Demos/Off Season Events
A Demonstration event is a great way to get your team into the community and raise awareness.
Events can include Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Conventions, Fairs, Parades, Shopping Malls, Girls, inc., etc.
A demo can be a presentation or a mini-competition. If possible, let visitors drive your robot and get up close.
Off Season Events
Off season events are lower cost events put on by teams or other groups. These are a great way to compete in a lower-stress environment. Students can learn new roles and you can meet new teams and build good relationships. These are usually low cost, one day events.
Summer and Fall projects can cover several areas of learning and skill development
- Belt v. Chain Evaluation
- Long v. Short Chassis Designs
- Drive Designs
- Chassis Designs
- Kinect System Development
- CAD (AutoDesk, Pro-E, SolidWorks)
- Lab Safety
- Speech Writing
- Public Speaking
- Judge Materials
- Sponsorship Talks
- Machine Training
- Wiring Skills
A practice field is a great way to test your robot and learn the game.
If you can’t build a full field, then consider some of the options below.
- Partial Field with Driver Stations and Side Walls
- Key Field Elements
- Partial Field Elements
- Taped – Off areas in an open area of the school to simulate the field size
When making field elements, take special care to be accurate to replicate the official parts. Slight differences in measurements in key areas can make a significant difference in robot performance or scoring capability when you get to the competition sites.
Where possible, try to duplicate the field elements and field conditions for sizes, lighting and other special conditions.
Good Shop Practices
Good, safe practices can help reduce the risk of injury while working in your shop, making parts and at the competitions.
Here are a few good suggestions for in and around the shop
- Wear safety glasses at all times
- Wear closed toed shoes
- Be sure you have an understanding and knowledge of all tools you are using
- Don’t assume others know how to use tools – check with them and provide guideance if needed
- Organize your tools and materials to save time
- Know where the emergency power shut-offs are in your shop
- Turn off equipment that is not in use
- Cleap up the shop each night before leaving
- No horseplay or games in the shop or classrooms
- No loose clothing, hoodie ties, loose sleeves, long hair or jewelry around machines
It is a good practice to take breaks and perform “lessons learned” reviews to improve your overall team performance.
These reviews can be during the build season, after each competition, or at the end of the year. The goal is to capture information and continue to develop.
To perform a good lessons learned activity, have a leader who can ask questions and work to get answers. It is important to provide an honest assessment of the team performance, without attacking individuals or groups. Talk about what you did well, what could be better, how you can improve and what you want to continue to do. Try to group items in similar topics. Document what was discussed. If the activity is during the season, decide what actions can be worked on immediately to improve the team performance and which ones you will work on later.
Here is a link to a paper on Continuous Improvement for FIRST teams.
This is a process to follow for registering the students onto your team.
Go to the FIRST website
Under the Programs Tab click on First Robotics Competition, click on Cost and Registration. Under Quick Links click on Register. This will take you to the Dashboard. Select Complete Youth Member Registration. Once you have logged on complete the following 4 steps to complete your registration.
- Complete Youth User profile. Parents of youth will need to complete all required fields.
- Complete the School section, must be completed by parent of youth
- Apply to your FIRST Team(s). You will need to know the team number and FIRST program.
- Complete the Consent Form section– you are done!
Teaching New Students
FIRST is a continuing learning and education opportunity. Some of the key areas for new member training can include:
Safety – Safety is critical for all team members. Power tools, machines, electricity, energy storing divides, and 120 pound robots can be dangerous if not understood and used properly. Part of safety includes training on the equipment and its’ operation.
The FIRST safety video is updated with each game and can be found here.
Teaching your team history will help continue the legacy of your program
Machine training can include:
- Hand Tools
- Drills, Drill Press
- Hand Saws, Power Saws
What does it cost to participate? There are costs involved with forming a FIRSTRobotics Competition team and they can vary from team to team and region to region depending on what level of participation the team chooses.
To register a team (Must be 18):