Two weeks into the new season and Team Duct Tape’s hard at work, brainstorming, learning, building and with a full outreach calendar. A week ago, we enjoyed a fun Google+ Hangout hosted by the Bears FTC team from Mexico, and joined by Landroids FTC 4220, of New Jersey, and Team Beta FTC 3550, from Iowa. We hope to link up again later on in the season.
After that, the team dug in with some focused brainstorming, worked out team roles and organized the meeting schedule for the coming weeks. With a foreshortened season due to the new Super Regionals, time is of the essence. So TDT is taking a sort of “divide and conquer” (the tasks) approach to the season, with some team members participating in outreach events, others going to programming mentoring sessions, and different team members handling different build tasks at different times.
The team is also taking a more nose-to-the-grindstone approach to the Engineering Notebook this season, with entries being completed at the end of each meeting rather than as a take-home assignment. That way sketches and design notes are captured right away, and everyone provides input for each entry to make sure all the salient points are included.
This coming Saturday, we’ll be holding at least part of our meeting at Bar Camp Tampa Bay at the University of South Florida School of Business, and look forward to showing BarCamp attendees our build process and programming work, and learning for them throughout the day. We’re excited about the opportunity and look forward to making more friends in the growing Tampa Bay tech community.
TDT members worked hard over their holiday break, meeting on three separate days before and after Thanksgiving to refine programming , practice driving and make final tweaks. The duct tape was flying, too, as those not working on the robot at any given time, worked on their team “look,” and give-aways. (There’s definitely a learning curve on that button maker!)
But we think we’re in pretty good shape and we’re looking forward to finally putting our robot and driving skills to the test on Saturday, at Middleton High School.
The event is free and open to the public. Qualifying matches start at 10:15 AM, with elimination matches starting at 4:45 pm. Come for the Opening Ceremonies at 10am, to see the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Disposal Team showcase their working robots for event attendees, and then watch the matches by student teams. There are 16 teams registered to compete in the Middleton Madness tournament, hailing from the Gulf Coast area and as far away as Gainesville and Orlando.
The FTC season is well underway here in Florida. Results from the last two qualifying competitions are online at the Florida FIRST Tech Challenge website and it looks like we’ve got our work cut out for us! This year, Florida is trying out the use of Team Videos instead of Team Interviews the day of a competition. This adds a new element to the competition experience, hopefully freeing up judges to watch teams in action rather than just getting a five or ten minute glimpse of teams in a formal interview setting.
That also creates one more thing for teams to do during their build season, in addition to building their robot and maintaining their Engineering Notebook. But everyone’s sure busy at meetings!
At our last meeting, we worked on further refining our build, which made for some good team video opportunities. Hopefully we can get down to some serious programming and game strategy at this week’s meeting. So much to do, and so little time before our December 4 competition at Middleton High School!