Rockville Science Center sponsors Explorer Post 1010, organized under the national Learning-for-Life Exploring Program. Post 1010 is a group of around 40 high school students with interests in computers, robotics, rockets, and engineering who meet weekly in teams to prepare for competitions in one of four national programs (see below). Under the guidance of RSC President Bob Ekman, who has run Post 1010 along with a group of committed adults since 1997, RSC offers meeting space, guidance in setting up a leadership structure, equipment and practice scrimmages to participating high school students. More information about Post 1010 projects may be found at the POST 1010 website.
FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) – requires the students to build, program, test and document a robot to complete scoring challenges. They use Tetrix robotics kits from Pitsco, augmented with basic robot building material. Competition is done in alliance with another team, randomly assigned at first and then selected in the final stages. Post 1010 has had teams in FTC since 2011. We have done well in the past and have been represented in the Maryland State finals every year.
Botball® Educational Robotics – requires the students to build, program, test and document two robots to complete scoring challenges. The robots are built out of kits provided by KISS Institute for Practical Robotics (KIPR). A regional kick-off workshop is held in February. The team has 8 weeks to prepare for a regional tournament. Post 1010 has had a team in the regional Botball program since 2001. We have won many awards. In July, KIPR holds the Global Conference on Educational Robotics, an international conference and tournament (GCER). Post 1010 has sent a team every year since 2002.
Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) – requires the students to build and fly a mid-size rocket to a specific altitude and return to the ground in a specific time period. The build and test starts in September and runs to qualification flights by April. If selected, the national fly-off is in May. Post 1010 has had TARC teams since 2005. We have had several teams in the national fly-off.
UAS4STEM (Unmanned Aerial System) – requires the students to build and fly a mid-size quad-copter through a competition course in a limited time. A team is limited to 8 members, who must complete an on-line training session. The regional tournament is in late spring. If selected, the national competition is in August. 2016 was our first year to participate. During the spring, we practiced at the King farm farmstead. We traveled to Patuxent Navel Air Station for the competition. Our team came in third out of 11 teams.