Robotics and STEM education in rural Honduras

In rural areas? Yes, you are reading it correctly. We are sowing seeds to a better future for our youth through STEM education. Each difficulty is a new learning opportunity. The pandemic has undoubtedly marked our lives in many areas. To our young people in Intibucá, these last four months were the propitious moment to proudly represent Honduras and make the world aware of our Regional STEM center in the FIRST Global robotics competition.

The team

This year, team Honduras was composed of young people from small villages and rural communities in the mountains of Intibucá, Honduras. Each member has different objectives, life purposes, and ways of thinking. Yet all with a common goal: to finish our high school studies and graduate with a university degree. To then become professionals with proposals for change in our communities and contribute to the greatness of our country. We don’t take our studies for granted. Most children in Honduras do not continue going to school past 6th grade, and families make great sacrifices for their students to be in high school. The team was brand-new it was the first year we included a third municipality.  None of them knew robotics, but this experience allowed them to take on a great challenge and responsibility to learn about robotics to represent our country.

Team Honduras

Honduras Robotic's Team 2021

Competition 2021

The team was expected to deepen the settled robotics projects pa aimed at solving educational, environmental, health, and economic problems. We knew that there were a variety of obstacles to overcome, such as difficulties in transportation for the training sessions, training time, climate, and connectivity. It should be noted that during the COVID 19 pandemic, the sessions have been through virtual platforms, especially Zoom. Many times, the connectivity failure has implied moving from one place to another to get signal, walking more than an hour to the educational center, sometimes in the rain.

The competition covered challenges in the following categories: a solution project challenge, social media challenges, technical challenges, and a CubeSat construction challenge. These challenges required maximum performance from each one of the team members, both physically and intellectually.
However, they were willing to take on the challenge and move forward with designing, building, programming robots and competing locally to be the best.

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The team learning about pragramming before the competition stared

At the end of June, when the competition had not yet started, Professor Allan Ostrow traveled from the United States to train the team for a week. The training took place in the facilities of the very new Regional STEM center. One of the biggest challenges of the competition was to describe in detail a solution project in any of the following areas, environment, health, economy, or education. After analyzing each one of the options, we realized that education is the basis for prosperity in the other suggested areas.

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Professor Alan teaching about robotics

STEM education in our country is privatized in its entirety, families with limited resources throughout the area do not have the opportunity to enter this world of knowledge. Our project was focused on education as a response to the need of learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Taking into account that we have a regional center in the south of Intibucá and that we can make it function as a STEM teaching establishment, Shoulder to Shoulder have decided to equip it with the necessary materials and tools to train personnel in the use and application of STEM. With this project, we intended to start a new lifestyle for the families of our community, beginning to educate our children and youth as they are agents of change for the development of our country. The education to be implemented will be theoretical and will allow young people to apply their acquired knowledge, using technological equipment and industrial machines, which will allow them to create products and offer services that generate economic income.

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The team building the robot

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, it has been possible to buy 2 - 3D printers. One of them was used to create a piece to complete the CubeSat challenge. What a thrill to discover a new world of technology! Likewise, other electrical machines were used to cut metal and wood. Without a doubt, this caused a lot of emotion in each of our team members. We are very proud to announce we got place #23 worldwide.

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Cube sat launching

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Besides that, we never imagined that our history and project would spread all over the world; we are beyond happy to be one of the main news of the First Global website. We invite you to read the complete note at https://first.global/stories/honduras/

2021 was a year of many challenges and much learning. Our most sincere thanks to all the donors for helping us to sow this little plant of STEM Education in our youth’s lives.

Merry Christmas!

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