In April 2015 my son's FIRST Robotics team competed at the Lone Star Regional in Houston, Texas. This was their third and last regional. It was the only regional I attended.
The team had decided to change the robot to add arms for the autonomous portion which would fly forward and grab two cans and pull them back and away from the opponent. These cans are necessary to use for stacking to get higher points to propel a team toward a higher score that may win. This was a kind of practice weekend as these new things were being practiced and tested and modified in order to use them at World Champs later in April. It was odd being at a regional and knowing you were not really trying to win. Also it did not feel good to not win.
A new project this year that my son helped work on was the use of two monitors to show video of the team's work which was stationed at their workstation in the pit.
Also new this year were these two banners which my son helped design and compose highlighting the team's accomplishments. These were used in the Chairman's Award oral presentation and kept in the pit for display purposes. Double click to enlarge to read about what the team did.
Testing the arms while the team looked on. Discussing the issues.
Testing and retesting.
I find it hard to put into words how fantastic FIRST Robotics can be. I know not all teams are highly functioning or healthy but my son's team is just amazing. The amount of autonomy this team works with is great. This is a team full of leaders and they are just good kids in general. Between January 1 and the end of April my son put in 35 hours a week, five sessions a week on work for the team. This team meets year round. I am so grateful that this team allows homeschoolers to join. I feel that the flexibility of homeschooling and the lower homework load allowed my son to have enough time to do this activity.