Tag Archives: Learning is for Everyone

Team Duct Tape Advances to South Super Regional with Inspire Award Win at State Championship!

Team Duct Tape has been fortunate to make to the FTC Florida State Championship every year since our founding in 2008.  Twice we’ve earned our way to the FIRST World Championship from there – once as Captains of the Winning Alliance and once as Inspire Award runner-up.  The one award we’ve always aimed for at State though – the actual Inspire Award  –  eluded us… until this year!
We’re delighted to report that we took that top honor at this year’s FTC State Championship, out of a field of 24 amazing teams at the Championship, out of nearly 100 teams statewide, and earned a spot at South Super-Regional Championship in San Antonio, TX at the end of February!  

The Team Behind the Team

The thing is, though, we didn’t earn that honor all by ourselves. We earned it because of the support, guidance and encouragement of our great mentors, coaches, families, friends, and supporters. We’ve always said that the Team Behind the Team is what really makes TDT successful. That’s proven to be the case again this year, with our still relatively new team of students who polished their great programming, build, interview and teamwork skills through the help of remarkable professionals who dedicated hours of their time and attention to the team.  Among the most important things our kids learn is that they fail or succeed together,  and also  that “success” doesn’t always equal “winning,” and that winning doesn’t always make you successful. They’ve also learned that it’s one thing to become successful and another thing to remain successful.  

And with the success of the Inspire Award at the Florida State Championship come  new challenges.  Competing among the best teams in Florida was difficult. Competing among the best teams in the South will be even harder.

Team Florida

But Florida’s a highly competitive state, and we’ll be heading to the Super Regional with nine other amazing teams from around the state.   In addition to TDT, the Florida teams that earned a spot at the Super Regional are:

  • 1369 Minotaur – Tampa
  • 3846 Maelstrom – Tampa
  •  3888 Greased Lightning  – Weston
  • 4997 Masquerade – Tampa  
  • 5257 Eagles Robotics Experience – Delray Beach  
  • 5937 Renaissance Robotics – Apopka  
  • 6433 Neutrinos – Lakeland  
  • 6451 Tarpon Robotics Punta Gorda
  • 7477 Super-7  – Oviedo   
[A Note of Apology to the awesome South Super Regional-bound teams 3888 Greased Lightning, of  Weston, and 6451 Tarpon Robotics, of Punta Gorda, who were inadvertently left of the list of the Terrific Ten of Team Florida!  Now we’re full hurricane force! ]

By the same token that it takes a village to make a team successful, we figure we’re all stronger competing together for Florida , than we are alone.   So TDT started a group called Team Florida, for our South Super-Regional-bound Florida Teams to network, plan, practice and help each other help Florida make a strong showing.  The Super Regional is a new experience for all of us, and while somewhat daunting, it’s fun to be able to be at a big event (72 teams from 12 southern states!) with so many home teams, something you don’t usually get to experience at the FTC World Championship.

TDT with Coach Jared at left, and Thad Beckert, of Lockheed Martin, far right, which donates the use of some awesome, customizable shipping crates to the Inspire Award and Winning Alliance teams.

How You Can Help

Of course, there are  costs inherent in getting our team of ten to San Antonio, and securing lodging and meals there for three days.  We can address the actual competition challenges – tweaking the robot, refining strategy, improving the engineering notebook and team presentation, practicing with other teams – but we need your help with the logistical challenges.

Please consider a donation to FTC Team Duct Tape to help support their South Super Regional journey.
We wouldn’t be here without your support and encouragement,and we can’t get there without your continued support and encouragement!  Contributions of any size are deeply appreciated, and tax deductible when made through Network for Good to our parent sponsor, Learning is for Everyone, Inc. (Make a note to designate your donation to Team Duct Tape in the comments section.)
We’ll keep you updated on our progress towards the Super Regional, and will do our very best to represent for Florida FTC!

It’s a Block Party! Fiesta de Bloques!

The new FIRST Tech Challenge game has been released and we’re delighted to learn – it’s a Block Party!  What a great looking game, and what a great Kick Off at Middleton High School.

Many thanks to Middleton Robotics for a terrific and fun filled event!  We were especially happy to make the formal acquaintance of Scott and Jordi from Sumo Software Corporation , who will be helping out our parent sponsor,  Learning is for Everyone, with Robocon Tampa Bay.   Scott and Jordi turned out to be FIRST alumni – from 1996 and 2006 respectively! – and came out to the kick off to learn more about FTC. We’re glad they’ve found their way back to FIRST!




Congrats N.U.T.S.!

The Florida FTC kick off event was huge! Over 45 teams turned out for it, from across the state, with 400 students!  Our Florida Guess the Game winners is FTC 5070 Team N.U.T.S., who guessed there would be an endgame hanging component. They received a hand crafted duct tape backpack.

Our out-of-state winner is waayyyy out of state – in India! Congratulations to Team 7003, Electrohephathenix from Pune,  India, who not only guessed the game name correctly – Block Party – but also that it would involve manipulation of blocks in some way.

We may also have to give out some prizes for Most Creative Guesses, which would have to include FTC Team 5937, Renaissance Robotics, and one of their guesses which was that the game would be “Water Polo” and involve “Robots riding horses in a swimming pool while playing a ball game.”  Our other favorite guess came from Whitney High School FTC team 542, who said the game would be called “Beautiful Babies”.

The game will consist of transporting fish and other effective nutrient-rich food to live babies. The amount of points will be based on the amount of calories each alliance has given their baby. The endgame will amount to putting a cat on the baby’s heads. The cats will be docile because they are full of morphine. This will be a difficult and challenging endgame.”

TDT member Jacob with his little sister (under the big hat!)

No one can ever accuse FTC teams of lacking in creativity!

This coming Saturday, we put our duct tape noses to the grindstone and get to work planning out our new season build. Before the meeting starts, though, we’ve also got a fun and exciting international outreach project we’ve been invited to be part of by our FTC friends south of the border (or in our case, west of the border, across the Gulf of Mexico, in Mexico City.

FTC Team 3141, the Bears, is hosting an international FTC Google+ Hangout this Saturday, Sept. 14, at 12pm EST.  Besides us and the Bears, we’ll be joined by Landroids FTC 4220, of New Jersey,  and Team Beta FTC 3550, from Iowa.

We’ll start at noon (11am CST) with team intros, followed by team presentations and then “Game Talk”, where we’ll be chatting about things like Block Party first impressions, favorite aspects of the game, ideas about strategy and game play.

The Bears invites FTC teams everywhere to follow along at their Google+ Hangout on Saturday, and so do we!  In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the Bears’ bilingual presentation of the the Block Party! game.  Hope to see you, Saturday!


Getting Ready…

Team Duct Tape held its first official pre-season meeting last week, a combination CAD education session and Kickstarter fulfillment session, to create the duct tape gifts promised to donors, as well as the gifts for our “Guess the Game” Game winners.   Both sessions went well!

This year’s pre-season meeting served as a refresher for last year’s students, and as an intro for a couple of incoming members, whom we’re excited to have on board.  Koen comes to us with some VEX experience, and Jacob, although new to FIRST,  plunged right in earlier this year at outreach events.

Next week, Jacob and Marissa will be representing TDT when they make an appearance on Daytime, with parent sponsor Learning is for Everyone, in a special back-to-school edition of the Channel 8 morning show (didn’t school just let out?!).  The segment they’ll be in is about homeschooling, and since Jacob and Marissa are two of our homeschooled students, they’re great examples of homeschoolers learning by doing, and how FIRST can be integrated into educational environments outside of brick and mortar schools.



Then sometime in the next couple or three weeks, with most of the parts in for our 3D printer, we’ll put that together.  We also hope to get in a cool local robotics facility tour, and a day of team building fun at a local YMCA.  So by the time kick off rolls around in a month (check out our countdown timer at the top right – it’s counting down fast!) , Team Duct Tape members will be ready to hit the ground running – fingers made nimble (and sticky!) by hours of duct tape construction, minds made sharp pouring over CAD instruction, and teamwork strengthened by working together on a 40 ft high ropes course.

Whatever the new season brings, we’ll be ready – for something!