We’re Always Working

March Break didn’t stop us! We worked hard updating our website, brainstorming robot ideas, and making team brochures.

After the break we have been working hard at school always searching for ways to improve our robot design, scouting database, game playing strategy, and communication.

We have a prototype of our chassis that we are experimenting with–our real robot is still in the bag.

We can’t disclose any of our fantastic ideas because we want them to be a complete and total surprise for GTR, but so far things look promising!

We’d also like to thank another local business for helping us out.  Jankins Computers donated several obsolete optical mice that we are planning to use as encoders.  The person working there was extremely helpful and friendly.

K-Botics Tips to Team Management at Competitions

Issue:  We often have too many people hanging around in the pit area, and our scouts often got confused about which robot they were scouting.

Solution:  Make buttons for people to wear!  Our plan includes buttons for Pit Scouts and Pit Crew.  Nobody will be allowed in the pit without these buttons.  We also have 6 scouting buttons, one for each robot being scouted that specifies if they are scouting the RIGHT, MIDDLE or LEFT robot in RED or BLUE.

Using a button maker can be lots of fun!

We also have more robot hats being worn around the school.

Our Chairman’s report presentation is getting better and better with each day of practice!

K-Botics Tips for Chairmans Presentation Preparation

  • Have three presenters to spread the workload out more, and to give more people experience making the presentation
  • As a group the three  students read through the complete Chairmans report with our mentors
  • The report topics are divided among the three presenters and each student writes a 1.5 minute speech about their material
  • The students gather as a group with several mentors to practice their speeches and refine who says what.
  • Brainstorming takes place about what pictures are needed to augment the presentation
  • Three poster boards are constructed with pictures related to each presenter’s topic
  • Each day, students practice and refine their speeches, presenting to different groups of students, in different locations (classrooms, halls etc) to get ready for different acoustics and room arrangements, and fielding questions from different people.
  • Students are timed, because 5 minutes total is a very short time once you get talking about what fantastic things your team is doing!
  • Students present to our entire team to help pit crew/drive team/scouts realize what our team is doing to make us special (besides the obvious “building a robot” that is happening daily)

K-Botics Tips for Talking to Judges

  1. Read the list of awards that are available, and create questions that judges might be inclined to ask about the robot and the team.
  2. Create a chart with questions and people who might be asked these questions (Pit Crew and Drive Team)
  3. Meet with the entire technical crew and discuss the importance of good communication, the awards available, and brainstorm about excellent ways to answer the judge’s questions.
  4. Practice asking questions to each of the technical crew.  This should start with mentors asking questions and progress to other teachers and visitors asking questions to allow the students more practice.
  5. Students should pair up when judges come to chat.  First years should find a second year to help them out because it can be a nerve-wracking experience to talk to judges, and it shows good teamwork for students to be helping each other out.

General tips:

  • speak clearly, and use full sentences
  • make eye contact with judges
  • smile and be enthusiastic
  • do not answer with a simple yes or no.  If possible, make answers longer by telling stories about the design process, and how decisions were made.
  • Incorporate information about the team whenever possible, to showcase teamwork and spirit and enthusiasm.

Here’s our list of general questions

  1. Does your robot go over the bumps?
  2. What makes your robot special?
  3. What sensors do you have on your robot?  How do they work?
  4. What can your robot do in autonomous mode?
  5. What makes your team special or spirited?
  6. How does your robot kick the ball?
  7. What was the design process used to arrive at this final robot?
  8. How was this robot constructed?
  9. How does your ball control mechanism work?
  10. Is your robot playing consistently?
  11. Are you an offensive/defensive/mid field robot?  Why?
  12. What is your game playing strategy?

We look forward to the next few weeks.  It is a really busy time, but also a really productive time.

Come by and visit if you are in the area!

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