Throughout the years, the Killer Bee students have gone out of their ways to help other teams, especially FIRST Lego League and FIRST Tech Challenge Teams. The Killer Bees have created mock-tournaments and have also been judges at real tournaments. The Bees spread their love of learning and working with other people to members of younger teams to inspire them to continue with the FIRST experience. This past season, two Killer Bees mentored and refereed for these teams.
Perry, a sophomore, jumped on the bandwagon to help a struggling FLL team. With little done just a few weeks to go before their first competition, Perry helped them to enhance and program their robot. This was a challenge for both Perry and the younger students he was mentoring. He learned how to program the new EV3 hand-in-hand with the FLL members. Perry said it was a “good experience” working and learning with them. He adopted similar methods of teaching for his students as the FRC mentors used during the FRC build season. Instead of teaching at the students, he taught them what they needed to know but let them experience and understand it in their own way. By the time the competitions started, the team had a robust robot that they were proud of. They took home awards at every event they attended, including awards for the robot and core values. The season ended with a very proud team who not only learned how to make an award-winning robot, but also had an amazing education and story to go along with it.
Perry also supported a FTC team this year. As it was the first year for both the team and Perry, it was definitely a learning experience on both ends. According to him, it was a “complicated” process and harder to understand than he expected, but Perry and the team worked hard to make their robot the best that they could. Perry discovered that the best way to get the best robot possible in the limited amount of time was to complete the task at hand, then go back and fix, tune, and touch up after. This approach worked and the team did extremely well, including a huge range of scoring positions in autonomous mode as well as a good-looking robot on top of it all. Even after the robot was built, Perry continued to teach the FTC members. He taught them what to look for to scout other teams in both the pits and during matches, both techniques used on the Killer Bees. The team took all of these skills to their competitions and even took home first place at the regional tournament. Although the training was long and hard, the season ended in the best way possible. Both the mentors and students took a lot away. Not only did they have to completely learn how to create and run a FTC team and robot, but also how to work together to be the best team they could be.
Another student, a freshman Christopher, refereed a FLL tournament. He got to see how each team approached the challenges differently. He said it was interesting that each individual team and student created a completely unique way to solve the problems at hand. Each team had their own thought process and way to handle what was given to them and it was evident in their final product at the competition. No two teams were exactly alike, which is what makes FIRST so special.
The Killer Bees have learned so much during their FIRST seasons and love to share that passion of knowledge and creation with the up-and-coming members of the FIRST community. Going out into the world and getting involved with other people not only opens their minds, but the mentors’ minds as well.