We recently contacted Finding Blue Moose FTC team 5468 in regards to how to run team meetings. Here is what they said:
It’s great to hear from you. We’re happy to help you out in any way we can. Our team is a little bit different in that we are not affiliated with our high school and run our meetings out of team members basements, garages, and kitchens. (This results in many all nighter style meetings.) Making “To-Do” lists is pretty helpful. Having a list of chores/deadlines is something that usually helps us. We are procrastinators, so having some sort of set deadline can give us the motivation we need to get stuff done. Also, try and make as much progress as you can outside of meetings. (For example, if someone is struggling with programming, their homework is to look up as many videos and tutorials as they can before the next meeting. This will help you keep moving forward!) About how much time do you have a day to spend meeting? How did you rank in San Diego and what sorts of changes do you hope to make before the next event? Have you qualified for World before?
Something that has helped us during competitions is making sure to decorate our pit area as much as we can. It’s impossible to have too much team spirit! This season, because we have so many rookies, we also did a practice run of our judges interview. Some of the veteran members asked our newbies some sample questions we have had in the past to give them a feel for what the judges room would be like. Maybe doing some sort of prep like that can help your team.
Let me know if we can assist with anything else. I could talk about FTC all day!
Finding Blue Moose
After answering their questions, they followed up with this:
Glad I could help! I talked with some of my other team mates and we came up with a few more tips for you:
Some things that we have seen teams do before is make a handout about your robot. At the Vermont Championship last weekend, there was a team that passed around pamphlets in the pit area that included notes and information on their design. It was a neat idea. This made it much easier for scouts during the alliance selections.
One thing that our team tried doing at our first two competitions was setting up a Help Station. (This will probably be easy to implement, seeing as your team is hosting.) We had a table set up with basic parts and supplies and a sign out sheet to keep track of it all. (We borrowed this idea from our friends Team 5454 “dent in the Universe.”) We received good feed back from it. Doing something like this can show the Judges your Gracious Professionalism!
Color coordinating your table is a great idea and your interactive video software sounds awesome! Balloons are also a pretty good way to fill up your pit space. Our team also made some backboards highlighting our team members, robot design, and community outreach. You may have seen this on our Facebook page, but we also have a wooden moose that we painted blue and set up in the pit area. We had other teams autograph it throughout the course of the day, which was pretty fun. I’m not sure if there is something simplier than that, that your team could try. But it’s a thought! We also cut our team number out of cardboard so we could hold it up during our matches. That’s a pretty quick and easy way to show spirit.
I didn’t realize this initially, but I have watched some of the videos on the Suit Bots website. Your weighted ring detection system is very cool. Best of luck this weekend.
Let us know if there is anything else we can do,
Finding Blue Moose
- De-lube tracks
- Install fenders
- Start the CAD adventure
Evan, Hunter, and Fletcher went to Evan’s house today to work on installing some protective devices for the treads,
We designed this because of the problem of other robots snapping our tracks during a match and thus immobilizing is for the match. This happened way to many times at the San Diego regional championship. Also we saw some of the other teams using a lot of CAD in their notebook, notably team 4112 The Warriors from Rock Academy, who won the inspire award at the regional. This lead us to believe that we should give it a shot, so Hunter is in the process of converting all the drawings and physical aspects of the robot itself.
This was a short meeting, in our week-long journey till the LA regional.
These are what the finished fenders look like.
We also slightly elevated the front compartment of our hand to give a better setup for putting rings on the goals. The ring in this picture that is slightly higher is the one towards the front of the robot.
Finally, we added a metal piece to secure the USB into the Samantha module because we have had trouble with the USB popping out of it again. We also put the power switch on the front panel of the robot so it is in a more convenient location to turn the robot on and off.
- Travel to Raytheon
- Expose ourselves to their public relations dept. to one day ask for a sponsorship
- Talk to engineers about robotics
- Take a tour of their facility
Today Evan, and Hunter traveled from Monrovia to the distant coastal city of El Segundo to pay Raytheon a visit. We arrived under the impression that there would be an entire quad filled with robotics, as suggested by the provided map. This however was not the case. There was us, and one FRC team 707 still using its basketball throwing mechanism. Never the less we still presented ourselves to the various people that passed us on their way to wherever they were going. A while later, we were invited to come into the cafeteria to have lunch and complete a task that was unknown at the time. As Evan and Hunter enjoyed their non vegetarian burgers. Before they could even finish their food, the Raytheon employees put on a little skit to introduce the days challenge. As we would still find out, we had to build a sterling engine out of little other than a coke can and steel wool. After the allotted time was up we had done pretty well, and were off to the tour of their facilities. The first lab that we went to was the ITF (Integrated Testing Facilities) lab where we found a giant capsule that we can take out all of the air(or close to it) and super heat or super cool the chamber to test how optics will react in space. After this we went to a Calibration lab, this was highly dependent on lasers and other sorts of optics. They had a machine that you could create a 3D CAD model of whatever you want using nothing but lasers.
The Say Watt? Robotics FTC teams, who are from New Jersey, recently attended the Russian National Championship in Moscow. After hearing about this, we sent them email asking how they got their teachers to allow this and how they fund raised for this, and this is what they said:
I am the coach of Say Watt Robotics. We are independent of any school, so we definitely had to work. There were some kids who were not able to make the trip because of mid-terms and missing too much school. However, we scheduled the trip so they only missed two days of school (we left at noon on Wednesday, so it counts as attending the full day). All of the parents had to write notes to the school saying that the kids were going to miss those two days. We also worked with one of the schools so that the kids finished their mid-terms on Wednesday at 11:30, just before we pulled them out to go to the airport. For this and for World’s, we tell the teachers well in advance. We minimize the missed school days and the kids have to do the work they miss. Most of the teachers are excited about the team and want to see the kids succeed.
I also write letters to the schools about individual students telling the school that a particular person is critical to the team and that we are going to be competing.
It is not perfect, and sometimes it affects grades negatively, but it is the best we can do.
With respect to funding, we have corporate sponsors and we use some of that money to pay for generic travel expenses, but the kids have to pay many of the travel costs themselves. Because we are not school-based, many of the parents accompany the team on its trips. The parents also spend a lot of time trying to arrange the best deals possible for travel.
Coach 3539, 4311, and 5169.
This is useful information, and perhaps we can use it in the future to plan a large scale tour of our own.
- Go over everything we have to do
- Finish up unfinished posts in notebook
- Add receipts and business page to notebook
We did a lot of planning and reviewing for absolutely everything we have to finish before Saturday. We went over what was done from the earlier checklist on the twelfth and we have done just about everything.
- All of the new pages are in the notebook including the business plan, receipts, and code.
- The TeleOP and autonomous codes are finished with.
- The display is finished and the fliers are designed and sent out to grade schools
- We have made a sheet to overview the awards and highlight what we have done for each one
All we have left now is to reprint the notebook, put in all of the dividers, put in the arrow markers in the notebook pointing to highlights for each award, finish adjusting the drawer sliders on the robot, and get all of our consent forms to Mr. Porter.
Mark also worked on the notebook and now everything is up to date and we created spreadsheets for all of our costs and expenses and put it into the notebook.