FAQ

Why competitive robotics?

While there are several great instructional coding and robotics programs available for our students, the competitive aspect has proven to be a true motivator, giving tangible design goals and providing sporting-event level excitement to both the preparation and the competition itself.

What will my student be doing?

We will organize into several 3-4 student teams. The members of the team will cooperate to strategize on the challenges and design a robot to compete. Students will then build the physical robot including drive system and manipulators like arms and grabbers. They will also write all of the code in a Scratch-like interface, for both driving the robot with an RC controller and for running standalone in autonomous mode.

At the competition, they will set up their robot for each match, and those students interested will get to drive for the competition. They will also be responsible for maintaining their robot, working together to adapt to what they see, and strategizing with their alliance partners.

Who can join?

The club is currently limited to 3rd-5th graders, although if time and energy permit we may bring in younger students to introduce them to the technology. We're also currently capping at 20 students due to space and equipment constraints; if there is more interest then preference is given to program volunteer's students, then through a random lottery.

Can students work outside the club meetings?

Of course! The VEX software is freely available, and we'll set up shared drives for each team's code. And of course teams are free to scheme and strategize. As the events get closer we may also set up additional sessions to finish up.

When/where are the competition events?

TBD, there are several local school districts which host events, and we will target two once we have a roster and register. These are generally on the weekends, so you are responsible for getting to the event.

We may also host a mini-competition at Douglass to show off what everyone has done!

What does the fee go towards?

The $100 student fee goes towards program registration, event registration, and annual equipment. This is an all-volunteer run program (note other schools in the area charge up to $300 for this same program). As this is our first year, we also have initial equipment expenses that are not covered by this fee; we are seeking company/parent sponsorships and grants to cover these.

We want to ensure all student can participate; please contact Patty Miguelez (patty.miguelez@bvsd.org) regarding scholarships.

Can I help?

Yes!!! We're looking for volunteers to mentor the teams, ideally one per team. No experience required, although you must be signed up as a Level 2 BVSD volunteer. Snacks for the meetings are also great to keep those brains working.

We're also looking for parent/company sponsorships for this first year, as we have to purchase the initial kits and field equipment. The student fee only covers the annual costs. These can be made as non-profit contributions through the Douglass PTO.

Please contact douglassrobotics@gmail.com if you can help with either of these!

Other questions, please send to douglassrobotics@gmail.com