Transition from FLL to FTC

Transition from FLL to FTC

We have been part of the two FIRST programs FLL and FTC. We have done FLL for 5 years but this is our first year in FTC. Since we are on the software team, we think that learning how to code is by far much harder than learning it for FLL. In FLL we had blocks which were made programming easier since each block had a specific function and made it easier to understand and build our program. Yet for FTC, we are required to learn Java which doesn’t have the concept of blocks but has many other parts. For example, it has classes, variables etc. Overall, we find FTC more enjoyable since it is more challenging. Also, our senior team members are supportive and great mentors which makes learning a lot quicker and easier. In FLL we were very limited to LEGO pieces to build our robot which also limited our creativity. On the other hand, FTC is allowed a larger variety of supplies as in anything that can be easily bought online.

Next, the outreach is drastically different between the two FIRST programs. In FLL there wasn’t a distinct outreach but there was a research component. In this section, the FLL teams would have to solve a world problem with an innovative solution relating to one specific topic. In FTC, our outreach goal is to promote STEM to others and expand people's knowledge of STEM.  Another comparison is during the competition. In FLL if the robot has a sudden malfunction, it is easy to fix. Whereas in FTC, reprogramming at the competition is a risk since it isn't easy to test and recode. Lastly, there is a difference between controlling the robot. In FLL the robot must be programmed before game time and cannot be controlled manually or during game time otherwise, you will be penalized. In FTC, there are two phases which are autonomous and teleop. Autonomous is similar to the robot game in FLL but teleop is different as you use a joystick to control your robot during the game. We think FTC is easier is in the robot game section as you have the chance to manually operate the robot and don’t worry about whether your program is correct or not. In conclusion, we think that FTC is better suited for younger kids and we are glad we switched to FTC since every practice we are faced with a new challenge and are able to learn more by the day.


FLL Software Workshop

FLL Software Workshop

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Five FLL teams attended our workshop on October 6, 2018. These five teams were created this year when we took the students of interest from our community and our camps. During this workshop, we introduced new FLL teams to the basics of the hardware and software aspects of FLL. While our team members were presenting this information, some of our coaches were talking to the parents about how the parents could help the teams and how they should successfully coach their teams. Throughout the presentation, our team asked questions to make sure the kids were paying attention.

Also, some of our team members had met before to build some robots, so as we were explaining some things, we passed around the robots so the kids could see the parts. After our informative presentation, we assigned a computer and robot to each team, as well as some of our team members. As we were passing out computers and robots, we realized we didn’t have enough. Luckily, one of our team members who lived in the neighborhood had a computer with the FLL programming software. We assigned the teams tasks to program, but since most of them did not know how to program, our team members taught them how to do it. After each task we assigned the groups, we gave them the solutions and asked if the teams had any questions or if they were confused about something. While the teams were programming, we talked to coaches and parents to promote the FLL program and offer to mentor the teams whenever they needed help. We were glad to help these students and hope to meet them again!

2016-2017 Season in Review – STEM Outreaches for Girls

2016-2017 Season in Review – STEM Outreaches for Girls

This season, the girls of our team – Rachael, Krittika, Sarah, and Susan - organized and ran numerous outreaches for other girls in our community to get hands-on experiences with building, programming, and driving metal and Lego robots.

            In October, we set up a booth at the first annual Harrisburg Girls World Expo, which is an event that promotes girls in STEM and the arts. Rachael and Sarah were part of the STEM Advisory Board, so they were able to secure a spot for our team to hold a robot demonstration. Our whole team worked together to design, build, and program a demo robot specifically for outreaches. Over one hundred girls from around the community were able to drive our robot and practice shooting balls into a goal, just like we did during FTC matches.

            Later, in February, we hosted a workshop at a local Girl Scouts Lock-In sleepover event for elementary- through high-school aged girls. As Rachael and Sarah are Girl Scouts and there are few STEM opportunities for Girl Scouts in central PA, they wanted to hold more outreaches for fellow Girl Scouts to learn about STEM. Here, around twenty to thirty girls of varying ages practiced building and programming Lego Mindstorms robots and learned how to drive metal FTC robots through an obstacle course.

            Our most recent robotics outreach for girls was a one-day Lego Mindstorms robotics camp on March 4th, 2017. In January, Rachael approached the Girl Scout Council of troop leaders in central PA to discuss expansion of STEM outreach for girls and pitched the idea of creating a one-day robotics camp for girls across the community, which the Council immediately approved and agreed to help advertise for. We planned the event from scratch, creating the curriculum, reserving the room, putting together the Lego robot kits, and serving as teachers for the camp, among many other responsibilities. The interest was so high among girls in our local community that the enrollment limit was reached within one week of advertising! We taught building concepts, such as the parts of a basic Lego robot, as well as EV3 programming concepts, such as different types of sensors used to navigate the environment. The camp was a hit, and we plan to hold the camp again next year.

            All in all, the 2016-2017 season was very successful year in terms of outreach, and we plan to expand our outreach next year, by possibly holding outreaches for high school girls and coordinating more robot demonstrations at venues around the community.

Robotics Camps for 2017 Summer

Robotics Camps for 2017 Summer

This is the 3rd time around for us, and we expect to make this an annual event. We started out in 2015 and had a small group that had a great time building robots with LEGO EV3 kits. Last year we had 2 camps: Beginners and Advanced to help keep the kids challenged. It was an amazing experience for the participants as well as the Camp Instructors. We have pictures that are worth a few thousand words. Go See!

The Javengers 2016-2017 Season So Far!

The Javengers 2016-2017 Season So Far!

We have had a great year so far!  Our team qualified to go to the PA state championship at the first qualifier we went to this year at the HatTricks qualifier event on Dec 10th, 2016 (Horsham, PA).

The State Championship is coming up quick on the 25th of February. Wish us luck!

The Javengers at the Girls Expo in Harrisburg

On October 2nd, the female Javengers on our FTC team traveled to the annual Girls World Expo in Harrisburg! This event’s mission is to “inspire girls everywhere to reach higher, go farther, and do more” [...].

CV High School Robotics Club

CV High School Robotics Club

The school many of us on the Javenger's team go to(Cumberland Valley HS) has after-school clubs for everything from Doctor Who to Archery… but something was missing: a Robotics Club! When our team demonstrated our robot and shared our FTC experience during school lunch periods, we observed a huge amount of interest and excitement from a significant portion of the student body [...]

Women in STEM

Women in STEM

I remember sitting in my 9th grade computer science classroom, wondering why I was one of only two girls present. Unfortunately, it's always been like this. Women have been making monumental contributions to science and technology throughout history, yet do not gain the approval of society or their peers. And despite society's immense progression, research shows that women are underrepresented in STEM fields, especially computer science and engineering [...]

Racing Robots at PACAR Aug 2016 Summer Camps!

Racing Robots at PACAR Aug 2016 Summer Camps!

Racing Robots at the PACAR Aug 2016 One day camps revs us up for the season!

Robots whirring? Kids solving real world problems? Learning and understanding complex team building techniques? The future? Nope, just the FLL program working its magic. On August 19, 2016, kids aged 9 to 14 experienced FLL to its finest, at the PACAR FLL boot camp. [...]

PACAR FLL Team The Sixth Sensor wins prize at Razorback Invitational!

“3 … 2 …  1 …  Lego!” That’s how it always began. And they were off to the races! 150 seconds of tension and excitement. It was all about minds and machines working together. The halls of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville rang with the sound of rousing cheers and the whirr and clicks of robots the week of May 19th, as 72 teams from around the world gathered to compete at the 2016 Razorback FIRST Lego League Invitational Championship.  

In 1998, FIRST Founder Dean Kamen and the owner of the LEGO Group Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen joined forces to create FIRST LEGO League, a powerful program that engages children in playful and meaningful learning while helping them discover the fun in science and technology through the FIRST LEGO League experience.
Dean and Kjeld have a shared belief that FIRST LEGO League inspires teams to research, build, and experiment, and by doing so, they live the entire process of creating ideas, solving problems, and overcoming obstacles, while gaining confidence in their abilities to positively use technology.
Each year FIRST LEGO League releases a Challenge, which is based on a real-world scientific topic.
Each Challenge has three parts: The Robot Game, the Project, and the Core Values. Teams of up to ten children, with at least one adult coach, participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game), developing a solution to a problem they have identified (Project), all guided by the FIRST LEGO League Core Values. 

This year’s Challenge was Trash Trek, focusing on ways to reduce the impact of trash in our world.

  

The  members traveled with their families to the University of Arkansas this year in May. This team has been working hard to achieve their goals all year. Their solution to the food waste problem was a food management system, called the FoodSavvy system. It incorporates retail store networks, QR code technology, Smart Refrigerators, and smart Label data. They’re actually looking into getting their solution patented. They have had a wonderful season, starting at Kennett square, PA, where they won the first Place Champions Award at the Regionals. They moved on to win the 2 nd runner up Grand Champions award out of 48 qualifying teams at the State level. They participated in the 2016 Razorback invitational at the University of Arkansas and won the third place overall robot design award at this International Competition. The team and the coaches are very proud of their accomplishment.

Go the Sixth Sensors!