This rookie FTC season was one with many different challenges and learning opportunities. We learned about the different obstacles of being a FIRST team and learned how to overcome them as an individual and as a team. Mentoring FTC was new for all the Girls of Steel students and mentors, but we got a lot of help along the way, especially from Bhargavi and Austin.
Most of the 16 girls started out in October with no knowledge of programming, designing, or building a robot. Therefore, the season started with learning the basics. We first built a simple K-9 Kit Robot to learn about the basic structures needed to build a robot. After we built this robot, we tested how it performed on the Res-Q field, which was very poorly. We then discussed possible design changes that could be made and carried these changes out. This process taught our team how to follow through with the design process for the actual FTC robot. After learning these two aspects of robotics, we learned the third aspect, programming. One of our mentors, Bhargavi, first taught us the simplest parts of code and then we tried programming for our K-9 Kit Robots. A video of the K-9 robots is available here.
After we learned the basics, we moved onto building our actual competition robot. To begin this process, the entire team sat down and each member discussed ideas they believed would improve the basic design. We then sorted through all of these ideas to find which would to reasonable and beneficial for the robot. After the design for the robot was finalized, we began to work on the robot, but quickly ran into a problem. We found that having all members working on one part of the robot was not efficient, so we decided to split up the different parts of the robot, such as having some girls work on the wheel and some work on the claw. After this change was made to the building process, the robot was finished much more efficiently. We then worked on the different parts needed for the competition, such as the code to drive the robot and the FTC engineering notebook.
At our very first competition at Shady Side Academy on January 16th, the robot, which we named Dori, malfunctioned, and we were unable to drive it for the entirety of the competition. Finally we discovered that there was a wire issue, but this was found after all of the matches were over. Because this was such a frustrating occurrence, our team decided to go to a second competition, so we made changes to improve our robot, presentation, and engineering notebook, which we all found flaws with. At the second competition, “I Heart Robots!” in Emmaus PA on February 14th, the robot did work perfectly except for the claw. However, our presentation went well, and our team was satisfied that the robot was finally able to perform during a competition. Yay!
To conclude, this FTC season was one with many different rough patches. However, throughout the season, the girls were able to come together as a team and overcome all of these difficulties, which leads to prove that the 2015-2016 FTC season for rookie team 9820 was very successful. Now we are moving onward to shadowing the FRC team. You can also read about us on the website here. Contact us by email at email@example.com if you have any questions.