Over this past weekend, the F.A.S.T. Team took part in a FIRST Rookie Workshop hosted by FIRST in Michigan. I took 4 students with me on a 90-minute drive to Kentwood Michigan for this event. In this one day event newly registered FRC teams that will be competing in the 2018 Season had the chance to explore and take part in building their very first robot. The task that was presented to he 40 attending teams involved taking pieces of aluminum, sprockets, hand tools and fasteners and assemble a robotic arm that they would be able to take home with them.
The day started with some instruction and exposure on how the teams would take the knowledge learned that day and how to apply that to the competitive season which starts in January. Each part of the arm assembly was provided by a setup steps to follow and then the students, with the help of their mentors, tried to complete the step.
The build process for the arm and the steps followed took up most of the day and by the end or the day, ALL teams had a functioning arm which they took home with them. The F.A.S.T. Team members that attended the workshop adapted their learning abilities and performed the tasks that were given to them and learned some of the basics of robot building at the same time.
The Second part of the day focused on coding a robot to perform tasks through the use of an autonomous process which means no human interaction with any control. This was done with a laptop, some coding software and a robot provided by FIRST in Michigan. Each step of the coding process was provided and the students were expected to follow the example and use trial and error to refine their code for their robot.
The second part of the coding aspect of the workshop was to get a robot to be remotely controlled by the students. This was accomplished by the student teams writing code and then deploying the code to the robot. Again the student members of our team quickly picked up on this and were able to get the robot to be remotely controlled and perform the tasks required in the lesson.
Overall and after asking the students for feedback on the 90 minutes return trip from the workshop I was provided but nothing but positive and how the students on the team are ready for the start to our 2018 season. Not only do I believe that these students showed that we are ready to take on the "Power Up" themed game for the 2018 season but they had the chance to meet the other teams we will be competing with this coming season. Good behavior, positivity and thirst for knowledge were all expressed and as the Head Mentor for the Team, I was proud of all of them!