the strength of girls’ impact and identity within FIRST as people share their stories and support with #FIRSTLikeAGirl. Please check out FIRSTLikeAGirl.com for more information.

In addition to donating $300 to create the 20 kits, Team USA collected information from every team interested, giving us a huge helping hand in developing relationships with these teams. We have nearly 80 new possible opportunities because of their hard work.

Thank you FGC Team USA!!!

27 Kits shared with 17 Counties

This year we made friends with numerous FIRST Global Competition teams, many were interested in using Spark Kits in their schools or nearby community. In July of this year, a small group of Exploding Bacon students traveled to Washington D.C. to cheer on the teams participating in the FIRST Global Competition. It was such an honor to witness such a display of Global Gracious Professionalism and see the passion of FIRST and robotics spread to so many new countries.

We met up with our new friends at the competition and made even more friends from: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Rwanda, Slovenia, Tunisia, Australia (Team Oceania), Seychelles, China, Bangladesh, The UK, Uganda, Suriname, Myanmar, The Bahamas, and Canada.

We look forward to hearing about the experience of the children with the kits and to hear about their plans to continue to compete in FIRST. Hopefully we will see some of them competing in FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition this year.

8 Spark Kits to 4 New Countries

At the World Championship last month, we met many teams and created tons of new friendships; with the collaboration of 4 of these FRC teams, our team is thrilled to announce that we have sent out 8 new Spark Kits!

  • 5 kits to Turkey with 6409 Odrinias
  • 1 kit to Dominican Republic with 4091 Team DRIFT
  • 1 kit to Chile with 2576 Chilean Heart
  • 1 kit to Israel with 1937 Elysium

We received a very positive response from Odrinias after they tried out the Spark Kits with children in Turkish refugee camps. We thank each one of the teams sharing Spark in their country and look forward to learning about the kit’s impact on your communities.

 

Thank you Panteras, Team 2283

Thank you Panteras, Team 2283 for your translation of our Spark kit instruction book in Spanish.  Your translation will help numerous groups to communicate the scientific experiments to new audiences.

Exploding Bacon greatly appreciates the time you spent translating the instructions and experiment information the to help the Spark initiative help more students understand scientific concepts to solve problems in their own communities.

Thank you!

$1000 Grant from St. Margaret Mary

We are very excited this week to be awarded $1000 from the St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church Capital Campaign Outreach Fund.  They were thrilled to be a part of our initiative to spread STEM throughout the world.  This grant will fund a minimum of 22 new kits!  We are already getting requests for new places to impact.

In March a group of missionaries from St Margaret Mary took our 10th kit to Haiti.  High School students traveling to Haiti used it with the school children in the communities they visited.

 

Spark Kit delivered to Uganda

11160542_10205297972583718_594838676_n 20160201_032124 20160201_033109Summer of 2015, a Spark Kit was mailed to the Home of the Holy Angels, a school and dormitory for over 100 children, orphaned by AIDS/HIV in the Kibale, Uganda district.

It was a new experience for us, as our kits have so far been transported by groups on their journey to communities in need.   This was our first experience with customs.  Each item had to be inventoried, weighed and documented on the customs form.  We watched the USPS tracking of the kit and awaited it’s arrival to the children.

Through the rainy season and internet troubles, we awaited news and pictures.  The teacher working with the children at that time has gone on to further his education, so we are still awaiting his feedback, but we were excited to finally get some pictures.  The kids look like they had fun.

 

Spark Kits in Haiti!

Spark is Exploding Bacon’s initiative to send science kits filled with basic supplies to locations around the world and inspire children everywhere to make differences in their own communities.

While the kit may seem like an unsuspecting box of paper clips, rubber bands, strings, a prism, pulleys and more, using the accompanying experiment guide children can quickly turn those materials into scientific adventures!

This October, our Spark kits made their debut in Haiti when one of our mentors lead a mission trip to Haiti.

Haitian Christian Mission began 40 years ago on the porch of Betty and Etienne Prophete’s home in Port au Prince. It has since grown to serve 10,250 students in 53 schools around the country of Haiti. Their students rank 2nd in the nation in their accreditation exams. The campus in Fonds Parisien includes a K-12 school, a church, a translation school for adults, a clinic and a nationally recognized OB/GYN hospital, a woodworking shop, a sewing workshop, a new youth center, and a soon-to-open peanut butter factory.

One of the most effective of HCM’s outreaches is their Play It Forward program. PIF began in 2011 with a soccer team which holds students accountable to good grades, good character attributes including sportsmanship, and church attendance. PIF has since added a similar basketball program. Other outreaches are an associated orphanage and a preschool for indigent children.

Noah Halfon, a student member, and his family began their involvement with HCM in June of 2010 on a construction mission.  The family has participated food distributions, book distributions in native Creole, a teacher workshop, water purification systems, and vacation Bible schools. Each trip has been unique in its purpose and experience.

This year, Noah’s mother Shanna Halfon was excited to bring the science kits created and sponsored by Exploding Bacon. These kits demonstrate simple scientific concepts such as magnetism, gravity, light, and simple machines. “The teachers were incredibly grateful to have hands-on material to help students relate to textbook learning and to promote interest in the study of science and technology.” Mrs Halfon shared.  She demonstrated the kits in three villages: Nan Plaisir, Fonds Parisien, and Lak Azul (the Lake Village).

The Lake Village is a remote settlement hemmed in by mountains, the lake, and the Dominican Republic border and is only accessible by rowboat. Their school, as are most in Haiti, is funded solely through student sponsorships. We sponsor a 12 year old girl named Evena and I have the joy of seeing her every year. Classes only go through 5th grade due to lack of funding. This village has a distinct water problem in that there are no wells and the lake is brackish; all clean water must be trucked in from the Dominican Republic at great expense to the villagers.

“Explaining robotics, and more so Exploding Bacon, to students who cannot relate even to a Frisbee was challenging. I attempted to describe, through an interpreter, in the most simple terms what FIRST is. Students and their teachers participated in demonstrations and I worked to relate what they were learning to their every day life. Simple machines became a lesson in how to make work on a mountainside easier; the study of light and colors taught that lighter colors help keep a person (or house) cooler. Students’ favorite items were the prism and the pulley.”  Mrs. Halfon explained.

“The thought I could not escape during the entire trip was that we, Exploding Bacon, and FIRST can do more. These children are eager to learn, they are innovative, and they are problem-solvers. My challenge to our students at home is to find a way to work with these Haitian students whether remotely or in person, whether it is more kits in more villages, or whether it is planting a FIRST team in Haiti. Our students may well find themselves changed as they change the world.”

We learned a lot from Mrs. Halfon’s experience.  Having someone from the team work the the materials and instructions with the kids, gave us insight into how it was effective and what we needed to modify.

Check out more on Exploding Bacon in the Fall Newsletter.

Spark Experiments Are Here!

Last Monday the students from all Exploding Bacon teams worked hard to come up with experiment ideas that could go in the kits. Together they generated almost 50 fantastic ideas as they prototyped with common place objects such as paperclips and straws. Through out the week we ranked each experiment on its potential cost, wow factor, size, and reusability, eventually getting down to 9 unique sets of materials that can make even more imagination sparking experiments!

 

We are proud to announce to contents of our first prototype kit, containing 9 sets of 100% reusable materials so that recipients can inspire students for years to come!

 

Materials and Experiments included:

Simple Machines

Explore the basic tools that make everything we have work

Color Exploration

Explore the world of light by splitting light into all of its colors with a prism

Heat Absorption

Use what you learned about light to discover why certain colors get hotter than others

Magnetism

Use magnets to complete multiple experiments exploring the world of magnetic fields

Cartesian Diver

Discover how things float with a pipet and water bottle as you change the pressure inside to make it sink or swim

Ball Drop

Recreate the famous experiment done from Italy to the moon, drop different size and weight objects to explore gravity

Double Bounce

Launch balls into the air higher than they could bounce on their own using concepts of energy and momentum

Construction Kit

Use our custom reusable structures kit to build various buildings to discover what makes structures strong

Scale

Discover the differences in density, mass, and volume, by making a scale and weighing objects against each other

 

These experiments, along with instructions for many more, will be available in our phase one kits starting in October!

 

Spark Launch

We’ve officially launched! The students and mentors of Exploding Bacon are excited to bring you our latest and most ambitious initiative yet, Spark.
Spark is a global STEM initiative designed to spark the imaginations of children around the world by giving them the opportunity to explore the wonders of science.
Last night the students of 4-H Exploding Bacon Robotics Club worked hard to come up with experiments using limited resources that we could easily ship to other countries, some great ideas were generated and now we’re on to the finalization stage to figure out exactly what experiments will be sent in the kits!
We are also excited to announce that one of our parents and mentors will be traveling to six different schools in Haiti this October, and she will be taking our first kits with her! As she visits the schools she will help run the experiments and inspire the children of Haiti with a love of science and technology, we couldn’t be more excited for her trip!
As we continue developing our kits and locations we will make sure to keep you informed of our progress. We’re looking forward to what the future has to hold for Spark, and we can’t wait to work for that future.
Make sure to follow us on twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with all we do!
-The Spark Team