As fall semester at UC Berkeley draws to a close, we wanted to share what PiE has been working on in the past few months.
On October 20th, over 65 high school students participated in our 4th annual Pioneers in Engineering Fall Competition. The event intends to serve as a second chance for the students to play the Spring competition’s game, Solar Scramble. These students from all over the East Bay made the trip to UC Berkeley campus to experience the learning, fun, and competition of this all-day event in Hearst Memorial Mining Building.
We started off the day with a series of qualification matches used to rank the teams. Many teams, like LPS Richmond, tried the standard strategy of refining and reusing their original design from the Spring reason at this event. However, some teams like Hercules scrapped their original design in hopes of having a better rework. All the hard work in various forms seemed to aid in more competitive matches and more student enjoyment.
Another factor that improved Fall Competition was a fundamental rule change, a reduction in the costs of the goals. Never in PiE’s history has there been a change to the game especially for Fall Competition. The change was generally praised by students to make the game more interesting.
We also held two workshops at Fall Competition. During the qualification matches, the students got the opportunity to attend our programming workshop. The workshop was highly requested and gave many an introductory level of knowledge, a skill necessary for the later programming of the robot.
After lunch, we held our second diversity workshop run by our Education team. Each year hopes to introduce students to a broader topic in STEM education and expose students to the philanthropic, social, and economic aspects of STEM. This year focused on the diversity of ideas, in which students explored concepts of applying interdisciplinary interests into engineering ideas. Students drew inspiration from Japanese railway engineers who designed a high-speed train based on bird anatomy to encourage them to explore creative ways to integrate their interests in the engineering landscape. Afterward, students participated in an open panel where college students from a variety of majors answered questions ranging from college applications to navigating university as a minority student.
The day ended with elimination matches. Teams played best of 3 on the winner’s side and a best of 1 on the loser’s side. These matches cumulated into a comeback through the loser’s side by Miramonte, De Anza, and Hayward. Nonetheless, Skyline, LPS Richmond, and Oakland School for the Arts put up an impressive challenge in the final matches.
We would like to thank ACLC, De Anza, El Cerrito, Encinal, Hayward, Hercules, LPS Richmond, Miramonte, OSA, Pinole Valley, Salesian, and Skyline for attending this event and making it as fantastic as it was. We very much hope everyone enjoyed Fall Competition and we hope to see you all again. Also, shout out to PiE staff and our sponsors for making all of this possible!
PiE on the Road
Pioneers in Engineering continues it’s off-season customizable robotics kit project to deliver an affordable robotics experience to students. The PiE in a Box project started as an initiative to further accessibility of a robotics experience by creating an affordable kit that can be shipped to students anywhere. Coupled with the PiE on the Road project to bring our Berkeley students into the High School classrooms, PiE in a Box on the Road enables students in the bay area to experience our working iteration of deliverable kit. Our upgraded second year of PiE on the Road in a Box features a customizable kit fit to teach fundamental building skills, simple kinematics, elementary electrical wiring, and applications of gear ratios. To improve from last year’s design, this new kit features affordable motors for students to take home to experiment and improved customized laser cut pieces. Over the course of the semester, our student engineers worked closely with our education team to create a curriculum to drive home the learning experience through an educational packet customized for the kit. The packet includes alternative activities, conceptual diagrams, and design challenges that allow our students to take learning with our kit to the next level.
Over the month of November, our Berkeley students hosted 5 workshops across the bay, delivering at least ten of our $25 kits to each of these events. The two held on Berkeley campus were in partnership with the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation and the Berkeley Society for Women Engineers. Three workshops across the bay took place at Coliseum, Hayward, and Hercules HIgh School. Unfortunately, the Butte county fires covered the Bay in a bed of smog, causing a pushback in the scheduled workshop at Hercules High School and neighboring schools, but our staff has plans to reschedule and serve this community.