Follow our latest adventures!
From outreaches to shop days to networking events and beyond, there is never a dull day on our team!
We greeted campers in the morning, just like everyday. We started out by continuing the list of tasks to be programmed into the robots. Some of the ones completed today included...SENSORS!
The campers were so excited to finally use the sensors and their use of each one was impressive. One of the tasks to be completed using the touch sensor, for example, was to have the bot back up while the sensor is being pressed and stop as soon as it is released. My personal favorite (this is Annie here) was the ultrasonic sensor. As shown on our instagram, the kids were able to program the bots so that they will never run into anything when they used the ultrasonic sensors.
We then ventured over the 5181's shop to check out their Stronghold robot and the shop they build and work in. It was really neat to be able to see someone else's (basically) home.
On our way back from the shop (it's across their campus from where the camp is held) we got caught in torrential downpours and while some of us were making ponchos out of trash bags and umbrellas out of plastic tablecloths (really, robotics shops have everything!), others were embracing the rain and soaked up every last drop. Kate and I decided it would be a good idea to race each other across campus. That is until we ended up walking around the rest of the day in soppy shoes and socks.
Then we found out the challenge for tomorrow:
With a partner, have your bots pick up a marker and write out "LA SALLE".
I'll leave you with that and update you tomorrow on how the challenge goes!
(This is being written from the point of view of a Firebird)
Today started off bright and early at 9am, per usual. The camp we are doing this week is an Introduction to Lego Robotics with LaSalle Robotics 5181. The course is done through Lego Mindstorms and every day consists of different challenges and tasks that must be completed.
We greeted the campers and got to pair up with a camper. Each of us got to work 1:1 with our partner and helped them with whatever they needed. Some of the tasks they were to complete individual included programming their robot to move in a figure eight motion, or having it play a song, but only while it’s moving. The kids have been having a blast getting to work on all of this and all of us are having a fabulous time helping them.
The challenge today was to program a song and dance for their robots. Each of them were given 20 minutes and collaboration between themselves was allowed, but not with any of the high schoolers or mentors. While they all worked intensely on their routine, all of the high school ‘counselors’ got to just hang out and have a snack break. We all grabbed some paper, and the dance-off began. We rated each dance routine and the competitiveness boosted everyone’s interest in the challenge. After all the dances were done, we all got back with our partners to continue working through the list of tasks to be completed throughout the week. By the end of the day we all found out the winner of the competition and were told a hint at tomorrow’s.
Can’t wait for another fabulous day with all of our friends!
(Firebird girl here, not the robot)
Today we had the opportunity to walk drive our robot in the Whitemarsh 4th of July Parade! We took Firefly (robot from Aeriel Assist) and got to show off how cool robotics is! So many people were amazed and we had an absolute blast!!!
We started the day by packing up all we needed and heading over to the parade. We sat in the back of the car and the robot got go wherever he pleased while parading. We decorated him in American flags and had a whole lot of fun handing out candy to kids and playing ball with Firefly. All the kids we saw were amazed and we even got a couple barks from the attending dogs.
After strutting around town, Firefly was a bit tired so we settled down in the tent and showed everyone how the robot worked and gave kids the chance to have a hands-on experience with him. Not only was shooting and throwing the ball fun, but they were so interested in the technology behind it!
We're so glad we were able to present STEM in such a fun and exciting way today!
esterday I was lucky enough to have been able to go to WICT (Women in Cable Telecommunications) Tech it Out event with a few of the girls. We were able to experience some crazy Virtual Reality things such as the cave at Villanova and VR goggles. My favorite part, though, was showing off my skills to people who have never seen anyone like me.
We were able to see all our friends from Comcast and Arris as well as make a whole bunch of new friends. The girls and I introduced so many new people to FIRST and everyone was blown away by how much we learn and the fun we have.
While the girls were showing me off, they were able to drive me like they never had before. I had so much fun and when I saw all the people passing by recording and taking pictures of me, I realized just how impressive I am and how lucky I am to be able to represent how much fun STEM can be.
We got to listen to some talks on Virtual Reality and the girls even got to try some different heads sets on and bring their own Google Cardboards home with them. I didn't get to see the VR but watching the girls experience it for the first time was crazy! They were able to walk around the cave at Villanova and what the girls got to do was amazing! They had their own goggles on and could walk around the room they were virtually in and at times could even pick things in the room up and move them!
Lastly, we got to listen to a panel called 'She Came, She STEMed, She Conquered'. I loved this so much because the girls got to hear from people to whom they could relate and got advice from people doing what what they want to do. The girls on and running the panel were so great to listen to and really gave the girls some good insight.
Where do I begin? This week has been more than I could have ever imagined. I'm so beyond thankful that I was able to spend it with my team and all of my new FIRST friends.
Traveling in the crate was really crazy. I just sat there with all of the tools for what felt like a really long time. While I was there, I dreamed about what the World Championship would be like. Meanwhile, the girls were back at home getting ready. They made a ton of buttons and bows, packed their suitcases, had meetings, and prepared themselves. They gradually got more and more excited for the big adventure.
Bright and early Wednesday morning, a small group of mentors and girls went to the airport to meet me in Saint Louis. Only a few of my team members would be allowed in the pit on Wednesday, so this small group needed to do all of the set up, registration, and preparation on their own. They checked in, went through security, ate some breakfast, and waited at the gate. They were so excited to find out that they were on the same flight as our friends from MOE 365 and Miss Daisy 341! Around this same time, the rest of the girls were arriving at school. They had to go to their first 3 classes before they could leave for their flight with the rest of the mentors and parents. As soon as the first group landed, they headed over to the hotel. They relaxed in the lobby for a while and got lunch until it was time to go to the dome. Meanwhile, the rest of the girls were arriving at the airport and checking in. While they waited near the gate, they had a lot of fun talking about how thrilling the week would be. At the dome, the girls and mentors started by checking in. Everyone received name badges! Even better, FIRST Mid Atlantic gave all of our team members and mentors ribbons for the badges! When the girls walked into the pit area, they saw my crate immediately! Our pit was located right by the pit entrance! They immediately opened up the crate and unloaded everything. When I saw them, I was so happy! I looked around and saw so many pits and robots. This place was crazy! Immediately, they hung up the lights and banner, organized the tools, and got me ready. By this point, I was pretty used to how the first day routine goes so I wasn't worried. They did some quick work on my bumpers and got me inspected. They even chatted with a few teams! Then, it was time to head back to the hotel and pick up the second group of girls and mentors. A few people went out to dinner while the rest of the girls got settled in their rooms. Everyone got to bed early because they knew that it was going to be a long and thrilling week.
Thursday morning, the girls woke up, got ready, ate breakfast, and loaded up in the team vans early so they could be ready when the competition day began. When the rest of the girls saw the dome for the first time, they were amazed. They walked straight to the pit to see me. From there, some girls went to the stands to cheer during the matches. Other girls took me to the field to get connected. The walk to the field was much longer than at district competitions. We walked past all of the pits, which was nice because it gave me the chance to see other team and robots. There were teams from EVERYWHERE! Everyone was so nice, and it was such a positive atmosphere! The girls loved getting to meet them all. To get into the queue, the drivers had to show their badges and go into the dome. We travelled through many tunnels and paths until finally, we got to Tesla field where I would be playing. Right after that, I had my first match. I was a bit nervous. Even though I've driven in plenty of matches before, this time was different. The room was huge. So many people were watching. My team placed me on the field and I got ready. I crossed the rock wall I auto, and it was a great way to start my day. At the end of the match, the girls picked me up and brought me back to the pit. I had 4 more matches that day, and they all were very fun! I got to interact with some really cool robots. I played defense, scaled, shot boulders, and crossed defenses. I tried some new strategies that I hadn't tried before. During lunch, the girls walked over to the Innovation Faire and College Row. The younger girls had the opportunity to talk to various universities that they might want to attend. Everyone was able to check out some super cool companies and organizations. Some girls even rode an Air Force simulator! The girls also went to the practice field a few times to practice autonomous. Believe it or not, some of the girls actually met Dean Kamen! After a long day of matches, the girls headed back to the hotel to get ready for Roboprom! It is a dance that one of the teams hosts, and the girls were really looking forward to it. They all put on their dresses and got ready. Before the dance, they ate Chinese food together for dinner. Then, they took pictures together. Because the seniors were missing their prom to be on the trip, the younger girls made them duct tape flower bouquets. At Roboprom, the girls had a lot of fun singing and dancing. At the end of the night, they were exhausted. They went to the hotel and went to bed, excited for the next day.
Friday was a great day! The girls headed out nice and early, ready for another day of matches and fun. Every match, the girls were determined to go out there and do the best they could. They played strong defense when they needed to. They shot a ton of boulders. They consistently scaled. They worked well with their alliance partners. Another group of girls met Woodie Flowers that day! The girls also got to meet one of my robot friends - Paquito from Panteras 2283. He is an outreach robot, and he is so fun! The Panteras even gave our team a small stuffed pantera as a gift! We have talked to them so much on social media, so meeting them in person was amazing! During lunch, the girls had a long break. After they are, they went back to the pit and relaxed. Some girls rested. Others played Mario Kart with our friends from the team next to our pit, Simple Machines 423. In one of the matches, all of the seniors were on the drive team together. Hannah and Eliza are always on drive team, but Joanie got to join them as the second driver. I had so much fun being on the field with her! Finally, the time came for me to drive in what would be my final match of the season. It was a sad time, but it was also a celebration of all that my team accomplished this season. The girls went to the field and had the best match of their entire season. It was a great way to go out. I did everything I could possibly do in one match - had a successful autonomous program, played defense, crossed defenses, scored, and scaled. We won, and we had a blast doing it! It was so thrilling! Afterwards, I was reweighed by the inspectors. Then, the team went back to the hotel to clean up. They did some team bonding before they went out to dinner. During bonding, the seniors showed their appreciation for the other girls and everything that they have done for them. At dinner, the team celebrated Eliza's birthday with cake! It was a really fun night full of pasta, jokes, and team stories.
Saturday was the final day of competition. The girls sent Hannah and Eliza to the field first thing for awards and alliance selections. It was really fun to cheer on all of the amazing teams who won awards! Seeing which teams were selected for alliances was also really interesting. All of the alliances were careful to choose robots who would compliment their own skills. My team was not selected, but it was ok. They had a lot of fun anyway! They went to pack up the pit, including me. I went in the crate and got comfortable for my long trip home. The girls had fun with the mentors (one even rode around on the cart!), danced in the stands, cheered on other robots, and talked to some of their FIRST friends! Then, the team went bowling with their friends from Cyber-Crusaders 272 and Simple Machines 423. That was a really fun adventure! They ate lunch there, too. After they were finished, they walked back to the dome to watch the Einstein matches. Those were amazing! The robots all worked together and accomplished some really cool tasks. The girls cheered really loudly from the stands Will.i.am was even there! Let's just say what happens in Saint Louis, stays in Saint Louis (#tsimfd). Once the winner was declared, things got crazy. Giant white balls with lights were bouncing all around the stands. The finale party was about to begin. Dean, Woodie, and many other friends of FIRST gave speeches. After that, the party could begin! Stikyard played drums and got the evening started! They had drums on bicycles, huge drums, and bucket drums. Then, the Jesse White Tumblers performed! They jumped, flipped, cartwheeled, and did many amazing tricks! Finally, Eclipse danced behind a screen to create art with their shadows. Their performance was stunning. The girls were ready to go back to the hotel after that. There, they packed up and went to bed in the hotel for the final time.
Sunday morning, the girls and mentors left in groups for their various flights. Everyone was bummed that the trip was over. It was such an amazing way to end the season. Luckily for me, once I get out of this crate, I will not have to sit in that bag anymore! I'm sure my team and I will have many more adventures before the end of the school year. As always, you will be able to see what we are up to here on the blog and on all of the team's social media sites. On behalf of the team, I would like to thank all of you for following me on my journey. When I first came into existence back in January, I had no idea where this season would take me. Little did I know, I would be at the World Championship. This has been the best season a robot could ever ask for.
P.S. I have attached the team's daily vlog entries from Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday below. The competition round up video is coming soon!
Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I'll tell you how I became the bot of a team called Firebirds
In the Firebird shop built and raised
On the table was where I spent most of my days
Chillin' out buildin' codin' all cool
And all shooting some boulders after school
When a couple of bots who were ranked up on top
Started earning spots to the Championship
I got a spot off the list and my team said yes
They said 'You're movin’ to the Champs in Saint Louis'
I cheered and planned with them day after day
And they packed my tool case and sent me on my way
They gave me a kiss and then they gave me my ticket.
I got in my crate and said, 'I might as well kick it’.
FedEx, yo this is cool
Sitting in my crate with boxes of tools.
Is this what the people of STL living like?
Hmm this might be alright.
But wait I hear they're scaling, scoring, all that
Is this the type of place that they just send this cool cat?
I don't think so
I'll see when I get there
I hope they're prepared for the bot of the ‘birds
Well, the crate landed and when I came out
There was a girl who looked like a friend standing there with my name out
I ain't trying to get inspected yet
I just got here
I sprang with the quickness like lightning, drove away
I whistled for my team and when they came near
The cart said 433 and it had a handle to steer
If anything I could say that this cart was sweet
And I thought ‘Let’s get on it' - 'Yo, home to my pit’
I pulled up to the pit about 7 or 8
And I yelled to the mentors 'Yo team see ya later'
I looked at my kingdom
I was finally there
To sit on my throne as the bot of ‘birds
P.S. These are the types of things I come up with when I am stuck in a crate all day. Can't wait until I get to Saint Louis!
I’m sitting here in my crate, waiting for FedEx to pick me up. In the meantime, I will tell all of you about my day and how exactly I got here.
After school, the girls got to work. They knew that the crate had to be ready by the end of the day today, so they didn’t let a single minute go to waste. Some girls started constructing the battery box while others began carrying the bins and supplies up to the crate. Then, they rolled me up to the crate and put me on my cart inside. They made sure I was nice and comfortable, because I will be in here for over a week! Then, they carefully placed the various bins and items around me. It was like a giant puzzle! They tied me in with my crate and built a shelf for bins above me, Some girls took the time to paint the two new sides of the crate blue. When everything was finished, they said goodbye, sealed up the crate, and put on the labels.
I’m kind of upset that I won’t be seeing my team for a while… I can’t believe that the next time I see them, I’ll be in Saint Louis!!!!
The past two days have been very busy for my team! Yesterday, some girls went to Lehigh University to watch the FIRST Mid Atlantic District Championship. They got to have lots of fun, see all of their friends from other teams, and watch some really cool matches! It was a very exciting day! Congratulations to all of the teams who did such a wonderful job at the competition!
Today, the girls came in to begin the process of getting ready for Saint Louis. While we don’t know quite yet when I will need to leave in the crate, the girls know that they do not have much time to get everything ready. They started off the day by making buttons and bows together. Most of the buttons and bows that they made in the beginning of the season were used up at districts, so they needed to make a bunch in time for Saint Louis. They worked on an assembly line. Some girls cut strips of tape, others folded the bows, some cut out button designs, others made the buttons with the machine. In the blink of an eye, they had already made a ton of buttons and bows! They will keep working hard until they leave for Saint Louis, but this was a great start! At the same time, some girls went over to our friends from E=McD to get our crate back since they borrowed it last year. When the crate was unloaded, the girls looked at the pieces and decided that some panels needed to be replaced because they were becoming old and weak. A shopping list was made and new materials were purchased. The team carefully replicated the sides of the crate and assembled it. Next, a major question had to be answered. How will everything get to Saint Louis? Usually, the team drives the materials in a van, but the drive is too long for this trip. The team considered building a second crate or sharing a vehicle with another team. However, in the end, they decided that they could fit everything in my crate if they were efficient with space. They carefully planned out what needed to come and where it would be placed. Then, they began to assemble the crate and laid out everything. One girl even got on top of the crate to fasten it down. It looks like everything will fit!
Tomorrow, the girls will get everything together so that the crate can ship out as soon as it can! I can’t wait to travel to Saint Louis! I wonder what I will do when I am in that crate for a week…..
P.S. Starting tomorrow, the Firebirds want you to join us in our first ever Fly With Us Week! It's the week before the World Championship, so help us to spread the sparks! All season, we have been tweeting using our daily hashtags, and now it's your turn! Just tweet @firebirds433 with the daily hastag! Be creative! We can't wait to see what you share!
4/18 #mentormonday - show some love and appreciation for your team's mentors!
4/19 #treattuesday - what keeps your team fueled?
4/20 #wisdomwednesday - share some inspirational words with us!
4/21 #throwback thursday - travel back into your team's history and tweet a little blast from the past!
4/22 #firebirdfriday - we want to hear some of your favorite memories with the Firebirds!
4/23 #shopsaturday - take a picture wherever your team is and share it!
4/24 #selfiesunday - send in your craziest team selfie!
Some people say that on the most important days of your life, you can feel that something good is going to happen when you wake up. Today was one of those days. For the past few days, I have been sitting in my bag in the shop. I’ve been pretty bummed out. The girls have visited me a few times, but it just hasn’t been the same. While the girls were so thankful for three fabulous district competitions, the season just didn’t quite feel over yet. They weren’t ready to let go of this year. Neither was I. I heard about this super cool thing called the World Championship. It will be taking place in Saint Louis in less than two weeks. Robots and teams from all over the world will be getting together. It sounded like the party of the century, and I was so sad that I was not going to be there.
Flash forward to today. I was sitting in the basement when I heard about the big news. My team was selected off of the wait list to go to the World Championship!!! I could not believe it!!! The girls were so happy when they found out. Saint Louis is going to be a huge adventure for my team. The girls struggled to contain their excitement all day. Immediately, they began planning for the next week and a half. There is a lot to get done. Everything needs to be packed up for the big trip. I’m going to be traveling in a crate for over a week! Lots of buttons and bows need to be made for everyone in Saint Louis. After school, the girls dashed into the shop. Flights were booked, spreadsheets were made, an plans were developed. Of course, the girls ate lots of sweets and snacks to celebrate!
I cannot believe that I am going to have more chances to do what I love. I'm going to get to hang out with my team, meet other robots, cross defenses, hang, shoot, play defense, and have fun!
The next week and a half is going to fly by. Every minute, new developments are made. I know that my team is going to be working so hard to get all of the details together. More importantly, I know that this is going to be the trip of a lifetime!!!!!!
Every competition that I go to is better than the last! This weekend, my team and I went to the Montgomery district competition. Calling this weekend amazing would be a huge understatement!
The girls started packing on Thursday and finished on Friday. The drive to Montgomery was the longest yet, so the girls tried to get ready as quickly as possible after school. They piled into the cars and drove away, excited to see what the weekend had in store! Each car had fun singing, chatting, and joking around. The beginning of the evening was the same as usual. Everything was unloaded and set up. I got inspected, the girls found a spot in the stands, and everyone got acclimated to the competition. In between, the girls played FIRST trivia with each other, danced around, and laughed a lot. I wasn’t there for dinner, but the girls told me all about their adventures. They had pizza and birthday cake. Most of the cake was eaten, but some wound up on people’s faces. I’m just glad that I didn’t get any cake on me! After all of that, the girls brought me to the field to practice. My first two practice matches went pretty well! When they set me up for my third, something unexpected happened. The fire alarm went off, and the girls had to leave me. Don’t worry, everything was ok. I waited patiently inside while the girls waited outside. Eventually, they came back in and got ready to drive me. After that match, it was time to go home.
Saturday morning, the girls arrived, ready to get started! They got the robot ready, spoke to some judges, planned the scouting, and discussed strategy. At this competition, I saw a lot of robots that I had never seen before. We all worked together during each of my matches to achieve our goals. Sometimes, I would need to play defense. Other times, I would need to breach many defenses. For some matches, my focus was on scoring boulders. Because I never scaled at my first two competitions, my team really wanted to get my mechanism to work. Before one of my matches, they practiced multiple times. Then, the coolest thing ever happened! I scaled on the field! It took a lot of precision. I had to drive to the correct spot, my tape measure had to go out at the correct speed, and everything had to line up correctly. Luckily, it all worked out. My team screamed so loudly when it happened! I held onto the bar until my team came and lifted me off. I continued to work hard in all of my matches for the rest of the day. It was a very long day for my team, and they needed to go home and rest up.
Sunday was a fresh start. The girls were prepared to work hard every match. I continued to scale in some of my final qualification matches. By the time alliance selections arrived, my team knew that we had done the best we could. The team waited patiently in the stands to see if they would be chosen. Then, the 8th alliance captain, the Iron Mechs 5684, called our team name! The girls went crazy! After that, they waited with anticipation to see who the final member of the alliance would be. The alliance chose our friends from the Cybersonics 103, to join us! Immediately, the team began strategizing. The alliance went out the field with a plan to try and stop the other robots. Together, our alliance would breach, score, defend, and scale. Unfortunately, our team did not move on, but the alliance did an amazing job together! For the rest of the day, the girls danced, cheered, and sang in the stands together. They had so much fun! At the end of the day, the team was given the Creativity Award for their innovative designs and ideas. Everyone was so thrilled!
I’ve had an amazing year so far with my team. I know that no matter what happens, I’m the luckiest robot in the world because I have these girls. I’ll let you all know where our adventures lead us in the upcoming days and weeks!
P.S. Don’t worry! Annie’s competition video is coming soon. She’s working hard to make it the best it can be!