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

New sponsors

We are so excited to have Booze Allen, Lockheed Martin, and Castlewood as returning sponsors of Team 1389! The Walt Whitman Foundation, along with Whitman Principal Dr. Goodwin, granted funding so that the team could purchase a CNC machine this year. The holidays will come early for the member of Team 1389! They will all be waiting for that Amazon delivery to arrive! We are also thrilled to be able to also thank Leidos this year for being our newest team sponsor. We want to make sure that every sponsor knows how thankful Team 1389 is for all of the support! To every parent, neighbor, relative, and friend that supported this Fall’s cookie fundraiser, the team was able to raise just over $2000.00 towards supplies. Thank you, thank you to every supporter of Team 1389!

lockheed-martin-logo

 

boozallen_logo

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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.

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

 

 

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

 

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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2016-2017 Team Plan

The team had a meeting a few weeks back where discussed how we would make our 2016 2017 goals a reality. One of the first things we did was modify our goals a bit after thinking about them for two weeks.

  • 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
  • Prepare more underclassman for leadership positions

 

We made the change to make the goal more measurable. We also focused our efforts for next season on the following;

  • Win the EI award
  • Spend more time prototyping for every aspect of the robot
  • Build two robots
  • Raise $20,000
    • $5,000 for District Championships
    • $10,000 for World Championships
    • $5,000 for second robot
  • Host a district event
    • Raise $10,000 on behalf of the event

 

To make the above happened the team talked about what we were going to do with the last month of school.

  • Repair Drivetrains
  • Tune up robots
  • Do outreach to local fabrication companies
  • Cleanup Lab

 

The team then talked about what we would be doing over the summer with the limited amount student who are available to make the goals real

  • Schedule a Drive Day at the STEMAction center in Columbia – Joey
  • Schedule a Pyle Drive Day – Jonah, Joey
  • Define CAD Projects – Joey, JJ
    • CAD project 1 – CAD the 2016 robot in solid works by the end of July
    • CAD 3 drive trains in full detail and include all electrical systems, wire routing and mechanical systems by the end of August
      • West coast inline drop 6 with 4” solid wheels
      • Swerve
      • H-drive
    • Complete a Vision Project
      • Identify and track 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 targets
    • Fund raise $6,000
    • Secure a Sheet metal fabrication sponsor
    • Lay the ground work to start 1 FTC team and 2 FLL teams
      • FTC at Pyle
      • FLL at Davis Library and Wyngate Elementary School
    • Repair current robots
      • Liftzilla – encoder controlled lifter, ecoder controlled drive, build bumpers
      • Maelstrom – functioning turret, vision code, autonomous modes, rewire, add climber
    • Do advocacy work at the Federal, State and county level
    • 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

 

The team also laid out the plan for the Fall

  • Attend 3 off seasons
  • Create a 2016-2017 budget
    • Measure spending according to the budget
    • Create a part purchasing process that is tied to the budget
  • Increase the number of talks
  • Incorporate VEX robots into fall projects
    • Purchase 2-3 vex kits, $2,000 per kit
    • Host robot build off for underclassmen
  • Host Java training for MoCo teams
  • Host CAD training for MoCo teams
    • Create CAD projects due in Dec 2016
  • Host Safety training in Sept so students can use tools early
  • Start Awards in the fall
    • Finish drafts by December
  • Sign up 100 students at Clubs night
  • Track and measure freshman retention
  • Setup an Agile work board for defining and distributing tasks
    • 2 people’s names need to be on each ticket that is in work
  • Assign each new member an experienced buddy member
  • Raise $20,000 for build season
  • Recruit 2 more mentors
    • Electrical
    • Programming
  • Mentor FLL and FTC teams
  • Plan a district event

 

Here are the raw notes from the meeting

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This Saturday the team is having a robot party

Parents, volunteers, sponsors, community members, school leaders and students come out this Saturday at 6pm to our team’s end of the year banquet. Please email us for location admin@team1389.com.

robot-30

Also, our students will be meeting from 2-5 pm at the robotics room to plan out the next season.  If you want to be on the leadership team or want a say in what the team is going to do next season you should probably show up.

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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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?

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