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


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  



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 ( 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.



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 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.



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.



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 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.

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
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!!!

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



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


To Bag or Not To Bag…..That is the Question

Greetings from FIRST

The FIRST Robotics Competition is looking for feedback about Stop Build Day. Stop Build Day is the day when Teams are expected to Bag and Tag their robot- putting the robot they will be using at the competition in a bag, not to be worked on again until the competition event (with the exception of a few hours for District Teams).  If you want to learn more about all of the various aspects concerning bag day check out this chief delphi post

We are eager to hear your thoughts and feedback and would greatly appreciate it if you could give about 10 minutes of your time to fill out this survey.

Please click on the following link to access the survey (or copy and paste the link in your web browser)

Please forward this message to any Mentors and Student Team Members over the age of 13 on your Team. This is a very important survey about a core element of FIRST Robotics Competition, and we want to get as many participants as we can.

Your opinions are valuable to us! Thank you for taking the time to participate in this survey. The survey will close on Monday, September 26th at 5pm ET.

If you have any questions regarding this survey, you may contact


2017 District Schedule, We are Hosting Again

We are once again hosting an FRC district event during the 2017 FRC season. Wooo Hooo!!!  This will be the second year that the team hosts the event and we are really looking forward to it.  However, the organization that ran the events last year in Maryland is now defunct and responsibilities have been transferred over to Chesapeake FIRST.  With this shift comes a new way of managing events that will require more work form the host teams.  To help keep this burden as low as possible we are going to try and share responsibility for planning the event with Team 1111 who is hosting a week 4 event.  More on this to come.

  • Week 1
    • Mar 3-5, 2017 FIRST Chesapeake District Northern Virginia Event (Battlefield High
      School, Haymarket, VA)
    • Mar 3-5, 2017 FIRST Chesapeake District Southwest Virginia Event (Blacksburg High
      School, Blacksburg, VA)
  • Week 2
    • Mar 10-12, 2017 FIRST Chesapeake District Greater DC Event (Walt Whitman High
      School, Bethesda, MD)

      • We will be hosting and attending this event
  • Week 3
    • Mar 17-19, 2017 FIRST Chesapeake District Northern Maryland Event (The McDonogh
      School, Owings Mill, MD)
    • Mar 17-19, 2017 FIRST Chesapeake District Hampton Roads Event (Churchland High
      School, Portsmouth, VA)
  • Week 4
    • Mar 24-26, 2017 FIRST Chesapeake District Central Maryland Event (South River
      High School, Edgewater, MD)

      • We plan on attending this event
    • March TBD FIRST Chesapeake District Central Virginia Event
  • Week 6
    • Apr 5-8, 2017 FIRST Chesapeake District Championship (VCU Siegel Center, Richmond,

      • We plan on attending this event
      • We will need to qualify for this event
  • Week 8
    • Apr 24-29, 2017 FIRST World Championship (St Louis Conference Center, St Louis,

      • We plan on attending this event
      • We will need to qualify for this event

Please mark your calendars now, so that you can be sure nothing interferes with these events.

Have you filled in your paper work yet???


Off Season events 2016

We have signed up for three off season events this fall.

  • Battle O’Baltimore – Sept 24th 2016
    • All team members can participate fully
  • Girl Power – October 8th 2016
    • Female team members can participate fully
    • Male team members can support from the stands
  • Rumble in the Roads – November 5th 2016
    • All team members can participate fully

Frequently Asked question

  1. What is an off season event?  Off Season Events are competitions run by teams outside the FRC Competitions Season.
  2. Why should I attend an off season event? To practice your skills, to try something new, to see what FRC is all about.
  3. Who should attend an off season event?  Everyone, especially students who want to drive the robot this season.  Anyone who wants to drive this season has to have driven at an off season event.
  4. What happens at an off season event?  Its a real competition that is smaller than a district and takes up one day.  Teams compete to win the event and the awards.
  5. What game will we be playing? We will be playing the 2016 FRC game stronghold.

If you are planning on attending, please fill in this survey

Have you filled in your paper work yet???


We need your lessons learned

Now that the 2015-2016 FRC season is over, we need to switch gears to the 2016-2017 season. But what does the 2016-2017 season look like?  Well we need to figure that out.  So we have two meetings coming up that we encourage as many students, parents, volunteers, school administrators and community members to attend so that we get as much input as possible.

  • Agenda items for May 7th
    • 2016 recap / lessons learned
    • 2017 goals
    • May plan
    • Federal lobbying
    • Banquet
    • Seniors
  • Agenda items for the 21st
    • 2016 summer plans
      • starting teams
        • FTC
        • FLL
    • 2016 fall plans
      • Off seasons
        • Battle O’Baltimore – Sept ?? 2016, Baltimore, MD.
        • Girl power – Oct ?? 2016, Flourtown, PA.
        • Rumble in the roads – Nov 5 2016, Newport News, VA
      • training
      • fund raising
    • 2017 spring plans
    • picking team leaders
    • picking drive team
    • lab cleanup
    • Communication tools
  • Lab Cleanup May 23rd, 25th and 27th


Event with the week off, a few of us just couldn’t stop thinking about robots.  Check out these cool little lego variants of Maelstrom we made. What have you been up to?

12968145_867786869999491_5679868057621307328_o 13177937_1011292175617730_7578247529165977764_n13124525_1011292155617732_8169011532861021877_n13112777_1881233905436814_5642515088471574293_o13177696_1011292185617729_4323266839432873410_n13048006_1881234182103453_7745662375716193116_o

World championship 2016: Curie Division

Team 1389 had its most successful season ever. The team played 57 matches, made it to quarter finals once, made it to semi finals twice, won two awards and made our most complex robot ever.  This season will be one for the record books.  We can’t thank all of the people who helped make this trip and this season possible enough.  Your inspiration perspiration and treasure helped make this season possible. Thank you.

The World Championships were amazing. We were able to learn a lot about robots, running teams, making pits, vision, how to not make a climber and playing on the world stage. We also had some great bar-b-q and went up in the St Louis Arch. And best of all we made a lot of new friends.  We talked to  mentors and students from across the US and around the world.  A special thanks goes out to 1511, 836 and 2636 for helping us figure out some of our technical challenges.

We also got to know some teams on a more personal level by spending over 30 hours on a bus with them. Team 1712 and 4242 were fantastic bus mates and could not have been more amazing people.



Here are some of the videos from the weekend

Almost ready

We leave for FRC World Championships in less than 5 days. We found out we will be in the Curie division along with some of our CHS district teams.  We can’t wait to see what everyone has added to their robot.

8 Team 8
25 Raider Robotix
166 Chop Shop
191 X-CATS
287 Floyd
321 RoboLancers
339 Kilroy Robotics
379 RoboCats
639 Code Red Robotics
694 StuyPulse
836 The RoboBees
858 Demons
876 Thunder Robotics
955 CV Robotics
1073 The Force Team
1089 Team Mercury
1123 AIM Robotics
1261 Robo Lions
1389 The Body Electric
1511 Rolling Thunder
1662 Raptor Force Engineering
1868 Space Cookies
1885 ILITE Robotics
1983 Skunk Works Robotics
1991 Dragons
2080 Torbotics
2168 Aluminum Falcons
2175 The Fighting Calculators
2220 Blue Twilight
2557 SOTAbots
2848 The All Sparks
2883 F.R.E.D (Fighting Rednecks Engineering and Design)
2974 Walton Robotics
2980 The Whidbey Island Wild Cats
3005 RoboChargers
3147 Munster HorsePower
3230 PrototypeX
3234 Red Arrows
3310 Black Hawk Robotics
3339 BumbleB
3374 RoboBroncs
3506 YETI Robotics
3546 Buc’n’Gears
3618 Petoskey Paladins
3641 The Flying Toasters
3656 Dreadbots
3770 BlitzCreek
3925 Circuit of Life
3930 SMART Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team
3965 Sultans
3990 Tech for Kids
4010 Nautilus
4061 SciBorgs
4087 Falcon Robotics
4180 Iron Riders
4188 Columbus Space Program
4329 Lutheran Roboteers
4335 Metallic Clouds
4455 The Burger Bots
4469 R.A.I.D. (Raider Artificial Intelligence DIvision)
4646 Team ASAP
4910 East Cobb Robotics
5199 Robot Dolphins From Outer Space
5279 Bionic Eagles
5406 Celt-X
5679 Girls on Fire
5803 Apex Robotics
5834 R3P2
5837 Unity4Tech
5892 High Energy
5933 JudgeMent Call
5940 B.R.E.A.D.
5976 CyberSaders
6016 Tiger Robotics
6034 Eagle Storms


Here is what we need to get done tommorow

  • Vision code – started

    • Auto targeting – not started
    • Targeting assist – not started
  • Auton code
    • 20 pt auton – started
    • 15 pt auton – started
    • integrate NavX – complete
    • defense reset – complete
  • Main code part 3 – started
  • Competition documents part 4 – not started
    • Tech Journal part 4 – not started
    • Judges Packet part 4 – not started
    • 1 sheeter part 4 – not started
    • Pit Video part 4 – not started
    • Bill of Materials part 4- not started
    • Business plan part 4- not started
  • Pre-competition scouting part 4 – started
  • Pre season scouting and risk survey part 4 – started
  • Climber started
  • install shooting camera – complete
  • organize pit complete
  • Identify parts we need to order – complete

Here are the trip details at this point

  • Tuesday, April 26th
    • 5:00 pm – load on to bus in front of Walt Whitman high school, Bethesda, MD.
      • 1389 will be ready to load on the bus at 4:30 pm
    • 6:30 pm – pick up people White Marsh Mall 8200 Perry Hall Blvd Baltimore, MD 21236
      • 1712 will be ready to load at 6:00 pm
    • 7:00 pm – depart for St Louis and eat on buss
    • 10:30 pm – 20 min rest stop at someplace that has food and bathrooms
  • Wednesday, April 27th
    • 7:00 am – team breakfast on the road
    • 9:00 am – arrive in St Louis, park bus, unload people at hotel 1
    • 9:15 am – team rep goes to dome to check in and get team badges
    • 9:30 am – go sight seeing as a team
    • 12:00 pm – unload luggage from parked bus at hotel 1
    • 12:15 pm – teams load people on bus
    • 12:30 pm – teams unloads under bus bays at venue
    • 1:00 pm – pits open
    • 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm for FRC team field measurement, An FRC Driver’s badge is required in order to access the dome fields.
    • 4:00 pm – practice fields open
    • 6:00 pm – practice matches start
    • 8:45 pm – venue closes and team meets at team 1389 meeting point
    • 9:00 pm – team dinner
    • 10:00 pm – students in room
  • Thursday, April 28th
    • 6:00 am – team breakfast
    • 6:30 am – team leave hotel and walks to venue
    • 7:00 am – pits open
    • 8:30 am – qualification matches start
    • 12:00 pm – team meets at team 1389 meeting point
    • 12:15 pm – team eats lunch
    • 5:00 pm – qualification matches end
    • 5:30 pm – pits close
    • 6:15 pm – welcome ceremony
    • 7:30 pm – venue closes and team meets at team 1389 meeting point
    • 8:00 pm – team dinner
    • 8:30 pm – team walks over to roboprom
    • 12:00 am – students in room
  • Friday, April 29th
    • 6:00 am – team breakfast
    • 6:30 am – team leave hotel and walks to venue
    • 7:00 am – pits open
    • 8:00 am – qualification matches start
    • 12:00 pm – team meets at team 1389 meeting point
    • 12:15 pm – team eats lunch
    • 6:30 pm – qualification matches end
    • 7:00 pm – pits close
    • 7:15 pm – venue closes and team meets at team 1389 meeting point
    • 7:45 pm – team dinner
    • 10:00 pm – students in room
  • Saturday, April 30th
    • 6:00 am – team breakfast
    • 6:30 am – team loads on to bus at hotel (includes all luggage)
    • 6:45 am – team unloads at venue
    • 6:45 am – pits open
    • 7:30 am – division alliance selection (there are 8 divisions at world championships)
    • 9:30 am – division elimination matches start
    • 12:00 pm – team meets at team 1389 meeting point
    • 12:15 pm – team eats lunch
    • 2:30 pm – FRC championship matches start and pits close
    • 2:45 pm – load pit onto bus
    • 6:30 pm – closing ceremonies start
    • 9:00 pm – end of event
    • 9:15 pm – venue closes and team meets at team 1389 meeting point
    • 9:40 pm – team dinner
    • 10:30 pm – teams loads onto bus
    • 11:00 pm – depart St Louis
  • Sunday, May 1st
    • 9:00 am – team breakfast
    • 1:00 pm – team lunch
    • 3:00 pm – drop off people in White Marsh Mall 8200 Perry Hall Blvd Baltimore, MD 21236
      • 1712 will unload
    • 4:30 pm – arrive at unload bus in front of Walt Whitman high school, Bethesda, MD.
      • 4242 will unload
      • 1389 will unload


2016 meeting point


Other things going on while we are there


The Trip to St Louis is a Go

Team 1389 will be joined by team 4242 and team 1712 as we continue our pursuit of playing on the last Einstein field ever.  We are leaving on Tuesday and returning Sunday, you can go take a look at our detailed agenda in a previous post.   Last night we also had our parent meeting where we discussed the details of the trip and went through all of the paperwork we need to get completed by noon on Tuesday.


Results and Expectations Concept

We also went through the expectations of student and volunteers traveling and have asked all those going on the trip to review the team’s policies. All parents traveling with the team are also considered volunteers for this trip.



The team started to discuss possible extra curricular activities and several parents brought up concerns about AP exams on May 2nd.  So they wanted to be clear that students priority list should go in this order;

  1. Family
  2. Academics
  3. Robots



For this reason we are encouraging students to take all the time they need to student while they are on this trip.  That includes the time on the on the bus.