We handle the logistics that make it possible for the team to participate in FIRST Tech Challenge competitions. In other words, we make sure the team has everything it needs to function at its best. We assist with grant writing and fund raising events, order parts and supplies, and handle all the paperwork necessary to function as a club on our campus. We also work with the other subteams to ensure that our engineering notebook is current and that every aspect of the development process is well-documented.
As the team develops and builds a robot throughout the season, new parts or materials must be purchased to replenish resources. And in order to upgrade the robot and it's capabilities, the team must take into account what materials need to be bought and what financial resources will support that. The purchasing committee logs and maintains a record of past and recent purchases, so that the team does not spend more than the budget it has been allocated and can sustain itself financially for the season.
Every year the engineering notebook is constructed and presented to a panelist of judges who rank and review the documented progress and process of participating teams. For Team 6282, the engineering notebook holds entries from any and all team meetings as well as photographic displays of the tasks being worked on. It is critical that the engineering notebook clearly and concisely communicates the process of any engineering activity, outreach event, or general matters of the team. This helps the engineering notebook stand out from others during judge panel reviews, become a source of reflection at the end of the season, as well as a source of inspiration for future seasons.
There are many events that happen outside of robotics competitions. In outreach, we plan and organize events with other robotic teams and local community groups. We reach out to incoming students and inform them about the different careers in software and how robotics is a great way to get into programming or engineering.
For this annual event, we run demos and speak with students and parents. We design and set up activity centers where very young students can drive and complete challenges with small robots. We also have a special display area where we showcase the FTC program and display our current competitive robot. Many parents, especially those who work in STEM fields, are very excited to discover that their young children have exciting opportunities to look forward to when they reach high school. We hope we are able to inspire these young minds to pursue creativity and innovation through robotics!
Our team developed our own student-designed, student-run annual robotics competition as a response to a donor's challenge: How could we get more kids in Simi Valley Unified School District interested in STEM? We decided to invite students from all the middle schools to compete in kid-friendly games suitable for beginners. A special FIRST Tech Challenge demo area helps us introduce our program to both students and the parents and families who come to watch. In the three years that we have hosted this super fun event, we have seen an increase in new FTC team members.
For the last few years, we have been guest speakers at Valley View’s Career Pathways Day. We talk about FIRST Tech Challenge and tell students about our experiences on the team, how we can help them pursue a career in robotics, and give a demo of our robot. Then we give them the opportunity to drive several types of robots. This event has been extremely effective in bringing incoming freshmen into our program.
On the behalf of the Software and Systems Development Pathway at Simi Valley High School, Team 6282 showcased our robot in action at our annual Open House. In attendance were current and prospective students of Simi High, as well as school board members and other local stakeholders who got to see several mock rounds of competition. The attendees also got to hear about the value of STEM education and how FIRST Tech Challenge can help build a foundation for STEM careers. The primary goal was to encourage future students to explore the world of robotics, whether it be in a pathways course or by joining our FTC team.
Our team had the opportunity to present our FTC program to the Rotary Club. After our presentation, we ran our competitive robot through a demonstration, which was the highlight of the event. It was great for team members to finally get the chance to thank members of the club who have funded our team over the years and have helped to inspire us to pursue robotics. Present at the Rotary Club were members of the local business community, many of whom work in manufacturing and aerospace industries.
Team 6282 largely relies on the financial contributions of sponsors in STEM-related fields to cover our registration and competition fees, parts, materials, and tools. Team 6282 would not be where it is today without the financial support it receives from these awesome sponsors: