The DARC SIDE aims to positively impact both team members and the surrounding community in multiple ways. Through engaging in the DARC SIDE, team members will have the opportunity to build on their passion for STEM fields and further develop life skills essential for pursuing careers in STEM. Additionally, students will expand their collaboration, executive functioning, and written and verbal communication skills.

We plan to disseminate our knowledge and excitement for robotics and FRC by hosting outreach events for the general public, as well as events targeting the inclusion of students with disabilities. For example, we will host a “Robotics and Engineering” day for elementary and middle school students to engage in hands-on, socially relevant challenges that can be solved with robotics and engineering. During this event, our FRC team members will lead the challenges, such as designing and building a model robot that can pick up food boxes and place them in a bin at a food bank.

Additionally, our FRC team is working with the Wonder Connections, an outreach group with the NC Botanical Gardens that provides science programming to families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. Through this effort, our FRC team will commit to providing an evening program focused on robotics principles and applications in order to engage students of all ages as well as their parents.

We will host two post-season events available to the students at The Hill Center, a school for students with diagnosed learning differences and attention difficulties. The Hill Center and Durham Academy share an institutional affiliation agreement and strive for opportunities to unite their campuses and student bodies, as appropriate. One event will be held during their general meeting time during the school day. Members of the DARC SIDE will share their experiences with FRC and the robot that competed. The second event will be a 3-hour long workshop that will take place on a weekend in April (date to be determined). We will invite students from both The Hill Center and DA to participate in mini-robotics challenges. Last year, we were able to share promising practices for adapting FRC written material to meet the needs of all students. We hope this will complement our outreach efforts aimed at students who might not otherwise participate in FRC.

Rohan teaches DA lower schoolers about Bracket Buster.