We Want To Build an Advanced Fabrication Training Facility for MCPS

Over the past decade MCPS like other school districts across the US has been dismantling shop rooms as schools focus more on testing and college prep.  However, the need to for experienced advanced fabricators is growing.  Communities across the US are starting to feel the impact of this skills gap and are working with private industry to create a pipeline of people with the knowledge they need to make things.  Just today, GE purchased two of the world’s leading metal additive manufacturing companies and announced thei need to grow domestic manufacturing capacity.   (both of these companies were in Europe)  It is for this reason the Walt Whitman Robotics team plans to upgrade the Walt Whitman High School  shop room with new equipment. and start and advanced fabrication program.  The goal will be to teach 50+ kids a year how to do CAD design,  CAM design, additive manufacturing, circuit board printing, advanced CNC manufacturing and how to use a variety of industrial lasers.  This will be open to students at every level and STEM sports teams across the county.

The program will do much more than showing kids how to use a vinyl cutter.  We want to teach students that their ideas can be transformed into marketable commodities. One example from similar program in California;

 “They designed really cool ornaments for the holidays and we sold more than a thousand dollars’ worth of stuff. We just put together a coaster set for a local microbrewery. We’ve got a tremendous community of artistic people and small businesses that I’m sure would be willing to do what the brewery did. The kids have to go to the business and make the pitch and figure out what the cost would be by doing an analysis of material and time and all the other costs. I’m talking with a finance teacher we have to set this up as a business class on student enterprise, with real outcomes.” http://time.com/3849501/why-schools-need-to-bring-back-shop-class/

We are going to be looking for community donated materials, equipment, cash, and expertise to get this program off the ground.  If you are interested in helping build the next generation, please reach out admin@team1389.com, we can use all the help we can get.

Time to Register for Robotics

Are you going to be on the Walt Whitman Robotics team starting Fall 2016?  If you are, please start your registration now.   To register, go to www.firstinspires.org and log in or register a new account and then sign up for FRC team 1389.

FIRST has opened up student registration early this year and we are encouraging students / parents to take advantage of this opportunity to avoid some paperwork in the fall.   This is open to all returning and new students.

Kickoff is

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Walt Whitman Attending the 2016 National Advocacy Conference

A week ago the team got together at the 2016 National Advocacy conference.  The team received training on several topics, practiced our pitches and networked with teams from across the county.  This is the second year the team has attended the conference and had two students get real world experience working with Maryland’s federal delegation.

We partnered with students from team 1629 and 1111 to meet with Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Sen. Benjamin Cardin to discuss FIRST Robotics, education (ESSA and Title IV Part B in particular), and the expansion of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math programs.  All of the folks representing Maryland were receptive to this message, however the informed us that getting the full 1.65 billion appropriation would be tough.  Here are some specifics on the ask;

  • The newly enacted bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes a flexible block grant program under Title IV Part A, which is authorized at $1.65 billion in FY 2017. Title IV, Part A authorizes activities in three broad areas:
  • Well-rounded education including programs in STEM
  • Safe and healthy students/schools
  • Technology (professional development, blended learning, and devices
    • Districts can use Title IV Part A grants to provide students with a well-rounded education and improve instruction and student engagement in STEM by:
    • Expanding high-quality STEM courses;
      • Increasing access to STEM for underserved and at risk student populations;
      • Supporting the participation of students in STEM nonprofit competitions (such as robotics, science research, invention, mathematics, computer science, and technology competitions);
      • Providing hands-on learning opportunities in STEM;
      • Integrating other academic subjects, including the arts, into STEM subject programs;
      • Creating or enhancing STEM specialty schools;
      • Integrating classroom based and afterschool and informal STEM instruction; and
      • Expanding environmental education.
    • The Title IV Part A Student Support and Academic Enrichments Grants combines (and eliminates) several targeted programs under No Child Left Behind, including the Math and Science Partnership Grants. The Math and Science Partnership grants, which received $152.7M in FY2016, was the largest single program at the Department devoted exclusively to STEM.
    • The President’s FY 2017 budget proposal would provide $500 million for the Title IV A flexible block grant, less than one-third of the authorized $1.65 billion level. of the three listed priorities, or specific activities within one of the priorities.
    • Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bill in early June to appropriate $300M for Title IV A.
  • Fully fund ESSA Title IV, Part A Student Support and Academic Enhancement Grants at the authorized level of $1.65 billion through regular appropriation bills or through the CR process.

If you would like to learn more about the National Advocacy Conference please check out these materials.

After hitting the hill the team and out 2016 robot Maelstrom relaxed and met with staffers in a more informal setting. As bonus we were lucky enough to meet and talk with Dean Kamen, Senetor Franken from Minnesota and a few other folks that are making big waves on Capital Hill.

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Regional Manufacturing Institute 2016 Gala

A few weeks ago the Walt Whitman Robotics team joined nearly a dozen STEM programs at the Regional Manufacturing Institute 2016 Gala.  The May 26 Gala looked to the Future of Maryland Manufacturing and brought over 75 students together to demonstrate robotics, drones, 3D printing, coding and STEM projects, and to meet manufacturers.  The Gala also connected manufacturers from across Maryland to celebrate what they do, and remind the media and our policy markers why manufacturing is critical to Maryland’s future economic competitiveness.  Other speakers at the Gala included:

Calvin G. Butler Jr., CEO, BGE
Anirban Basu, President, Sage Policy Group
Demian Costa, Managing Partner, Sagamore Ventures
Honoree: Drew Greenblatt, President Marlin Steel Wire Products

Thanks to RMI for inviting us to attend.

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Maryland and Montgomery County Robotics Funding Updates

We are getting closer, and could still use your voice.

  • Good News. The state level bills HB 115 and SB 582 have passed and are still sitting on Governor Larry Hogans desk.
  • Bad News. Tomorrow, May 19th, is the last scheduled legislation signing day for the 2016 legislative session, and unfortunately, the Governor has chosen not to sign the bill at this point. At the conclusion of session, the Governor stated that he would look skeptically on any bill that spent any new money not previously included in his budget. However, please note that the legislation is not lost. There are several outcomes moving forward.
    • First, the Governor could chose to veto the bill entirely. This would be a terrible decision and one that I don’t think is very likely. The bill had bi-partisan sponsorship, including the Republican House Minority Leader, and passed both chambers with bi-partisan supermajority votes. A veto override would be inevitable and easily achieved.
    • Second, the Governor can conclude his review of the legislation, agree that it is the right thing to do, and schedule an ad hoc signing day for any remaining bills that he might decide to sign. If that was to happen, we will immediately let you know. It will be a quick turnaround, and there will be very little notice available to anyone who might want to come to Annapolis to take part.
    • Finally, the Governor can chose to do nothing. If he takes no action on the bill by May 31st (13 days from now), the bill will automatically become law without his signature.
  • CALL TO ACTION: We need everyone across the state to reach out to Governor Larry Hogan and his staff to let them know this is important and needs to be funded. To contact the Governor;
    1. Please go to this form
    2. Fill in all of your contact information
    3. Copy and past this this subject “Pass HB 115 and SB 582 to elevate MD Robotics”
    4. Copy and paste the template into the message box

 

Keep pushing, we know every Maryland student appreciates your efforts.

Call the gov

 

FIRST_FRC-Program-Excitement FIRST_FRC-Program-ItsaExp_0 FIRST_FRC-Program-HardestFun
Please take the time to reach out to our elected officials so we can help grow robotics!

 

The 2016-2017 goals

Yesterday, the team met to discuss last season and start to make plans for how we step up our game for next season. We had lots of great observations and lessons learned and many great ideas. First, the team reviewed the 2015-2016 goals to see how well we did meeting them;

  • Lab organization
    • Did better than last year till the snow storm, than we did the same
    • We need new system that is
      • lazy proof
      • easy to understand / well labeled
      • easy able to get in and out of robotics room
    • Students need more self discipline
      • individual tool kits might be a good idea
      • using a tool chit system combined with tool boxes that are shadowed
  • Win regional and go to worlds!
    • We did better, still have more work todo
    • We did make it to worlds, but we want to earn it next year
  • Team 1/4 girls
    • The team felt we achieved 50% of this goal
    • We did
      • Increase the number of girls on the team
      • Increase the number of girls on the core team
      • Marginalized some of the girls by not including them in critical decisions
      • Selected a girl for the drive team
    • We did not
      • Get enough girls in leadership
      • Keep girls involved on the technical side as much as we should have
    • Things we should change
      • Get more girls involved in leadership
      • Ensure the team has a minimum of 8 girls
      • Make sure girls are part of every critical decision
  • Finish robot earlier in build season
    • The team really missed the mark on this one
    • The programmers never really had enough time with the robot
    • Here are some ideas on how to do this better next year
      • Need to do more prototyping
      • Need to get more people involved in CAD
      • Need to have work well defined
      • Need to have a snow day plan
      • Build a second robot
  • Score autonomous points
    • We did really well here
    • We can do better by getting all of the auton points on a consistent basis next year
  • Fundraising more
    • The team missed the $68,000 goal
    • The team raised nearly $40,000 this year
    • Next season
      • Need to increase fund raising
      • Make fund raising mandatory
      • Do more earlier
  • Outreach
    • Team improved here
    • Team needs to do more here
    • team needs a chairman’s plan that goes out 5 years so that out reach efforts can be coordinated
  • 2-4k for last season’s cost
    • Team raised $1,000 to cover the 2014-2015 cost overrun
    • The cost overruns from this year are also an issue
    • Team needs a budget for next season
    • Team needs to spend per the budget
  • Hold mock build seasons this summer and fall
    • Team partially completed this
    • Team needs to do this for next season

 

Next, we went over what went well this season, what did not go well this season and what we need to change for next season;

  • What went well
    • We went to worlds
    • Did a better job scouting
    • Built a turret (mostly)
    • Worked well together
    • Fixed flaws in design
    • Alright driving
    • Pretty organized code
    • Fastener standardization
    • Auton points
    • Task pairing for assignments
    • Hosted a competition
    • Strong fund raising when we made an effort
    • New mentors
    • Better leadership structure
    • Most complex robot ever
    • Tech phone calls during snow
    • Cheering at Walt Whitman Event
    • Using crate as pit at worlds
  • What did not go well
    • How we used belts
    • Project hand offs
    • Leadership structure still to lose
    • Not enough depth in some system teams
    • Need better document team decision making process
    • Not enough inclusion
    • To many design flaws
    • Not enough prototyping
    • Building field elements took to long
    • Bumpers
    • Didn’t finish on time
    • Snow plan did not work
    • Tool standardization
    • Organization
      • wasted a lot of time looking for things
      • lost things
    • Sharing knowledge
    • Sharing responsibility
    • Picking leaders
    • Including human player in decision making
    • Control station
    • Controllers
    • Cheering at Dist Champs and Worlds
    • Pre event scouting
    • Better pit design
    • No real safety stuff this season
  • Things to do better, differently next season
    • Involve freshman more
    • Agile development
    • Use backlog and Scrum board with stickies
    • Quick attach bumpers
    • Single piece bumpers
    • Get done on schedule in week 4 with test bot
    • Keep more people involved
    • Drive team does only drive team
    • Uniform organization for all code
    • Team leads delegate more responsibility
    • Team leads make sure everyone on team has work
    • Include more girls in descisions
    • Include more girls in leadership
    • Include more girls on each sub team
    • Do a better job choosing the right fastener
    • Create more trust within team and sub teams
    • Make sure each sub team has a first, second and third in command
    • Sub team leads need to make sure they are always on the same page
    • Keep and formalize work pairing
    • Pair up new team members with seniors
    • Make sure new people come to off seasons
    • Learn how to do machining
    • Make sure drive team members commit to scheduled and possible events
    • Pick drive team in the fall
    • Do a better job picking drive team
    • Pick team leads in May
    • Copy how the stage crew picks their people
    • Communicate changes in control systems better
    • Better control system labeling
    • Do a better job of creating an inclusive environment for everyone
    • Stress that stepping in / over people is not how we operate
    • Stress that saying nothing or not asking also send a message to people
    • Need to cheer louder
    • More stagey feedback to drivers from scout team
    • More involvement in scouting
    • Setting up two lead position in scouting, one in the pit and one in the stands who talk to each other, the scout in the pits accompanies drive team on strategy discussions.
    • Better pre event scouting
    • Pre event pick lists
    • Include more cameras in base design
    • Create better drive station that includes input from multiple cameras
    • Write awards in fall
    • Create an awards strategy in May
    • Set awards goals for the team for next season
    • Use pnuematics
    • Better pit design for pit team and awards team
    • Improve safety
    • Maintain tools better

After that the team discussed the FIRST national Advocacy conference. The team is planning on taking 3 students and is looking for volunteers to attend the June 19th to 21st. Each slot will cost the team $260 so those who would like to go should try and do some fund raising before the end of the school year. Here is a list of all of the advocacy work we have scheduled for the summer. We encourage any robotics team or program to join us if you are interested.

  • MD Federal representatives June 19-22
    • Part of FRC Team 27 National Advocacy Conference
  • Mo Co county – July 18th
    • County Board
    • County Executive
    • County School Board
    • County Dept. of Health & Human Services
    • County Dept. of Economic Development
  • Mo Co State representative – August 8th
  • MD Dept. of education – August 15th
  • MD Governor – August 15th

 

Next we talked about the team banquet. it is being held the evening of May 21st. More details to come. Please be sure to tell your parents, any sponsors, school officials who helped and any and all volunteers that made this season possible.

 

We moved on to talking about our seniors. We really want to know where everyone is going and what their major’s are. We also want to think of some way of recognizing our seniors before they leave the program. Lastly we want to collect some data that the team can use to win awards in the future.

 

Next we talked about all of the to do items in May. This list is critical as we get ready to end the school year and make next season more successful.

  • Set up time in lab – Ari
  • Set up a fund raiser – Micaela
  • pick new team leads – JJ & Natalie
  • Plan banquet – Parents
  • Set up a drive day at Walt Whitman so that anyone on the team can drive Maelstrom – Floris
  • Set up drive day at Pyle so that incoming freshman get a chance to drive – ??
  • Set up robot demos – Joey
  • Clean up lab and robot room – Sebastian and Theo
  • Invite sponsors to banquet – ??
  • Make senior gifts – Micaela
  • Find space for summer – Ari and Jonah
  • Make Liftzilla and Maelstrom completely functional for summer demos
  • Get robots, tower and drive station to United Therapeutics before school closes

 

Lastly, and most importantly we set the goals for the 2016-2017 season

  • Raise $50,000, create a budget and be within 10% of the budget
  • Create a larger and more diver core group with a minimum of 4 people on each sub team
  • Ensure that leadership team and that each sub team has at least one female
  • Win district and district championship
  • Have 3 major impacts on the community
  • Transfer knowledge to more incoming students

 

The team will meet again in the 21st to create the plans to make these goals a reality. Here is the agenda for that meeting;

 

  • 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
    • respect
  • Lab Cleanup May 23rd, 25th and 27th

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Bake Sale in Bethesda Today to Help Robotics Team get to World Championships

Do you have a sweet tooth that or want to help the Walt Whitman Robotics Team get to World Championships? If you answered yes to one or both of these questions please stop by one of our 3 Bethesda bake sale locations today.

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We will start selling around noon at 3 locations:

  • Giant (5400 Westbard Ave)
  • Safeway (4701 Sangamore Rd)
  • Pink Palm Bethesda Row (4867 Bethesda Ave)

The team will be selling cookies, brownies, rice krispies, cupcakes, muffins, 7-layer bars

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We will most likely be there for 5 hours or until we sell out.

If you can’t make it you can always Donate online. You can find out more info about our upcoming trip here.

So we were just pulled off the waitlist and are going to St Louis……..WAY COOL!

The team just found out last week that were were pulled off the wait list and were offered a spot to go to St Louis. The team had 24 hours to think about it and put a plan together and in the end decided to go and be part of the 40,000 plus person event that is the largest worldwide celebration of STEM. Even though this is an unearned spot at championships, the team thinks there is a lot of value it going and learning what it is like to compete with the best teams in the world. However, the team is more motivated than ever to earn a spot at championships this weekend at the CHS District Championships, so we can go into the 2016 FIRST FRC World Championships knowing we belong there.

If you need a reminder about why this is so amazing, check this out;

This trip will cost the team t least $5,000 for registration. The team plans on having an admin / parents meeting on the 19th of April at 5 pm. Please reserve that time so that we can get everyone on the same page.

The team has agreed to start fund raising and plans to raise at a minimum pay the registration with the hopes of raising enough funds to cover the total cost of the trip. If you are interested in donating to the team to make this possible we would be eager to hear from you.

The team is planning to travel to St Louis by bus and would like to use the largest bus possible to reduce the cost per seat. This means we are looking for a another team to split the bus with. If you are in the DC metro area and are looking for ways to get to St Louis please reach out to us at admin@team1389.com. We are planning on leaving on the afternoon of the 25th, driving through the night and arriving around noon on the 26th. This will give the team a day to get ready for load in on the 27th and competition that runs through the 30th. The team plans to board the bus on the evening of the 30th and arrive back in DC on the 31st around noon.

Below is the official robot agenda for the weekend. This is just a small fraction of what happens at FRC World Championships (talks, games, demos, meet sponsors, training, FTC events, FLL events, college events, robot prom, etc…), the rest of the weeks official events can be found here. We will put together another post full of additional non official events going on in and around FIRST World Championships.

  • Wed April 27th
    • ?:?? pm – Load in
    • 6:00 pm – Practice matches
    • 8:00 pm – pits close
  • Thus April 28th
    • 7:00 am – pits open
    • 8:30 am – qualification matches start
    • 5:00 pm – qualification matches end
    • 5:30 pm – pits close
    • 6:15 pm – welcome ceremony
    • 7:30 pm – venue closes
  • Fri April 29th
    • 7:00 am – pits open
    • 8:00 am – qualification matches start
    • 6:30 pm – qualification matches end
    • 7:00 pm – pits close
  • Fri April 29th
    • 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
    • 2:30 pm – FRC championship matches start and
    • 2:30 pm – pits close
    • 6:30 pm – closing ceremonies start
    • 9:00 pm – end of event

 

Students who attend the event will have an opportunity to meet with the following universities ad well as talk to scholarship professional from FIRST

  • Bradley University
  • Bucknell University
  • Capitol Technology University
  • Clarkson University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)
  • Jacksonville University
  • Kettering University
  • Lawrence Technological University
  • Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
  • MIT Admissions
  • Merrimack College
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Oklahoma State University College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology
  • Olin College of Engineering
  • Randolph College
  • Raytheon
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  • Syracuse University College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • University of Iowa College of Engineering
  • University of Kansas School of Engineering
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City
  • University of Rochester
  • University of South Carolina, College of Engineering and Computing
  • U.S. Navy
  • Virginia Commonwealth University Engineering
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Yale University

Great end to 2015

This fall we attended 3 off season events; the Battle O’Baltimore, Girl Power and Rumble in the Roads. Our alliances placed 6th, 1st and 2nd at the three events which resulted in two additional trophies for the team.  As per tradition (a tradition we started this season) we are presenting the school with our trophies.

award 1 award 2

Thanks for all of your support Dr. Goodwin and all the Walt Whitman Staff for helping our team have its most successful season ever.