Our high school age FRC team, the Daedalus Project, is the flagship of the American Heritage Charter Robotics Program. The FLL, grades 4-6, and FTC teams, grades 7-8 from Heritage K-8 Charter School were developed to get younger students excited about robotics early and keep them excited into high school. All of our programs work together to create a seamless opportunity for the advancement of students.
The Daedalus Project is the official name of our team, inspired by the Greek creative Engineer who designed the maze to contain the Minotaur monster. Our FTC team is Kronos, after the Greek god who lead the Titans and fathered the Olympians. Our FLL teams also follow the Greek mythology path using Poseidon, Spartans, Cyclops, Telemachus, Iliad, and Odyssey.
Over the last fifteen years, we have developed a robotics culture that includes over 80 students in grades 4-12. We have also involved parents every step of the way, and they have become our biggest advocates as they see the response of their students and the growth of their interest in STEM. We have recruited several of our parents to become coaches and mentors, and they have reached deep into their networks to help provide us with contacts, resources in the industry, and within the community.
Our teams has matured over the years and expanded into new areas as opportunities present themselves. We started with two FTC teams, but decided to combine them into one team when we realized the amount of resources that were needed to make a team successful. FTC and FRC used to share a shop, used on alternate days, but with the FTC expanding we decided each group needed separate space. It was a difficult thing to do, but we managed to find additional space for our FTC team, and our FRC team built a new shop for them over the summer of 2014.
We started the robotics program with a Jr. FLL team for grades 2-3, but now also start the program with our FLL teams, which have also been with us from the very beginning. Over the years, the organization has grown and now we are able to provide two coaches for each team, as well as two lead mentors, who train and assist the coaches. This year we grew from four to six teams, assisting one of the new teams to make buttons they designed, to wear and give out at their qualifying tournaments, emulating the FRC program. The coaches and mentors are all parent volunteers, providing the opportunity for all interested students to participate. In the fall of 2015, we established a new location for the FLL team, also building them extra practice tables.
Such a large FLL program has led to the exciting decision to return to two FTC teams next year. In addition to hosting and running qualifying tournaments for our younger teams, our FRC team provides mentoring and fabrication help to the younger students, allowing the older students to learn how to share their knowledge and skill to help others and inspire the younger students with a picture of how skilled they are and can continue to be if they stay with the FIRST robotics program.
Vision and mission
The vision of the American Heritage Charter Robotics Program is to stimulate intellectual curiosity, enhance critical-thinking abilities, build problem-solving skills, develop a love of STEM, and foster a culture of excellence. It is the mission of the American Heritage Charter Robotics Program to provide a positive team experience through robotics and promote science and technology within the school and in the greater community. The team experience will allow students to develop communication, project management, and interactive skills, as well as build a sense of community and encourage dedication to a common goal.
The American Heritage Charter Robotics Team at ECHS is a part of FIRST Robotics, which aims to help high school students get a glimpse of the world of science and engineering, ultimately assisting them to choose a career in a technical field. This is accomplished through building a robot, competing in tournaments, and allowing students to interact with professionals in a variety of fields. Our program is a year-long venture, and it is our goal to help team members:
- Gain an interest in the different fields of science and engineering
- Develop leadership skills
- Develop overall character
- Develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills
- Build self-confidence
- Learn to work in a team-built environment
- Prepare students for real-world situations
- Demonstrate gracious professionalism at all times