Hawaii Island Robotics Academy (HIRA):
Since 2005, Waiakea has been holding an annual camp for grades 3-8. Members of the robotics club are the mentors for the students. The camp is run for one week at the beginning of summer and is held in two sessions, a morning session from 8-12 and an afternoon session from 1-4. Applicants get a feel for the robotics life as they build robots similar to the ones the high schoolers build. The curriculum changes every year and the level of difficulty varies between age groups. At the end of the week, HIRA campers get a taste of competition as they face off against their peers and occasionally the mentors.
Every opportunity that the club gets to spread the word about robotics, they take it. Waiakea High School annually participates in Astro Day and Ellison Onizuka Day. Bringing their varieties of robots with them they demonstrate them for the community. Students are given the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge with younger students through demonstrations at their feeder schools Waiakea Intermediate and Waiakea Elementary. There have been many occasions where students talk with smaller groups of younger students for a more one on one talk about how robotics can affect them. Other demonstrations include Ocean Day, where the community was given the chance to drive an underwater robot that students built while being educated not only underwater but other programs as well.
FIRST Lego League (FLL):
Waiakea High school mentors two elementary school F.L.L. teams. Using NXT kits, mentors use their knowledge to guide students to build and program simple robots. The main focus for the mentors is letting the kids do all the building and programming. The current age group for the two elementary school teams is 3rd-5th grade. In the future, Waiakea hopes to set up a Junior FLL team at Waiakea Elementary geared for the 1st-3rd grades.
Starting in 2009, Waiakea offers a whole new robotics competition, using nothing but a pager motor, hot glue, wires, and a toothbrush! These simple to build robots are for all ages, even parents/teachers. Different contests are applied to different age groups, all using the same idea. There are some minor size restrictions, but generally, there are a wide variety of designs and ideas that can be used for brushbots. Waiakea held three workshops on Oahu and in Hilo for elementary school teachers, teaching them how to build brushbots. The end goal is to have a “brushbot competition” in the spring of 2010. We have recently discontinued support for this program because we do not have the manpower or the resources to continually support this program.