FIRST Team #1389, “The Body Electric,” is the Walt Whitman High School robotics team, based in Bethesda, Maryland. The team functions as a Walt Whitman High School Club and is open to participation by all students. The Body Electric is a student-led team supported by adult teachers, parents, and other mentors who provide coaching, guidance, and logistical support.
The Body Electric’s Mission: To grow our students and community one robot at a time.
The Body Electric’s Vision: Make Walt Whitman High School and Montgomery County Maryland regional and national leaders in STEM education.
The Body Electric’s Approach: Use competitive robotics as a way to increase the opportunities for student to grow their knowledge, competency and confidence in STEM. Competitive robotics creates growth opportunities for students in the following ways;
- Students need to work as a team to brain storm, make decisions, correct mistakes, and complete tasks to field a competition ready robot
- Students need to work around skill, knowledge and time limitations to avoid not being able to complete their assigned tasks
- Students need to raise funds, create a budget, identify suppliers and execute a variety of purchase agreements to keep the team supplied with raw materials
- Students need to define roles, define responsibility, and hold each other accountable to ensure the project is well managed
- Students need to design, build code and test robots capable of competing in the given year’s game
- Students need to learn how to communicate, deal with failure and work through stress inducing situations to make sure the team is greater than the sum of its parts
- Students need to compete head to head and along side students from a variety of schools, back grounds, and skill levels to earn competition success
- Students need to build a community coalition to increase the number of teams, increase the number and diversity of students involved and increase the community’s support for competitive robotics
The Body Electric’s engages in robotics activities year-round.
- Fall: The team recruits new students, raises funds, and does training and team-building.
- Winter: In January the team works intensively in a six-week “build season” to design, build, program, test and troubleshoot a robot to enter in the FIRST Robotics competition.
- Spring: The team competes in 2-4 multi day competitions. After competition season ends in May the team begins leadership transitions for the next season.
- Year-Round: The team does fundraising and community demonstrations, including at Walt Whitman High School Team and Open Lab nights, area schools, and USA Science and Engineering Festivals.