October 28, 2017

10.28 Team Eblast

Open Spots at Events l Certificate of Participation l Youth Registration l Forms and Rosters l Volunteer reg l Grants l Competition tips

There are still open spots at the following events:

11/04-Canton: 1 spot
11/04-Bedford (Temperance): 8 spots
11/04-Midland: 5 spots
12/2-Houghton (UP): 7 spots

Playing early is an advantage in terms of experiencing game play as well as the earlier events having a higher allocation of advancement spots.

Per Game Manual 1:
Teams are eligible for advancement at any one of the first three events they participate in at any of the following levels, regardless of the region. 
 - Qualifying Tournament
 - Super Qualifying Tournament
 - Championship Tournament

Remember that teams do not see their confirmed event on their FIRST Team Dashboard as FTC does event registration at the local level (with FIRST in Michigan). Visit the FIRST in Michigan Team List for all confirmed event placements. 

Visit the 2017-2018 Event Process foevent information including the allocation of advancement spots by event. The FIRST in Michigan website's 2017-2018 event page has event specific information: http://www.firstinmichigan.org/events/events.php?year=2017&program=ftc

The clock is ticking on the FiM provided practice field sites as they will start to be collected in support of our upcoming events. Be sure to visit one of the open field sites around the state to get some practice time on a fully outfitted competition field. It's important to practice match timing especially the new autonomous to driver controlled transition. Tip from a team! Make sure to practice on an official balancing stone before your first event. You will know in 10 seconds what you'll have to do to make that work!
CERTIFICATE OF PARTICIPATIONThe 2017-2018 Student Certificate of Participation is linked; this is a fillable pdf. Use this certificate to recognize your team member's participation in the FIRST Relic Recovery season!

YOUTH TEAM REGISTRATIONLots of questions on this topic. To get your students registered in the Youth Team Member Registration. There is some messaging below that you can copy (and modify) and send out to the parents/legal guardians of your team:

Visit www.firstinspires.org and select “Sign Up” to create a new account and enter your information. If the you already has an existing account from a previous season, you may login to your already existing account to complete the student’s registration. If you are unable to access his/her account, please select the “Forgot Password” button from the login screen. This will generate a password reset email with a link allowing you to reset your password or activate your account.

How do I register my youth with FIRST®? 
  1. Log into the www.firstinspires.org website.
  2. Once logged in, you will be asked to complete your parent/guardian user profile information. Once you have done this, you may select the "Parent/Guardian - Youth" tab from the Dashboard.
  3. Here, click the "Add Youth" button to add your youth. You will then be prompted to complete the youth's user profile. If the youth is age 13 or older, you will be asked to provide an email address for the youth. However, the youth email address and the parent/guardian email address must be different. Once the youth profile is complete, you will be prompted to enter your youth's School Information. Next, you will prompted to sign your youth's electronic Consent and Release Form.
  4. After you've signed the form, you will be prompted to select the program your youth is participating in and enter the team number (FIRST® Tech Challenge Team #XXXXX).
  5. You are done! Please note: Your youth is not enrolled on the team until the Lead Coach/Mentor accepts your youth to the team. 
 The above message is what your team members need. Once they “apply” you can go into the "Manage Roster" area and accept them.

Paper FIRST in Michigan Consent/Release forms will be needed again this year. This is in addition to the electronically signed (through the FIRST reg system) or paper version of the FIRST national Consent/Release form. The FIRST in Michigan specific Consent/Release form is linked. The forms should be turned in at team check-in at each event where the team participates

Team Roster: Team coach must turn in one roster at check-in for EVERY event.  The roster can be in one of 3 formats (see below).  Note that team size is capped at 15.
  1. Dashboard produced roster - for teams comprised of students who are all 12 or older.  The Lead/Coach Mentors for the team can produce a team roster via the Team Dashboard under Team Contacts/Roster>Contacts Options>Print Team Roster. Example of a Dashboard produced Team Roster.
  2. Team produced roster - for teams comprised of students who are all younger than 13.  Coach must also turn in the completed paper-copy FIRST and FIRST in Michigan Consent and Release forms for all of the students.  Downloadable Team Roster Template.
  3. Hybrid - Coach writes-in the names of any students, who are younger than 12, on the Dashboard produced roster. Coach must also turn in the completed paper-copy Consent and Release forms (FIRST and FIRST in Michigan) for the students younger than 12.
Today is the submission deadline for the Arconic grantReview this key document: 2017-2018 FiM FTC Grants and Application Procedures as it has info on all currently available.The MDE FIRST Robotics State grant submission deadline is 11:59pm on November 6th. Some key points on this grant:
  • A district (or standalone school) submits one application that includes all of the FIRST teams in the district/school FRC/FTC/FLL/FLL Jr. 
  • The grant is available on the MDE's MEGS+ system which is accessible by the Level 5 employee (usually someone in finance) for the school or district. 
  • What information to share with your Level 5:
    • FIRST Program: Our program is FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC).
    • FIRST Team Number: Please make  sure it's accurate.
    • Team Name: If you don't have a team name yet, just make one up. Don't let this part hold up the application.
    • School Building Name
    • Coach Name, email, phone number
    • Grant websitehttp://www.techplan.org/rdi/
    • Grant FAQshttp://www.techplan.org/downloads/pdfs/2017-18_mde_first_robotics_faqs_1.pdf. These are really helpful.
    • Other resources on the grant site: Step-by-step application guide, Spending Plan template, etc.
Review the What to Expect at an Event guide for an overview of a typical FIRST in Michigan FTC event roll out. The guide contains many valuable resources (Inspection checklists, info on the judging process, etc.) that will help teams have a good event experience. 

Teams MUST bring their own safety glasses to events! This includes enough for all team members, coaches, mentors. TIP! Have the team select a member to serve as safety captain to make sure everyone is adhering to safety standards: has (and is wearing) ANSI Z87.1 certified safety glasses, wearing closed toe shoes, long hair is pulled back, etc. 

Event Participation
team's presence is expected at the events where they've been confirmed.  A late withdrawal from a confirmed event causes issues (planning and financial) for the host and reflects negatively on the team. As competition is a requirement of teams accepting FIRST, FIRST in Michigan, MDE, and/or sponsor specific grants; withdrawing from an event could impact grant awards. Remember, feeling "not ready" is usual - group support is available at the event!

Some events offer Friday load-in/early inspections. This is a great way to ease the Saturday morning "crunch". Note that event set up occurs on Friday late afternoon through evening so it's possible that the event will look "not ready" when teams arrive on site on Friday. Help is always appreciated!
FTC events start early on Saturday with teams needing to pass Robot/Field Inspections and cycle through their assigned judging timeslot within the 7:30-10am timeframe (est.). Teams should plan to be on site Saturday right when doors open. Check the agenda of your specific event for the roll out of the day. 

The event host only communicates with the Lead Coach/Mentor 1 and 2 for each team. Please share event specific information with your team members and their families.

Event Volunteers
FIRST in Michigan events are 100% volunteer driven. Teams are expected to provide one volunteer (whole day) at events where they participate. This volunteer doesn't have to be a team mentor - ask a parent, relative, friend! It's fun and they get a shirt, volunteer pin, luncheon, and applause! 
Many FTC event roles do not require any specialized skills or training. Please share this volunteer registration guide with your team's event volunteer: Volunteer Registration Step by Step Guide. Volunteers can choose "Assign as needed" on VIMS to give the Volunteer Coordinator flexibility in assignment. Contact the event's Volunteer Coordinator with questions.
Team event volunteers cannot fill the roles of Judge, Referee, or Scorekeeper as they have an affiliation with a team competing at the event.

Team & Robot Preparation
A few tips on ensuring a good event experience and a well behaved robot:
  • Know the rules. Read Game Manual 1 and 2 - knowledge is power! http://www.firstinspires.org/resource-library/ftc/game-and-season-info
  • Robots must pass both a hardware and field inspection before playing in matches. Inspections are generally between 8-10am the morning of the event. Below are the checklists that will be used; use them as a guide to prepare your robot to pass the first time!
  • Robot Inspection Checklist 
  • Field Inspection Checklist
  • Keep all batteries charged! Majority of robot issues at events have been traced back to a low TETRIX batttery or low phone batteries. Bring extra batteries and chargers to your events.
  • Good wire management: Robots encounter many bumps and jiggles at events (rolling over balls, climbing ramps, other robots, etc.) which can loosen wire connections and cause communication issues. Secure all connections between phones/modules/batteries, strain relieve wires where needed, and no loose dangling wires (zip ties!) . Check out the Robot Wiring Guide for best practices.
  • Preparing for Competition

FTAs, CSAs and Inspectors
Your event's Field Technical Advisor (FTA), Control System Advisor (CSA), and Inspectors are amazing resources available to teams BEFORE match play begins. If your team has field communication issues - please do not struggle in silence! Visit the FTA at the competition field either at early check-in on Friday or early Saturday morning for assistance. They've pretty much seen it all and can diagnose problems quickly and efficiently. They can also connect your team to the CSA on site for more in depth robot triage.
Teams should go through Robot Inspections as early as possible, even if your team is having field communications issues. It is helpful to get this aspect "under your belt" so that the team can focus on other areas i.e. judging, field inspections, tweaking the robot, etc.

Teams each participate in a mandatory 15 minute judging rotation. Judging occurs in the first two hours of the event and can begin as early as 7:30am. Teams should plan to be on site at the event right when doors open. Teams bring their robot (not powered), engineering book, Control Award sheet (if applicable), and display boards (if desired) to judging. Teams will be given the opportunity to do a short (less than 10 minutes) presentation to the judges which will be followed by a 5 minute Q&A period. If the team does not have a presentation planned, have them let the judges know to proceed directly to the Q&A.

The Judging Self Reflection sheet is a good preparation tool. Review the Engineering Notebook Guidelines as well. The Engineering Book is a key deliverable for a team and is a required component for consideration of many awards. Please make sure your Engineering Book is clearly marked with your team number on the front/back/spine/etc.

Our events will be presenting the FTC core awards. Check your event's roll out to see if any optional awards (Promote or Compass) will be offered. These awards have additional submission requirements.  Descriptions of all FTC Awards.

FTC Control AwardThis is a Core Award for FTC. The Control Award celebrates a team that uses sensors and software to enhance the robot’s functionality on the field. Note that a team MUST APPLY for the Control Award in order to be considered for the award. Team's applying should fill out the Control Award Content Sheet, located in Game Manual Part I, Appendix 3 and linked below. And, the team's Engineering Notebook must include an Engineering Section that documents the control components.

The Control Award Content Sheet should be turned in (along with the team's Engineering Book) at the team's morning Judging session.

Gracious Professionalism
Teams are expected to behave in a gracious and professional manner at events. This goes for team coaches and mentors as well. Just in the way that positive behavior, that exemplifies the values of FIRST, reflects positively on a team; negative behavior will reflect poorly on a team. Judges are informed by event volunteers when stellar behavior and actions are noted - but they are also informed when poor behavior and actions are noted. The true test of gracious professionalism is when things aren't going well - coaches and mentors are asked to monitor team behavior and to set a good example for their team members and model appropriate behavior at all times.