STEM Field Trip: SWAT Team Members & a Cool Robot
Inspire Your Kids to get Involved with STEM Through Field Trips
My children and I are a part of a homeschool co-op. The co-op is a group of homeschoolers in the area that get together weekly to have classes together. Primarily, the moms teach the classes, but sometimes others are brought in to teach a class. My kids love being a part of the co-op. Friday, one of the moms arranged for a Deputy from the Special Response Team (SRT) in our area to pay our homeschool co-op a visit. (He explained to us that the SRT is the same thing as a SWAT team, but they now use a more politically correct name.) So in our case, the field trip came to us. 🙂 My oldest daughter Annaliese is in a STEM class at the co-op, so she and I had the opportunity to hear the Deputy speak. Another deputy on the team also came with him. Besides helping to take down bad guys, the team also searches for children and missing elderly people. They have a lot of tools they use to do their jobs. One of the VERY cool tools they use is a robot, which he brought to show the kids.
It is a search robot. They have 2 robots in their unit. The robot he showed us is controlled by a remote box. The law enforcement officer using the box is able to see what the cameras on the robot is viewing. The robot has some very cool features. For example, they can remotely detonate things such as smoke canisters, that are placed on the robot. They use the robot to search houses and other buildings. Usually by the time they send the robot inside a building, they have already breached the front door, but inside he said there may be bedrooms, closet doors, etc. that may be closed. They can use the claw on the robot to try to open such doors. There’s 2-way communication on the robot so they can talk to the bad guy if necessary. The robot can climb stairs, and he demonstrated this for us.
The robots are built by a local company called Super Droid Robots. The cool thing about the company being local, is that it makes it easy for the law enforcement members to go and brainstorm with the robot builders about how they can make a better robot. For example, their first robot could not open doors, and he requested that the builders figure out a way to make the robot open doors. That’s why their second robot has this feature. The company they use appeared on a show called Robot Wars and even won the competition on the show one year. The company also builds robots for other agencies such as fire departments. Fire departments use robots to search buildings to see if they are structurally sound enough for firemen to enter the buildings. They also build robots for colleges.
A field trip such as this is a great opportunity to show your child what kinds of things they can do if they become an expert in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math. We can inspire our children to become involved in STEM activities by taking them on field trips. The deputy charged us nothing to come speak with the children, to tell about his robot, and to demonstrate some of the things it could do.
So remember, keep showing your kids the many possibilities they have if they become involved with STEM.