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.