New Sponsor: Kanban Tool

A big thanks goes out to the folks at the Kanban Tool company for sponsoring the team with a full year of access to their web and mobile tools.  The team has decided to try managing its work using the Kanban process this year.  The goal is to better communicate what needs to be done to the entire team in a more effective manor and than track that work to completion. This should eliminate some of the issues the team had last year around keeping students busy and ensuring tasks get done.

Thanks for joining our team and helping us with our goal of making robotics available to every student in Montgomery County schools.

Girl Power 2016 is This Weekend

This weekend the team is driving all the way up to Philadelphia to compete at Girl Power 2016.

Team 433, The Firebirds, is excited to welcome you to the 7th annual girlPOWER, a female-centric FRC robotics competition. The event will be held in accordance with the rules established by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) for the 2016 game “FIRST Stronghold” The official robotics season is January through April of each year, so this “off-season” event is geared toward giving students the opportunity to develop skills and confidence for the upcoming 2017 season.

Our team is the oldest continuously operated all-female robotics team in the country. One of our primary mission goals is to increase female participation in robotics in order to help motivate girls toward careers in science and technology. We feel that exposure to robotics at this age is important because girls involved in science and engineering at a young age have a higher chance of choosing a competitive career in science compared to girls with later exposure. There are several goals of the girlPOWER event:

  • Excite returning members of robotics teams in preparation for the upcoming 2017 season
  • Provide a venue for girls to drive their robot which may not be an opportunity afforded them during the competition season. This will instill and build confidence in girls to drive their robot
  • Encourage girls on existing teams to take a larger role on their teams during the regular season
  • Interest new freshmen in robotics so that they may be inclined to join the team early to get the full four-year benefit of participation
  • Expose younger children of both genders to robotics through demonstrations and hands-on opportunities with our robots.

 

girlPOWER Event Rule:

We ask that you field an ALL-GIRLS Drive Team. The boys on your team will be allowed to participate in everything EXCEPT for driving the robot and handling the robot to and from the competition area. Let’s face it; we need every member of our team (boys and girls) to succeed.

 

Robot Competition

Time Event Location Notes
8:00 AM Doors open for teams Parking lot entrance to school  
8:00 Breakfast available Cafeteria and parking lot entrance to school  
8:30 – 9:30 Practice Rounds Competition field, gymnasium Schedule to be posted morning of event
9:30 – 9:40 Drivers meeting Competition field, gymnasium One representative per team needs to attend
9:40 – 9:50 Opening Ceremonies

·         Welcome: Master of Ceremonies

·         Opening Comments

·         National anthem sung by girl

Volunteers

Competition field, gymnasium  
9:50 – 12:20 Qualifying Rounds Competition field, gymnasium Schedule to be posted morning of event
12:20 – 12:30 Picture of all participants Competition field, gymnasium  
12:30 – 12:50 Alliance selection for
Elimination Rounds
Competition field, gymnasium 4 Alliances-12 teams total
12:50 – 1:30 Lunch Cafeteria, ground floor  
1:30 – 3:00 Elimination Rounds Competition field, gymnasium  
3:00 – 3:45 Awards Ceremony Competition field, gymnasium  
3:45 – 6:00 Team departures Parking lot entrance to school  

 

Activities

Time Event Location Notes
8:00 – 11:00 Breakfast and snacks available Cafeteria and parking lot entrance to school  
8:30 – 2:30 FTC demonstration

Montgomery county Sheriff Department Bomb Squad Robot demonstration

3D printer demonstration

Fontbonne Room (ground floor) Robot Demonstrations
12:30-1:30 MAR information sessions Fine Arts Classroom Room 204
11:00 -2:30 Lunch and snacks available Cafeteria, ground floor-please purchase tickets in advance See attached menu
2:30 – 3:30 Awards Ceremony Competition field, gymnasium  

 

 

Team arrival

All teams need to arrive promptly for the event to begin on time. If a team is going to be late, contact us in advance by e-mail (firebirds433@gmail.com). For issues on the day of the event, call (215) 435-1391 (Trey Entwistle) or Tom Rossman (215) 870-5099. All arrivals and departures will be from the school’s parking lot entrance. This is on the same level as the competition arena and the pits. There will be room for teams to load and unload, but we request that teams move their vehicles as soon as they are finished so that other teams can have room to unload as well.

 

Parking

Cars: All personal vehicles may drop off passengers at the parking lot entrance of the school. Follow the lanes marked for cars after taking the driveway to the right of the school. The parking lot is across the driveway from the school’s entrance.

Cars with trailers: See above. Please park in the back of the lot, closest to the soccer field.

Buses: Follow the lanes marked for buses after taking the driveway to the right of the school. After dropping off students and equipment, personnel at the registration desk will direct you.

 

Food

Food and beverages will be available for purchase in the cafeteria on the ground floor. Food will include hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled chicken, chicken parm, veggie burgers, salad, fruit, snacks and drinks. We ask that participants refrain from taking any food or beverage into the gymnasium or auditorium.  To minimize lines, we ask that you purchase food tickets in advance of purchases in the cafeteria.  Tickets will be available at the registration table and the lower level adjacent to the cafeteria.

 

Event T-Shirts

A limited number of T-shirts from the event will be available for sale near the sign-in desk. To ensure availability in your size, please plan on purchasing early.

 

Assistance

Volunteers will be wearing event shirts and can help direct you. Girls from the Firebirds will also be available to help, and will be wearing “Team 433” or “Firebirds” shirts.

A Command Center has been established at the outside entrance to the gym for anyone that may need to contact a volunteer or who encounters an emergency situation.

 

Activities

Several activities will be available for visitors to the event. These will be available throughout the day while the competition is occurring. They will close briefly during alliance selection so that all of the participants will be available for those events.

 

 

FTC demonstration: Robots built by an FTC team will be on display.  Participants can see how all of the components of a robot are assembled into a working machine and learn about the controls of the robot.

 

Bomb Squad robot demonstration: Members of the Montgomery County Sheriff Department Bomb Squad will demonstrate their police department robot’s capabilities between 10 am and 2pm.

 

MAR demonstration: During lunch, representatives of FIRST Midatlantic will be available to meet with participating teams in the Fine Arts classroom Room 204.

 

Children are welcome to drive one of the Firebirds robots.

 

 

Pits and Work on the Robot

Each team will be provided with pit space with electrical supply. Please be respectful of the school property when working on your robot. We will not allow open flames, band saws or grinders in the pit area. The Firebirds will be able to help with some emergency repairs in our shop, but members of the visiting teams will not be permitted in the shop or to use the equipment.

 

Safety

Safety glasses will be required in the pits and playing field at all times. Visitors are encouraged to visit the pits and meet with the competitors. However, please be respectful of the need of the teams to prepare their robots for the next match. Parents with young children at the event will need to ensure that the children remain a safe distance from the robots at all times.

 

Bathroom Facilities

Male and female bathroom facilities are located outside of the gym and auditorium facilities and we ask all visitors to use these facilities.

 

High School Rules

  • Mount Saint Joseph Academy has graciously donated use of the gym and cafeteria for the girlPOWER We ask that visitors refrain from walking throughout the high school other than these three areas. We also request that visitors refrain from entering into classrooms.
  • Mount Saint Joseph Academy is a smoke-free environment. We ask that all attendees refrain from smoking in the school and on the property.

Sub Team Leads for the 2016-2017 Season

The team has made a changes to our leadership structure in the last few weeks.  We have rethought how we are going to organize our fabrication team, pulling away from designated sections to teams that can be more easily moved around.  We have also selected several of our sub team leads.

Lead Sub Lead Protege
Fundraising & Media Sub Team Claire Cameron  Vacant
Awards & Documentation Sub Team Grace  Vacant  Vacant
Integration Sub Team Joey  Vacant  Vacant
Fab Team 1 Theo  Vacant  Vacant
Fab Team 2 Jonah  Vacant  Vacant
Fab Team 3  Vacant  Vacant  Vacant
Controls & Electrical Sub Team Micaela Lauren  Vacant
Software Sub Team Ari Rory  Vacant

 

Fundraising Tips and tricks

Since FRC teams can cost upwards of $25,000 a year to run and most school systems don’t provide funding, teams need to raise a lot of money every year. The most important time of year for fundraising is the fall, since most students are back in school and the workload on students is fairly low compared to the spring. We also recommend you involve every single team member in fundraising to increase the probability of meeting the team’s financial goals. There are 5 major ways teams can raise funds to help make the team possible;

Please click on any of the above pages to learn more

 

Additional Resources

 

 

Fall Build Projects Are In Full Swing

FIRST Steamworks comes out January 7, 2017. Until then, the team decided to design our own FRC-style game to train new members and keep us busy until January. Here’s what we came up with.

field

 

Our game (yet to be named), is played on a scaled down field (~20×20′) by two FTC-sized robots. It recycles game elements from previous years, as well as incorporates wholly new gameplay. On one end of the field are two colored goals, red and blue, as well as a single high goal resembling the one from Aerial Assist. The two colored low goals each are covered by a freely swinging hinged door, opening outward onto the field. In the center of the field are static defenses from 2016’s Stronghold, as well as a narrow gap (~14″) between two of these defenses. Behind the wall of obstacles is a ball feeding area, where human players introduce a 6″ diameter foam ball onto the field. Much like stronghold, robots can only possess one ball at a time and must cross over the defenses each time to retrieve a new ball.

 

Robots can score points in the following ways:

  • Scoring a ball into their team’s low goal.
  • Opening the door in front of their own low goal for the first time.
  • Closing the opposing team’s low goal door. (They must be careful, however. If they are tagged by an opposing robot while in the process of closing the door, a penalty is incurred on them).
  • Scoring a high goal.

 

The game should hopefully get new members acquainted with FIRST in a low-stress, scaled down build season, and present engineering challenges new and old. On our kick-off day this past week, we introduced new members to the game and split them up into three teams for the fall. We hope to hold a tournament event for the three teams this December, and invite members of the community to come watch.

 

 

 

 

Battle O’Baltimore 2016 is on the Books

Last weekend the team joined 32 teams from PA, Delaware, Maryland, DC and Virginia to plat Stronghold.  The competition was fierce and the day was extremely fun.  The team took 10 returning students and 4 new students. The goal was to give as many people a chance to drive the robot as possible so that when we select our drive team later this fall we can base it on actual driving experience.  However, our robot, Maelstrom had other plans.  We rewired the beast and change much of the code that drove him at world championships in the hopes of making it more capable.  Battle O’Baltimore was the first real test of all of that work, and let’s just say those initial tests….rounds did not go so well.   We didn’t run for a few rounds, than when we did, we may have rammed Maelstrom into some of the field elements which resulted in some fairly sever damage.  Even with all that, we finished 22nd out of 32 teams and walked away with our first award of the season.

Our Lead Mentor Won Honored with the Commodore Rodgers Mentor Award
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John Rodgers commanded the USS President, which fired the first shot of the War of 1812. This award goes to the Mentor of the Battle as judged by a distinguished panel of mentors and former mentors.

We can’t thank the Baltimore Area Robotics Alliance (BAA) enough for hosting another great event and for recognizing all of the things JJ does for the team.  We can’t wait to do it all over again next year!!!


Club’s Night 2017

Last Tuesday Maelstrom was out an about at the Walt Whitman Club’s night showing off a bit. And lucky for us, the crazy ball singer caught the attention of over 70 students.  On top of that we talked with other clubs about partnering on some special events or projects.  We can’t wait to see what amazing things come out of this year’s club’s night.

20160920_190746 20160920_190743

 

STEAMWORKS is the 2017 FRC Game!!

Here we go. The 2016 2017 FRC season them has been announced. The Name of the Game is STEAMWORKS. Check out the Game Teaser below.

Grab your goggles and start a team today!

Be part of the more than 3,400 teams in 2017 comprised of 85,000 students and their adult Mentors from around the world who will prepare to take flight in FIRST® STEAMWORKSSM.

FIRST® Robotics Competition is the ultimate Sport for the Mind,TM where imagination and innovation come together! By combining the excitement of sport and beauty of art with the rigors of science and technology, teams of high school students (ages 14 – 18/grades 9 – 12) are challenged to design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform tasks against a field of competitors.

Teams work together and build, program and test robots with the guidance of adult Mentors. Teams then compete with their robots as family and friends cheer from the stands at more than 140 events worldwide – all leading up to the 2017 FIRST® Championships April 19 – 22 in Houston, TX and April 26 – 29 in St. Louis, MO.

The hardest fun you’ll ever have has its rewards!

Participating FIRST Robotics Competition students are eligible to apply for more than $30 million in scholarships from nearly 200 colleges and universities.

FREE exclusive FIRST® STEAMWORKSSM Downloadable Content (DLC) including:

Wallpapers | Ringtones | Game Logos | Team Recruitment Posters

DOWNLOAD NOW! (DLCPack1.zip)

 

More downloads coming this fall! Check your team blasts, the FIRST® Robotics Competition Blog and Facebook for more information and upcoming releases!

 

There is an Education Workshow This Weekend

Every year the Washington Chinese Daily News and McDonald’s team up to co-sponsor an Education Workshop to better prepare students for college and success.   This year they are focusing on Robotics and have invited several of the Montgomery County Robotics programs to participate.  The Walt Whitman Robotics Team will be doing some community outreach and demonstrations and inviting anyone who want to learn more about STEM sports to stop by.

Sunday at 10 AM – 4 PM at R ichard Montgomery High School
250 Richard Montgomery Dr, Rockville, Maryland 20852

You can find more event details here https://www.facebook.com/events/1102757229770012/

14103055_605739946254142_7761413258321689028_o

 

Clubs Night and Teaser Release Next Week

Next Tuesday from 7-9 Walt Whitman High School will be hosting its annual Clubs night and the Body Electric will be there full force to help gets kids excited about STEM sports.  On top of that FIRST is releasing its 2017 teaser video at 7 pm.

 

Walt Whitman Clubs Night

Last year over 90 Walt Whitman High School students signed our interest form, it was by far our best year ever.  This year we want to break 100 and will need everyone’s help to drum up interest in robotics.

  • Students – come check take our robots for a spin
  • Parents – come learn how 100% of STEM athletes go pro
  • Teachers – come check out how students are using what you teach them

 

The 2017 FRC Teaser

You remember the teaser from last year? Well, we’re doing it again! The 2017 Season Teaser will be released at 7PM Eastern Time on Tuesday, September 20th. So, set those calendar reminders (and for some of you, those alarm clocks) and keep an eye on the FIRST Facebook page. And once that teaser comes out, remember to share, share, share!

The teaser release, and the aftershow below, seem like they could be excellent excuses to get the team together to have a little party, watch, and get everyone excited for the upcoming season. Start planning for those fried pickle chips now!

 

Downloadable Content (DLC) Pack 1

Simultaneously with the release of the teaser, we will be releasing a set of digital goodies related to the upcoming season in the form of a DLC pack. You will be able to download the pack on the landing page for the teaser, the web address for which we will be publishing when the teaser is released.

I think there’s a good chance you’ll find the content interesting, useful, and maybe even fun. Just like the DLC packs available for many videogames, this is intended to enhance your experience. Unlike the DLC packs available for many videogames, however, this will be free! And, as our use of a pack number suggests, we will be releasing more of these over time.

 

Teaser Aftershow

After the 2017 Season Teaser and DLC Pack 1 are released, be sure to join the FIRST Robotics Competition community and our friends from the GameSense crew for the Teaser Aftershow! The show starts at 7:30PM Eastern Time and you can find out how to watch and participate here. Join the GameSense crew and special guests for a fun and lively discussion as they dissect what they saw and heard (or what they think they saw and heard), along with what it all means*.

One special guest currently scheduled to participate is FIRST Friend Emma Dumont. Emma is an FRC Alumna, current FRC Mentor, actress, dancer, model, violinist and roller derby player**. With her broad range of talents and passions, her perspective on the teaser is sure to be interesting.

This will be a show not to miss!