July 27, 2017

7.27.17 New Team Eblast

7.27.17 - New Team Eblast

Hello Teams!

Welcome to FIRST in Michigan (FiM) Middle School FTC. This note is being sent to all 2017-2018 rookie teams and those who've started the new team registration process. I know teams are in different places in their season registration so some of this info might seem redundant. I appreciate your patience in slogging through to the end!

*If you are a veteran team that inadvertently registered as a rookie, please let me know so that I can have the "2017" team number removed. Veteran teams retain their team numbers (and reusable kit of parts) from year to year.  

I'm sure you've noticed that FIRST in Michigan’s progression of programs differs from FIRST national. Instead of focusing on the grade, our programs follow the school level:, elementary (early and late), middle school and high school.  The beauty of our progression is that it enables students to seamlessly build on their skills from one level to the next.  We have no overlap between programs so teams at our competitions are all in the same age range. This significantly levels the competition playing field. In Michigan, FTC teams must be comprised solely of middle school grade/aged students.

Kindergarten-Grade 3:   FIRST LEGO League Jr. only
Late Elementary:           FIRST LEGO League only
Middle School:              FIRST Tech Challenge only
High School:                 FIRST Robotics Competition only


Teams must be in the proper program to compete in Michigan. In addition, significant grants from the state, and FIRST in Michigan sponsors are available only to properly aligned teams that are from public or private schools, or 501c3 organizations (Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H etc) . The grants provide kits, registration fees, and even coach stipends. As a rule of thumb, middle school grades are as determined by your school district or the district in your area. If 6th grade is a middle school grade in your school/district, then 6th grade students would participate in FTC. 

An often asked question is the appropriateness of the program for 6th grade students. We currently have many 6th graders on middle school FTC teams; a mixed age team works best as the older students can help bridge the knowledge gap of the younger ones. Plus, it's a great sustainability plan for the team as you aren't always repopulating a whole team year to year.  It is the call of the parent/coach as to the readiness of a particular student for FTC. 

We have grants available that will completely cover the newly formed middle school FTC team's 2017-18 season registration fee ($275) and initial kit of parts purchase (about $1,025). The FTC Kit of Parts is reusable year to year.

FTC team size is capped at 15 team members. Multiple teams out of a given school/organization are welcome and eligible for grants (MDE coach stipend is the exception). 

$1,300     FIRST in Michigan FTC Rookie Team Grant (works with FIRST FTC national grant)
$   300     State of MI (MDE) FIRST FTC Team Grant
$1,000     State of MI (MDE) FIRST FTC Coach Stipend (limit of 1 per building)
$   300     Ford Motor Co. FTC Team Grant 
TBA         Other sponsor specific grants (as they become available)

All grants
  • Team must be registered for the current season with it’s own official FIRST team number (numbers that start with 2017xxxxx are temporary team numbers)
  • Team must be aligned to the FIRST in Michigan progression.
  • Team must compete in one official FIRST in Michigan FTC competition during the current season.
Additional grant specific requirements:
  • FIRST in Michigan Rookie Team Grant: 
    • Team must be affiliated with a school (public or private) or 501c3 organization. Grant checks cannot be made out to individuals.
    • Reimbursement-style grant.
    • Team must apply for the FIRST FTC national team grant to be eligible to apply for this grant (see linked grant doc below).
    • Veteran teams out of a given school/org. must be registered for the current season in order for rookie teams out of the same school/org. to be eligible for the grant.  FiM FTC Team List (2016-2017).
    • This grant will open for submissions on Aug. 1
  • MDE grant & coach stipend: Team must be affiliated with a MDE recognized school/charter/academy. Stipend is limited to 1 per building.
  • Ford grant: Team must be actively mentored by a Ford Motor Co. employee

PROGRAM INFORMATION: Info and docs to help you get rolling
FTC CurriculumThis free curriculum can  be used as a stand-alone course or as a supplement to areas where the team needs extra support. 
FiM FTC Blog: archived team emails

FTC season kickoff will be on Sept. 9th which is when the new game FIRST Relic Recovery will be fully revealed. Save the date and look for details on our kickoff events (many with workshops) going on around the state. It's a great chance to network with area teams, pick up some new skills, hone some old ones, and see the season's game up close and personal! Game Manual 1 has been published. Game Manual 2 (game specific info) will be available on Sept. 9th

FTC Kickoff Locations (to date): Sept. 9th; these events will all feature a game reveal i.e. FIRST Relic Recovery game elements on display. Many of these events will also include workshops so it's key that your team has their parts in hand before Sept. 9th. More info on registering for these events will be available soon.
  • Kettering University 
  • GVSU
  • Freeland
  • Temperance
  • Ann Arbor (UofM): Please fill out this interest survey to help with the planning process 2017 FAMNM FTC Kickoff Interest Survey
  • Bloomfield Hills
  • Detroit
Feel free to contact me with questions.