Club’s Night 2017

Last Tuesday Maelstrom was out an about at the Walt Whitman Club’s night showing off a bit. And lucky for us, the crazy ball singer caught the attention of over 70 students.  On top of that we talked with other clubs about partnering on some special events or projects.  We can’t wait to see what amazing things come out of this year’s club’s night.

20160920_190746 20160920_190743


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!


2016 Tech Lecture Schedule

This fall is our team’s preseason, and as such the team will be busy practicing and learning to get ready for build season.  Much like playing sports, you don’t win the game when you step in the ice or field, you win the game in the months and days leading up to the game with your practice and preparation.  Robotics is no different, the fall is when we need to do as much learning and gain as much experience as possible so that in the spring, all we do is act.  Lats year the team started doing tech lectures to help get students up to speed on many of the critical aspects of running an FRC robotics teams.  This year we will be expanding our tech lectured so as to cover more topics and to help take our abilities to the next level.

Walt Whitman students, as well as students from other teams are encouraged to attend as many of the lectures as possible.  The more you know about every aspect of the robot and team, the more efficient the you and the team can be overall. Plus, their is always something new to learn.  All lectures will take place at Walt Whitman High School. If you are not a team Walt Whitman student please contact us at if you are interested in attending.

We will create and update online material in preparation for each talk, so please check the web page for updates that could help you get smarter, better and faster.


How well do you teach?

Albert-Einstein-Life-QuotesStarting in the fall of 2015 every student involved in Walt Whitman robotics needs to do at least one STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) project per year. These projects need to be on a topic that can help broaden you and your team’s understanding of any topic you find interesting. The key here is to have fun and share the passion you have for a topic with your team mates. The sharing part of this project is what we like to call “Students Teaching Students“. This is an opportunity for you to practice your presentation skills and test your knowledge of your topic. Remember no teacher will ever know the answer to every question, so this also gives you the opportunity to go and find the answers to any questions that come up.



Research project requirements

  • This is not graded, but your teammates will have an opportunity to ask questions so slouching on the assignment is not recommended
  • Create a 15 min presentation on your topic
  • You can include notes in your presentation and back up material to help people reading the slides on the web to learn from your material
  • Site any and all sources
  • Know the material well enough to field most questions from your teammates
  • Complete a small follow up report to answer any questions that you were unable to answer when you presented and to identify the key thing you learned during the assignment. Add this followup report to your slides and publish your presentation to the team web site.
  • Use the Walt Whitman power point template

Examples of project ideas

  1. Wheels
  2. Chassis
  3. Gear boxes
  4. Arms
  5. Grabbers
  6. Power systems
  7. Control systems: speed controllers
  8. Control systems: sensors
  9. Control systems: cameras
  10. Control systems: wires & connectors
  11. Control systems: system design
  12. Pneumatics: valves
  13. Pneumatics: actuators
  14. Structures: fasteners
  15. Structures: extrusions
  16. Structures: brackets
  17. Structures: fabrication methods – cnc
  18. Structures: fabrication methods – lathe
  19. Structures: fabrication methods – laser cutter
  20. Structures: fabrication methods – vertical mill
  21. Structures: fabrication methods – water jet
  22. Structures: fabrication methods – sheet metal
  23. Structures: fabrication methods – drill press
  24. Structures: fabrication methods – 3d printer
  25. Structures: bumpers
  26. Electronics: multi-meters
  27. Electronics: power and electricity
  28. Electronics: switches
  29. Electronics: heat transfer
  30. Electronics: oscilloscope
  31. Electronics: motors
  32. Software: java
  33. Software: robotc
  34. Software: labview
  35. Software: drive train control
  36. Software: manipulator control
  37. Software: sensors
  38. Software: speed controllers
  39. Controls: laptop
  40. Controls: play station or xbox
  41. Controls: joy stick
  42. Controls: custom panel
  43. Web pages
  44. Awards
  45. Pits
  46. Hand tools
  47. Spirit
  48. T-shirts
  49. Robot feet
  50. Printing
  51. Social media
  52. Scholarships
  53. Animation
  54. Driving
  55. Schedules
  56. Materials
  57. Power distribution
  58. Crio
  59. 4-h
  60. Practice bots
  61. Fields
  62. Frc
  63. Ftc
  64. Fll
  65. Vex
  66. Best
  67. Mate
  68. Sea perch
  69. Stem
  70. Green
  71. Fund raising
  72. Events
  73. Sponsorship
  74. Email campaign
  75. Business plan
  76. Community involvement

Students are not limited to FRC or any of the above topics. They are just recommendations.

BAA Education Day 2016

Last year the team attended BAA education day and learned a lot.  We plan on taking all or new team members again this year.  Its a chance for students to get a lot of knowledge about FRC robots very quickly.  If you are a new to robotics, we highly recomend attending.


Any student, mentor, parent or supporter of the FIRST Robotics Competition in Maryland and DC. There are sessions targeting both rookies and veterans.


  • A $5 fee is requested from ALL attendees.
  • The $5 per person fee will be collected at the door, but advance registration of all attendees is required. You will be expected to pay for the number of people you register even if they don’t show up on Oct. 29.
  • Registration, including lunch will close at 5pm on Tues. Oct. 18, 2016.
  • Some sessions will have limited seats and will require a pre-registration. You will receive instructions on how to sign up for these seats after you register.


  • A BBQ lunch from Famous Dave’s (pork, brisket, chicken, sides and water). A vegetarian option will be offered. Lunch is included in the registration fee.
  • There will be no extra lunch tickets sold at the door; participants MUST register online in order to be included in the lunch order.
  • Teams are welcome to bring their own food if they think they will need more to eat.


  • Detailed agenda will be sent to registered participants.


Yourself, your $5, a notebook and lots of questions !


Sat, October 29, 2016

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Add to Calendar


Glenelg High School

14025 Burntwoods Road

Glenelg, MD

View Map






Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Email Kathy at :

Is my registration/ticket transferrable?

Yes, you can email Kathy with your name and who will be attending in your place.

Can I attend for just part of the day ? 

Yes, if you cannot attend the entire day, come when you can and attend those sessions most of value to you Please register though so that we can ensure we don’t overcrowd the school.

Can I bring my own lunch ? 

Yes of course and any snacks you need through the day. We will still request the $5 payment to cover the costs of meals for the volunteers and presenters.

Do I have to register with my team or can I register individually?

Either is fine, just make sure you are not registered twice.

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.”

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, we can use all the help we can get.

The Calendar is Updated


We have created a team calendar that has all of the team meetings, competitions and other events. We will be adding the volunteer assignments, locations, and event details to the calendar over the next week so that all of our team mates will only have one place to go for information.


Other parts of our website are currently being updated and will be a good source of information for the whole 1389 family.


Have you filled in your paper work yet???

MoCo Advocacy 2016 Day 2

Students from Richard Montgomery High School and Walt Whitman High School met with Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett last Tuesday to learn what his position was on robotics in Montgomery county.  The meeting went very well, not only did Mr. Leggett voice support for growing robotics in the county, but he also told us about his experience visiting the Walt Whitman FRC District Event.  He was blown away by the size of the robots and the number of people attending the event. We talked about the need to expand robotics into more schools and the need to bring more diversity to STEM programs in the county.

On top of the great support, Mr. Leggett also volunteered to join our students when we meet with Larry Hogan in August to help push for making robotics a state level sport.


MoCo Advocacy 2016 Day 1

Today students and mentors from several of the robotics teams from Montgomery County were in Rockille to talk to our county leaders about recognizing robotics as a sport.  We started the day talking to George Leventhal and his staffer Waltin Harris. Mr. Leventhal has been very supportive in the past, and has even driven Liftzilla, our 2015 robot.  He heard our idea of declaring robotics sport in Montgomery county and was immediately behind the idea.  He even offered to ask a question of the new superintendent DR. Jack Smith to see what his opinion might be on the topic.

From there we attended a meeting with the MoCo Board of education, the County Council and the new superintendent to learn more about his plans for the school district.  It was a very enlightening meeting and allowed us to get a better idea of some of the passions that drive county council members and the new superintendent. Of particular note was when Mr Leventhal asked about growing robotics in the county and getting is classified as a sport, the new superintendent agreed with both aspects of his question and asked back, “how do we get robotics in to all 204 Mo Co schools.”  Needles to say we are delighted with his answer, and have contacted Andrew Zuckerman (MCPS Chief Operating Officer) and Dr. William Beattie (MCPS athletic director) to figure out the details. You can read more about the meeting in the Bethesda Beat.

In the afternoon we shifted from asking how MCPS could make robotics a sport to some of the logistics that need to happen. We met with Crystal Ruiz from Council Member Hans Riemer’s office who gave us a lot of things to think about.  We decided to do a referendum declaring robotics a sport in Montgomery county would be a good first step.  We are going to work with all of the offices to get the final wording as quickly as possible because the county council session ends on the 2nd. We also decided to follow up with a few very specific people inside the county to ensure this moves forward as quickly as possible.

Next we met with County Council staffer for Tom Hucker, Matt Verghese, who played Bot Ball for several years in High School and was extremely supportive of the idea of making Robotics a sport in the county.  His boss, Mr. Hucker is also a big fan and wants to work with us to help grow robotics in his district.  Matt was also very disappointing to hear that robotics teams are charged CUPF fees for using the buildings.  He wants to help teams get the CUPF polices changed so that Blair High School stops charging their robotics teams and can use those funds on growing STEM instead.  Matt also asked us to look into if chess is considered a sport by MoCo.  He was part of an effort to get chess classified as a sport in college that ended in success.  So he knew a good bit about the ask we were making.

Last we met with Councilman Robert Berliner and his staffer Zac Trupp.  Mr. Berliner has been a big supporter, and even came to the Walt Whitman District event we hosted.  Mr. Berliner played devils advocate to our idea or having MoCo declare robotics a sport by asking us why not consider debate a sport.  We responded with what does the county want to celebrate and develop.  Does the county want more debaters, or does the county want more STEM students?  The answer to this question is important since we are asking the county to change the way it does things and bring a fresh perspective to the way we define sports.  Not unlike the new perspective the County Council is looking for in Dr. Smith.  We also went on to inform him that being classified a sports comes along with some very specific program changes that would remove some serious impediments schools run into when looking to start new teams.

  1. Larger stipends for robotics coaches
  2. Schools participate in filling robotics coach vacancies so that teams do not go with out a coach
  3. Access to practice space and build space without being charged CUPF fees
  4. Access to MoCo transportation resources for attending events
  5. Access to team administration support in the school and at the county level
  6. Access to gyms and schools for tournaments at zero cost to the team
  7. Students could varsity letter in robotics

We also discussed the major positives for the MCPS athletics Directors office, MCPS and the County Council

  1. More people would be interested in and responsible for growing STEM students inside the county
  2. More people would be interested in and responsible for growing diversity of STEM student participation inside the county
  3. More people would be interested in and responsible for growing the number of project based learning activities inside the county
  4. More students inside the county would be prepared to walk out of high school prepared for both college and vocational training
  5. Athletics would get access to county, state and federal funds dedicated towards STEM programs
  6. Athletics would get access to county, state and federal funds dedicated towards Vocational training programs

Tomorrow the teams meet with County Executive Ike Leggett to discuss making robotics a sport and funding a community grant to help this new new sport get started inside the county.


13717431_10154362317383781_305520513830516895_o 13709845_10154361832728781_1193785635054186242_n

Thanks to Mr. Leventhal for the photos.

Kid Museum Outreach Last Weekend

Students from Blair High School joined us at the Kid Museum last weekend to help grow awareness for robotics in the county.  Not only did we find some future Bethesda robot builders in the crowd, but we helped some New Yorkers learn about robotics as well.   Our students also inspired some amazing VexIQ creations that two of our students will spends the next few weeks teaching Kid Museum visitors how to program.

Students from both Blair and Walt Whitman went through a presentation and then we turned on the Indiana Robotics Invitational so that everyone could watch some real matches being played.   Thanks to the Kid Museum for giving the opportunity and good luck this year with your brand new FLL team.

Check out some of the pictures and videos from the event.

20160716_130510 20160716_130456 20160716_130454 20160716_110359 20160716_110352 20160716_133950 20160716_133946 20160716_133943 20160716_13052813697260_1056116661135281_7829883399270088692_n13729143_1056116624468618_7364863638420193602_n13659188_1056116567801957_4325695676405312638_n13775754_1056116501135297_7118740702044294219_n13754658_1056116467801967_6538097319944061400_n13729031_1056116384468642_4852416201914831452_n13699940_1056116331135314_2639180030447991367_n13709891_1056116284468652_2060021049190146510_n13754391_1056116197801994_45650466987469390_n13754114_1056116064468674_5257540127164151800_n