TechBrickEducationLogoFull v01 01 300  Registration and Information

TechBrick Program Information for FTC: Please Read and Review

Your and your child’s success will be greatly enhanced by your familiarity with your program. You and your student(s) should review the materials below.

TechBrick Education: mid-size robotics

2020 Program Coordinator:  Dave Hairston (dhairston@techbrick.org)

The mid-sized robotics program is focused on providing students an opportunity to learn robotics principles within a small-team format.  Student spend the year working in teams to build robots in the 18-30” size, with both autonomous and remote operating functions. They will learn aspects of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, CAD, programming, teamwork, and presentation/public speaking skills. 

Students range in from 7th-12th grade. Enrollment is in the spring and summer. Coaching and mentoring are provided by parent volunteers, but the students run the program; parents provide the resources as needed.

Community outreach, and reach-back to sponsors are a key component of the program. Aside from learning robotics, Students will participate in a number of STEM outreach events, and encourage other students to participate in, or form their own teams.  

We are not just here to build robots; we are here to build a robotics community.

 

What to expect from the Techbrick Education mid-size robotics (e.g. “FTC”) program

Term

Months

Primary focus

Time Commitment

Spring Challenge

March-June

Internal Techbrick robotics challenge

1 meeting /week + occasional outreach

Summer Prep

June-Aug

Review skills (programing, engineering)

1 meeting /week + occasional outreach

FTC Build Season

Sept-Jan

Design & construction of FTC robots

2 meeting /week + occasional outreach

FTC Competition Season

Dec-March

Finalize designs, competitions, redesigns as necessary

2-3 meetings /week +

2-3 all-day competitions

Students meet 1 evening a week during the “off-season” periods. This is a time for learning, team building, preparation, community outreach, and fundraising. During the FIRST Tech Challenge season, meetings increase to twice a week, and often include additional work days near competition dates.

During the FTC season, students have the opportunity to participate at least two large scale competitions. More

(e.g. States, exhibitions, Worlds) may be possible depending on funding and team performance. These are allday events held on weekends during Dec-March.                

Student commitment

Students are expected to attend as much as possible. While there is no explicit attendance policy, all work is based on team goals. With small teams of 3-7, each member is a critical component, and the team can be inhibited by an absent student. This is particularly important during the end of Build and Competition seasons. The pace is much more leisurely the remainder of the year. Work often can be done at home and may not always require physically meeting every week.

A major component of the program is community outreach & reach-back to sponsors. As such, there is an expectation to participate in additional events which may include evenings or weekends. There is a direct correlation between the time invested by a student, and how much they get out of the program.

Parent commitment

This is a large program that relies on adult volunteers. While the students run the show, there are many roles needed to be filled in order to provide the resources necessary for students to succeed. These range from coaching to mentoring, to fundraising, or arranging logistics. Parents do NOT necessarily have to attend meetings; however, every participating student is required to also have a corresponding adult volunteer filling some role. Please note this does not have to be their parent; it can be a friend or a relative. Some roles are constant, while others are only occasional.

Frequently asked questions:

Q: What does it cost?

A: $250 for the year before Sept 1; $300 afterwards. Note: Scholarships are available if needed. The program is mostly covered by external sponsorships and fundraising.

Q: Is this a full-time activity?

A: YES! Consider this to be on par with marching band, Boy Scouts, sports teams, etc

Q: OMG, as a parent volunteer, I don’t know anything about robots! And I don’t have a ton of free time! What could I possibly have to contribute?

A: Don’t worry – most of us have NO background in robotics or engineering either! The kids will figure it out! Volunteers are needs for things like arranging outreach events, or fundraising (a big one!), driving, arranging food and water (teenager eat a lot!!), or helping find a new home for the program. A lot of parent jobs only take time at sporadic occasions that you can do at home.

Q: Do I have to attend all the meetings?

A: NO! Only coaches and mentors need to, and event they can miss them occasionally. Many parents do not stay, and do their part from home or elsewhere.

Q: How do I join? Where do I get more info?

A: Check out www.techbrick.com. Contact the lead coordinator, currently Dave Hairston, at wh21067@yahoo.com. We prefer you join us for a few meetings before registering, to ensure this is the right program for the student.

Q: Where do you meet?

A: We currently meet in Building 3556 at Aberdeen Proving Ground. However… we are actively seeking a new home, and are open to suggestions!

Q: Will you come do a demonstration at my STEM event?

A: YES! STEM outreach is a core component