CoverMyQuest Update: Joel Byler

By Joel Byler

Wow! Thanks to CoverMyQuest, I’ve had an amazing few months working with my children and some of their friends to learn and share interesting and important lessons on wildlife and how an organization named FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is helping to educate the world’s youth!

For background: It started a year ago when I learned about programs the organization promotes. I was mostly interested in the FIRST Robotics competition which I’d heard through some of my acquaintances. The Robotics competition is one in which high school-aged children form teams to build robots — yes, actual robots! At the end of the competition, successful teams are awarded college scholarships and those who don’t win prizes learn a lot about team work and technology.

As a father of three young children, I think a lot about how I can help them prepare for a world full of complex technologies. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get them started in the robotics competition at such a young age but found that FIRST offers programs for younger age groups using Lego to make building easier.

For my Quest, I sought to start a local team for my children’s age group, FLL JR. Additionally, I found another father and CoverMyMeds developer, Josh Graber, had similar aspirations. Together, we were able to start two teams for this year’s season. Our team were The Canal Cats
(themed after their favorite animal the bobcat), and the Golden Builders (they built a model themed after alligators).

During the season, we spent time researching our animals. The Canal Cats learned how their animal, the bobcat, was extirpated as a nuisance from Ohio in the 1800s. The Golden Builders learned that alligators can lunge five feet out of the water to catch its prey.

We also learned how to make our creations move using a Lego educational kit called WeDo. With these additional parts we were able to add sensors, motors and gears to our models and animate our bobcat chasing a squirrel around a tree and the alligator snapping his jaws together! Showing how to join gears together to move the parts around in different ways was a highlight of our season and it promoted a lot of creating thinking among the children as well as their coaches.

Thank you again to CoverMyMeds for the incredible opportunity!