2016 Juggernaut's Chairman's Submission

Executive Summaries:

1. Impact on Team Members Team #1’s FIRST program seriously impacts students, here is a quote from a senior student, “I joined Team #1’s FIRST program in 2011, and it changed my life. Before, I was a barely passing student, with no plans for the future, and poor social skills. Over the past 5 years, Team #1 has inspired me to organized subgroups, presentations, become a 4.0 GPA student, and a team captain. This is how Team #1 has impacted my life, and there are dozens of similar stories from alumni and current students.”

2. Impact on Community: Team #1 has a serious impact on its community. We have organized a county wide mini-robot competition these past 3 years. For the last 5 years, we organized and ran 4 Family Engineering Nights each year. Where we invite middle and elementary school students from our county. We collaborate with other FIRST teams to run a county wide robotics association. We organize road shows to major STEM events, schools, and businesses.

3. Innovative Methods to Spread FIRST Team #1 spreads FIRST’s message through our 3-step strategy. Step 1, develop fun, hands on activities. Step 2, engage students with these activities. Step 3, provide access to the tools necessary for students to pursue active learning strategies and allow them the time to explore science and technology for themselves. We are constantly developing this strategy through the design process, but this is its current form.

4. Role Model Characteristics: Our team members act as role models for other teams. We strive to avoid doing anything we would not want our grandmothers to see. In addition, Team #1 encourages social interaction between our team members and others at FRC and other venues. It takes either courage or a helping hand to plunge into social interaction, and we watch out for those who could use a helping hand.

5. Starting FRC Teams: Team #1 directly mentors 2 mini-robot teams, and 2 FTC teams. We applied for funding to purchase 12 mini-robot kits, which we distributed to 12 middle schools in Oakland County for them to start their own robotics programs. For the past 3 years, we have organized and run a middle school mini-robot competition each year to help these programs develop and prepare for future larger competitions such as FTC.

6. Assist Other Teams: Team #1 in collaboration with 15 other FRC teams began the Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association to improve the programs of FRC teams in our county. We have organized a middle school mini-robot competitions to help support middle schools teams. We applied for funding to purchase 12 mini-robot kits, which we distribute to 12 middle schools in Oakland County for them to start their own robotics programs. We developed a strategy through the design process to help improve our outreach.

7. Mentor Other Teams: Team #1 in collaboration with 15 other FRC teams began the Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association to improve the programs of FRC teams in our county. This association is a challenge during the fall semester which is preparation for FRC as spring training is to football teams. Additionally for the past 3 years, we have organized a middle school mini-robot competition each year to help middle schools in Oakland County prepare for larger competitions such as FTC.

8. Corporate/University Sponsors: Our team sponsors are FCA Foundation, Hirotec America, Dürr Systems, and Molex. To thank our sponsors, we perform “road shows” where we give free robot driver training at our sponsors company events. This gives an opportunity for students to improve their communication skills while thanking our corporate sponsors. Team #1 also organizes four, 3 week, engineering camps in collaboration with Oakland University.

9. Strength of Partnership: All of our sponsors trust us to provide a strong presentation of our program at company events. Many of our alumni have been offered and have taken internships with some of our sponsors. Some of our corporate sponsors allow us to borrow expensive precision tools to assist in robot construction.

10. Explain FIRST: FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a program dedicated to students of all ages. FIRST programs inspire students through fun activities to expand their knowledge of the world and how it works. This worldwide competition has successfully impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of students worldwide. These inspired student make up a portion of future engineers and problem solvers who will change the world.

11. Other Considerations: We mentor FTC teams, we organize tournaments, run STEM programs, mentor camps, coach mini-robot teams, and we collaborate with other FIRST teams to run a robotics association. Team #1 does a notable amount of outreach because we enjoy working with others. In 2003, we combined our team with another FRC team because their school could not afford to support their program for a year. We did this because we want more people to learn and grow through the FIRST experience.

12. Impact from Inception Essay: A Juggernaut is a slow unstoppable force. For the nearly 20 years, the goal of the Juggernauts has been to inspire and build a recognition of science and technology in today’s youth. We have progressed slowly towards this goal through impacting 1000s of people through organized events, and collaborations with other groups. Despite this slow pace, we are an unstoppable force and will keep spreading the message of FIRST until some inconceivable thing can stop an unstoppable force.

Main Essay: Team #1, the Juggernauts, represent Oakland Schools and our corporate sponsors FCA Foundation, Hirotec America, Dürr Systems, and Molex. The Juggernauts have participated in FIRST since 1997. For the nearly 20 years, the goal of the Juggernauts has been to inspire and build a recognition of science and technology in today’s youth. Oakland Schools Technical Campus Northeast (OSTC-NE) provides practical career and technical education to high school students from Oakland County’s 28 public school districts, private learning institutions and alternative educational programs. Our campus’s engineering program teaches students all aspects of engineering and manufacturing. Our FIRST program provides an opportunity for students to further pursue their interest in engineering. Our program gives them a practical application in which they can utilize their design and fabrication skills. The team is not just an opportunity for students from our school, but also is an after-school Competitive Engineering enrichment course which is open to anyone.

Over the past 20 years of Team #1’s history, we have found difficulty effectively developing a recognition of science and technology in youth. We found that organizing engineering evening activities for youth only improves awareness towards STEM rather than instilling a true appreciation for the subjects. To improve our system we began by defining the problem. How does a team spread the message of FIRST? Through careful review of the projects of past Chairman Winners and Team #1, we began asking “Why did you join a robotics team?” The most common answer was “I wanted to build robots.” Students are inspired to spend their free time pursuing a topic of science and technology, building robots, because they are interested in building robots. We figured that students want to build robots because robot construction seems fun and these students continue with these programs because they find them fun. What about robotics is fun? Team #1 surmised that hands on activities are engaging and fun. Therefore, we concluded that the method to inspire students to pursue science and technology through active learning methods is to engage students in fun, hands on activities. With these findings, we brainstormed a plan. To spread the message of FIRST, we planned to use a 3 step strategy. Step 1, develop fun, hands on activities. Step 2, engage students with these activities. Step 3, we provide access to the tools necessary for students to pursue active learning strategies and allow them the time to explore science and technology for themselves.

Over the past two years, Team #1 has been mentoring 30 middle school students from 2 mini robot teams (team 6623 and team 6623C). Following our 3 step strategy, Team #1 gathered interactive challenges involving the design process. Then, we worked alongside the middle school students engaging them through these fun, hands on activities. One of these challenges was a paper airplane game, where the students had to construct an adaptable paper airplane using limited materials with a one hour time constraint. We assisted with defining the problem, illustrating research methods, and providing troubleshooting feedback. Students were able to relate the airplane building process to building their own robots for the min robot competition. Over the course of these past 2 competition seasons, we repeated the process on other relevant topics such as discussions on compression and elasticity for firing a ball with flywheels, or center of gravity and its significance to chassis organization. This process has led to the students, themselves, engaging in active learning methods and continuing into competitive success. These teams both became finalists at one of their last practice tournaments, and one of them won the other practice tournament. Among the 2 teams, they were awarded 2 design awards and a programming excellence award. The Juggernauts enjoyed mentoring these mini robotics teams so much, that we began mentoring 2 FTC teams as well.

Again for these FTC teams (teams 5281-15, and 9817-15) we focused on our, inspiring active learning through hands on fun activities involving the design process, computer science concepts, and fabrication techniques. The 30 students split between these 2 teams competed at 2 qualifiers. One team seeded 1st, then proceeded to the state championship where they qualified for Super Regionals. The middle school programs were a huge success, and we plan to continue improving them further.

Three years ago we applied to our county, Oakland County, for funding to purchase 12 mini robot kits, which we distributed to 12 middle schools across Oakland County so these schools could start their own middle school robotics teams. To lead these teams into larger competitions such as FTC, Team #1 ran a practice middle school VEX tournament which included these 12 teams but also other teams from across the county. We have continued running this tournament every year since. The event has grown to have 24 teams participate. Team #1 manages field set-up, judging, a trouble-shooting station, and a parts supplying station.

On four nights of the year, Team #1 facilitate an evening engineering program for the entire family called Family Engineering Nights (FEN). The FEN introduce the possibility of pursuing STEM careers to elementary school and middle school students and their families. Each FEN invites students and their parents from all over Oakland County to one of the 4 Technical Campuses. Team #1 separates the attendees into groups, where each group works through a collection of fun, hands-on STEM activities. We also introduce the students to opportunities for those interested in pursuing STEM further. Each event gathers over 100 attendees and over the past 3 years we have reached over 1200 people inspiring them to either pursue futures in STEM or participate in STEM programs.

To support high school students outside our team, Team #1 looked toward other FRC team. 15 years ago we communicated with other FIRST teams about how we could improve the educational experience of robotics teams and offer opportunities for students with extra-curricular obligations during the winter semester. This collaboration developed into a competitive countywide robotics association during the fall semester. Within this association, called the Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association (OCCRA), students construct sizable robots to solve challenges with little mentor participation. Mentors are only allowed to evaluate on student robot designs or strategies for 1 hour a week during the construction season. This process engages students in active learning. They must use their knowledge or what they can learn about the design process and other engineering principles to construct a functional robot that solves the problem. This program helps students improve their knowledge of STEM concepts and build leadership skills. This collaboration of FIRST teams has successfully provided a fun, hands on challenge where students engage in active learning and build a recognition of science and technology for the past 15 years.

To utilize our 3 step process further, Team #1 over the past three 3 years has collaborated with Oakland University (OU) to run four, 3 week summer camps each year. Middle and high school students spend the 1st week at one of the four Technical Campuses to receive an introduction through fun, hands-on activities to computer design, the engineering process, and fluid power. During 2nd week, OU familiarizes students with STEM fields, electronic circuits, and computer science. After the first 2 weeks, students are invited to participate in a capstone project. They come to our campus OSTC-NE to take part in a 4-day robot building challenge. These students split into teams and over the course of 4 days, each team actively learns while building a 120 lb FIRST style robot to compete in a FIRST-style game. Juggernauts help mentor these teams assisting with gathering tools, ensuring safe building practices, and as team cheerleaders, but outside of that, the teams are on their own. Over the past 3 years, almost every team has succeeded in these challenges.

Team #1 has determined through feedback from surveys that we are succeeding in inspiring students to engage in the active learning process and as a result are building a foundation of science and technology. This is how we spread the message of FIRST through our team and all of our outreach programs. Our motto is that “Winners are ordinary people with Extraordinary Determination”, and we are extraordinarily determined to improve our system and continue to inspire students to build a recognition and science and technology.