August 9, 2018

08.09 Team Eblast

Season Kickoff Sept. 8 l Registration l Events l Grants l Updates

We are a month away from the start of the 2018-19 FIRST Tech Challenge season. Find a comfy chair - there is a lot of info to share!

In Michigan, we run a slightly different progression of programs from FIRST national. We operate FTC as a middle school only program with teams comprised solely of MI middle school aged/grade team members. Teams must be properly aligned in order to be eligible for many grants and to participate in FiM FTC events. High school students can mentor the FTC team but cannot be team members. This is often a point of confusion as the FIRST site reflects a different age/grade range for FTC. 

  • FIRST in Michigan Progression of Programs Overview: At a glance look across FIRST programs with grants. Feel free to share this doc with the other schools in your district, especially if there isn't a FRC team at the high school level Amazing grants plus students have access to over $80 million in FIRST dedicated scholarships!
  • FiM FTC Team Start Up Guide: Overview of the program; addresses many FAQs. 
  • FTC Team Registration Guide - Follow this step by step guide for registering a team, grants, ordering parts,and other info.
Registration instructions for Rookie Teams; follow the instructions (with screenshots) starting with Create a FIRST Account (if needed) up to Enter the Storefront. Do NOT pay for anything at this point! Your team should have a temporary team number which begins with “2018”.
  • Next step, is to apply for the FIRST FTC (national) rookie team grant (details in the grant doc linked in grant section of this note) and wait to receive an award decision BEFORE paying for anything.
  • AFFILIATION: It is important for teams that are affiliated with a middle school or youth enrichment 501c3 type of organization to include this affiliation as part of their "Team Name" on the FIRST registration system. This is key for eligibility for certain grants.  
  • TEAM SIZE:  FTC team size is capped at 15 team members. 
  • TEAM CORRESPONDENCE: A team will need to register with FIRST FTC (national) in order to be included in season correspondence from FIRST FTC (national) and FIRST in Michigan FTC and to participate in official events. Only the Lead Coach/Mentor 1 and 2 of the team will receive program information via eblasts. Be sure to pass along key information to team members, mentors, families.
  • UPDATE TEAM CONTACTS: If you are no longer holding a key role for the team (Team Admin, Coach/Mentor 1 or 2), please be sure to invite your replacement which can be done via your FIRST account.  This will ensure that the new team contacts are receiving all communications.
FTC KICKOFF EVENTS (to date): 2018-19 FiM FTC Kickoff Events.  
These events are open for sign up, which is done directly with the event. All kickoff events are on Sept. 8th and are free. Please direct questions on a particular event to the contact listed on the linked Kickoff Events document. A time for the game reveal has not been published yet by FIRST FTC national so event timeframes could be adjusted. (EDIT 8/11: official game reveal time will be 12pm, noon)

The 2018-19 FTC season kickoff will be on September 8, 2018 with the reveal of the ROVER RUCKUS game! The "must read" Game Manual 1 has been published. All kickoff events will feature a game reveal i.e. ROVER RUCKUS game elements on display. Many will also include workshops so it's key that your team completes their season registration and has their parts in hand before Sept. 8th.  Kickoff events provide 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!

ROVER RUCKUS game elements (FTC official perimeter and Soft Tile mats as well) can be ordered from AndyMark, an official FIRST vendor. There are full and half field options.There is a low cost perimeter option that teams can build. 

FIRST in Michigan FTC Event Process - information on events (to date) and event registration process.

LEAGUE PILOT: FIRST in Michigan and Oakland Schools (OCCRA) will be piloting a league structure in the 2018-2019 season. One FIRST Tech Challenge team from every Oakland County public middle school will be eligible to participate in a league pilot (based on interest).  League teams will compete in at least three league meets (minimum of 10 matches overall) and one league tournament (like a qualifier). The league tournament will advance a set number of teams to the FiM FTC State Championship.  League teams are not eligible to participate in FiM FTC qualifiers this season. League meets will likely occur during the week and be 4-5 hours in duration. There is not a judging component to a meet, but judging will be part of the league  tournament.  Meet/tournament dates, registration information and costs will be available for Oakland County new and returning FTC teams by August 30, 2018.  

QUALIFIER STRUCTURE:  Participation in one FIRST in Michigan FTC qualifier is mandatory for all non-league teams. Playing in a 2nd qualifier gives a team a chance to apply all they've learned at their first event. Teams that complete their season registration before September 8, 2018 will have the opportunity to compete in two qualifiers in the 2018-19 regular season qualifier event structure. The FIRST system date/time stamps all team registrations. 

SUPER REGIONALS: FIRST FTC national is discontinuing this event tier starting in the 2018-19 season. Teams will advance from the FIRST in Michigan FTC State Championship to the FIRST FTC Championship-Detroit. Number of advancement spots is not yet known.

Visit FTC Grants and Application Procedures for information on all available grants. Participation in an official FIRST in Michigan FTC qualifier or league tournament is a requirement of all grants.
  • This is a great time to start a new middle school FTC team as the combo of grants from FIRST FTC national and FIRST in Michigan FTC makes the kit of parts and season registration fee free to newly forming teams!
  • Arconic grant - This grant will open for application on Aug. 20th to for veteran and rookie FTC teams  within a 25 mile radius of an Arconic facility (Farmington Hills and Whitehall). 
  • MDE FIRST Robotics State Grant - The MI Dept. of Education (MDE) FIRST Robotics State Grant has been approved! Teams must be affiliated with a MDE recognized school (includes public, charter, and nonpublic schools) in order to be eligible for this funding. Grant award amounts are not finalized at this point but last year provided a $300 FTC team grant and a $1,000 FTC coach stipend (limit of one stipend per building, per FIRST program level). This grant will open for application in Sept.
  • Grant info will be eblasted to teams as it's made available. 
  • New Pushbot build guides (TETRIX and REV based) are available on the FIRST FTC national website:
  • New weight constraint for the ROVER RUCKUS season: Robot can weigh no more than 42 pounds + .5 pound overage allowance. Robots will be weighed as part of the inspection process at events. Refer to section 8.3.1 of Game Manual Part 1.
  • Team Marker is a new, game specific scoring element that will be used in the ROVER RUCKUS game. A scoring element is defined as objects that robots manipulate to earn points. Each team will need to construct their own Team Marker and bring it to each competition. Refer to section 8.3.2 of Game Manual Part 1. The FIRST FTC national Blog has a post about the team marker.
  • Archive of team eblasts: