One Degree North, Team 4817. A small team with a big passion. We are the first and only FIRST robotics competition team in Singapore created in 2013. Our team brings together enthusiastic and passionate students from the Singapore American School in Singapore.
In just six years, our team has grown from a humble group of students working with Lego mindstorms to robotics pioneers in our country. Our passion for robotics has taken us all over the world — from Toronto, to Cambodia, to Australia. This rapid growth of our team has been both incredible and motivating to continue our efforts. Furthermore, we have created a close-knit community, not only in the robotics society, but throughout our entire school. This community exemplifies the FIRST’s mission:
“to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting student-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”
The FIRST program has had immeasurable impacts on both current, and past, team participants, sparking an undiscovered passion in the field of STEM. We encourage students to use and develop their critical thinking skills to create problem-solving ideas. Students’ ideas are put to the test, and if they fail to complete the desired task, they are challenged to produce new ideas. Creativity plays an integral role in any robotics team, especially with given materials and guidelines.
As we build instituitional knowledge in our program, our robots have grown proportionally more sophisticated and functional. The cycle of learning and evolution has had a positive impact on the STEM program throughout our entire school.
We prioritize communication. In any collaborative project, it is crucial for members to learn to effectively work with others by actively listening to their fellow team members, and understanding the importance of receiving and giving feedback. These skills allow our team to accomplish goals with efficiency and accuracy of work.
Our robotics team has greatly profited from collaboration with other communities, robotics-service initiatives, complex STEM projects, and outreach efforts. We have grown from an inexperienced after-school club, to now over 100 students enrolled in 5 classes, and even more students coming in after-school to work on a variety of projects. This growth in participation has given us many opportunities to speak with industry professionals, and corporate sponsors.
Our team strives to cultivate a passion for robotics in our community. All team members are actively involved in our school’s service clubs. One such club is Geek Girls, a club battling the lack of women in the STEM field by promoting STEM to students of all ages: from young girls in elementary school, to high school girls interested in a STEM career. Another extracurricular is the Digital Frontiers club, which provides free technical services for school events, other school clubs, and local communities in need. Besides after school clubs, our team members coach FIRST Lego League teams in the elementary school. Moreover, our team periodically invites preschool and elementary school children to visit our workshop, giving them a realistic, interactive, hands-on robotics experience. For all of these service initiatives, our ultimate goal is to raise interest in our robotics team and in the STEM field.
Despite the importance of these initiatives, our greatest success has been the inclusive and professional environment we have built. In the robotics lab, both experienced members, and newcomers to the robotics program, are not just welcomed, but greatly appreciated as we are thrilled to gain new perspectives every year. Additionally, we are proud to teach our skills and transfer our expertise to younger members. On the other side of the spectrum, alumni of our team frequently visit and stay involved in team discussions, giving us advice and helping with design. These alumni, graduates of our team, have gone on to study at many universities such as UC Berkeley, Duke, Princeton, Brown, and University of Waterloo.
We not only build robots; we build community. Our current team, values collaboration, innovation and sportsmanship, and have created a strong tradition of team bonding. Late night work sessions, awards nights, team dinners, and gift exchanges, make members feel like they are always part of the close-knit robotics family. We value enthusiasm in members, encouraging them to take initiative in projects and to share ideas with the team. Team 4817 has left a legacy of determination, innovation, and enthusiasm, creating success within and outside the SAS robotics lab. We aim to keep this legacy alive in the future, shaping team 4817 for years to come.