Greater DC district Event 2017

3 weeks ago the team hosted the 2nd greater DC district event at Walt Whitman high school.  We set up the field in record time thanks to the folks at ilite who left so much of the field assembled after their week 1 assembly debacle. The weekend started of with some setbacks on the field as the team worked to repair the robot after nearly every match.  However, much to our good fortune our schedule kept providing wins because our alliance partners were able to carry us. This all changed as the weekend went on, our robot’s technical challenges were quickly fading and we started to figure out how to drive around the field and manipulate the game pieces.

Because of the good fortune, we ended up in 13 and were picked by the 8th seeded alliance captain.  As we started eliminations it became evident that we had a winning team, we knocked off the 1st seeded alliance, then the 4th seed and before we knew it we were one win away from winning. And that is when the bottom dropped out, literally, the entire bottom of our robot fell out during the 2nd finals match. We were replaced by a back up robot for the 3rd match of the finals.  And for 3 seconds it looked liked our alliance won, then our new alliance partner’s locking mechanism failed and they fell back to the floor.

All weekend was amazing.  nearly 3,000 people stopped by to check out FRC and we hosted a Jr FLL event as well.  Thanks to everyone who helped make the weekend possible!!!!

Congrats to the following teams;

Award Winner
District Chairman’s Award 1885
District Engineering Inspiration Award 1111
Rookie All Star Award 6543
District Event Winner 4242
District Event Winner 1885
District Event Winner 102
District Event Finalist 2849
District Event Finalist 5338
District Event Finalist 3650
District Event Finalist 1389
Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox 1719
Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers 422
Excellence in Engineering Award sponsored by Delphi 2912
Gracious Professionalism Award sponsored by Johnson & Johnson 888
Highest Rookie Seed 6543
Imagery Award in honor of Jack Kamen 5338
Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors 2537
Innovation in Control Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation 449
Judges’ Award 4242
Quality Award sponsored by Motorola Solutions Foundation 4514
Rookie Inspiration Award sponsored by National Instruments 6504
Safety Award sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories 4638
Team Spirit Award sponsored by FCA Foundation 5243


Here are some of the matches from the weekend

Looking for a few good mentors

Are you a maker or a doer living near Bethesda Maryland.  We need people that have knowledge in the following;

  • Java and or C++ coding
  • Computer vision
  • Control system design
  • Location systems design
  • Pneumatic systems
  • Web design
  • Tech writing
  • Graphics design
  • Fund raising
  • Video production
  • Animation
  • Journalism
  • Public relations

If you are interested or know someone who could, please email us at



What is a FIRST Mentor?

Walt Whitman Robotics Club mentors work with students from Walt Whitman high schools The mission of the mentoring program is to help develop the skills students need to make good life choices and to succeed personally and professionally through a program that both provides practical guidance on preparing for college and that develops strong, long term relationships and bonds of trust with mentors.


Why Mentor?

In this Video Participants from the Million Women Mentors Program talks about how a influential a STEM mentored activity can be for students.


How does mentoring make a difference?

As a Walt Whitman Robotics Club mentor, you’ll have the unique opportunity to positively influence the lives of students through personal growth, interpersonal development, and community involvement.


Click here to see the amazing people that have already signed up to make the next generation of students a little smarter

If you are interested or know someone who could, please email us at



Montgomery County MD Advocacy Day 2016

Last week the Walt Whitman Team attended the FIRST National Advocacy Conference.  We did a good bit of learning and are ready to take what we learned and apply it to the County level.


We want to get as many of the team in the county to participate in the county advocacy day we are scheduling for July 18th. Our plan is to talk to the following folks


Here are the actions we have

  • We need to identify what teams are going to participate
  • We need to agree on the asks
    • Make Robotics a sport in MoCo
    • Help us define how the $250,000 in robotics funds should be managed / dispersed
    • Help us define how the ESSA title 4A funds should be dispersed at the state level
    • Help us get the $125,000 of county funds approved for 2017-2018
  • We need to create a one sheeter for the day that includes
    • What is FIRST
    • The MoCo robotics foot print
    • The impact of robotics programs on students
    • The federal and state funds that are available
    • The Ask and outcomes
  • We need to get the meetings scheduled
  • We need to schedule a planning meeting to plan the day and so some practice run through


On the 27th we held a planning call with other MoCo teams


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


Big Day Yesterday

Speaking of Walt Whitman, we were able to present our amazing Principal Dr. Goodwin with our two Excellence in Engineering Award sponsored by Delphi.  We earned one, at each of our two district events.

IMG_1352 IMG_1350

Thanks to all of the people within the Walt Whitman Community who helped us make this year’s team a success.; Janitors, security, building maintenance, teachers, principals, alumni, the sports boosters and the Walt Whitman High School Foundation.  All of your collective effort made this year possible and we can’t thank you enough.  Please know that we appreciate your time and efforts more than you know and that it is lifting our team’s potential with every moment you take to step in and join us in pursuing our dreams.


Last night we also finished our crate at 10:30 pm.  From start to finish 6 hours to build, not to bad for our first crate.  Thanks to Walt Whitman High School for letting us stay late to get that finished.



Double bonus, it looks like all of the planning and logistics prep for World Championships is nearly complete. We have found two great bus mates; FRC Team 1712 and FRC Team 4242,  have locked in our hotels and travel itineraries, and figured out all of our extra curriculars. It also looks like we have all of our spares ordered, our lifter arm is coming along nicely. The lifter arm should be ready to test on Saturday, fingers crossed.  We are ready for what ever next week brings and can’ wait to find out what we are going to learn.



Maryland and Montgomery County Robotics Funding Updates

So there is some Good news and some Bad news about the bills and grants we have been working on this year.

  • Good News.  The state level bills HB 115 and SB 582 have passed and are sitting on Governor Larry Hogans desk.
  • Bad News. The bill that made it to the Governors desk cut the planned funding for robotics across the state from $500,000 to $250,000.  This is a good start, we hope that next year we can urge state level law makers to make STEM and Robotics a bigger priority and demonstrate that support through increased funding.
  • 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.


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!


We are looking for bus mates

Any teams in the Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware, Virginia area want to share bus to World Championships?  If you are interested, please email us at We are taking around 25 people and would like to leave Monday April 25th (we could leave on the 26th if that works better for you), and return on May 1st.  We would also like to consume 1 full bay under the bus for our pit.  If we fill up enough seats, the price per seat could be as low as $200 a seat, so the more people the merrier.  We can take either a 55, 57 or a 61 passenger bus.



This is the season! We are one step closer to Einstein…

Prior to the beginning of the season the team outlined some goals for the season, the goals are listed below. We also started to talk about playing on the field named Einstein. To get to play here would mean we are one of the best 24 teams in the world this year. To earn a spot on this field is incredibly challenging, but if we do, our team’s life will be changed forever. This is one of those rare places on earth where great minds are forged and the flame of passion becomes a raging inferno of can do…..must do…..will do! That is why we compete, that is why we chase perfection, that is why we skip sleep and that is why we robot. We are chasing greatness and this weekend is the next step we have to take to earn a spot there. This weekend we need to play well enough to finish ranked in the top 6. This is going to be very hard to do because of all of the great competitors we are going to see. But it has to happen, we need to demonstrate that we are good enough to earn a spot to world championships where we will get an opportunity to compete to play on Einstein. ARE YOU READY?

2015-2016 Team 1389 Goals:

  • Lab organization – we did better
  • Win regional and go to worlds! – we are going to try and make this a reality over the next 3 days
  • Team 1/4 girls – we did better
  • Finish robot earlier in build season – we did better
  • Score autonomous points – we accomplished
  • Fundraising more – we did better
  • Outreach – we did better
  • 2-4k for last seasons cost – we raised 2k
  • Hold mock build seasons this summer and fall – we did not accomplish

IF you can’t join us in person, you can watch us live via web stream at this location