FIRST Tech Challenge Louisiana 2018-2019 Email #1

Louisiana FIRST Tech Challenge Coaches,


Topics in this message:

  1. We’re Going To Space
  2. Louisiana Team Registration and Grants
  3. Offseason Scrimmage at the Red Stick Rumble
  4. Kickoff Event
    5. Competition and Advancement for 2018-19
  5. Dean’s List Award
  6. Programming Update
    8. Outreach!

Welcome to the 2018-2019 FIRST Tech Challenge season in Louisiana!

Thanks again to everyone for a great RELIC RECOVERY season in Louisiana.  I look forward to another good year with some great new teams joining us.  Welcome to our rookie coaches, and hello again to our veterans.

If you have updates to the email list I use for these messages, please let me know.  It takes a while for the new season team contact list to settle down.

Please feel free to forward info to your team members, parents, etc.

There will probably be some other emails coming very soon, since this message is already overstuffed, but let’s get started….

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  1. We’re Going To Space

For the first time, all four FIRST programs are space-bound with related themes this year:  FIRST LEGO League Jr has MOON MISSION, FIRST LEGO League has INTO ORBIT, and FIRST Robotics Competition will be in DEEP SPACE.

Our game for 2018-2019 is FIRST ROVER RUCKUS Presented by Qualcomm® Incorporated.  If you haven’t seen the Season Teaser video for this game, it’s here.

Part 1 of the Game Manual has been posted at the ROVER RUCKUS Resource page.

Part 1 covers everything except the specifics of the game – so it has all the info on tournament structure, advancement, robot rules, and awards.

Note there are some significant changes on tournament rules, penalties, allowed devices, and robot weight, so READ THE RULES, even you veteran coaches.

Part 2 will be released with the Game Reveal on September 8.

In the meantime, you can also keep an eye on the FIRST Tech Challenge Blog for updates.

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  1. Louisiana Team Registration and Grants:

I know many of us are waiting on grants or for school offices to open before we register, but please don’t delay starting that registration process – it helps us plan our events for the season.

FIRST continues to make updates to their website and the registration should be smooth.  If you have any trouble registering your team, let me know and I’ll try to get you any help you need.  FIRST has instructions for veteran teams and rookie teams.

FIRST Tech Challenge still has rookie grants available.  If you are or know of a rookie team that hasn’t registered yet and needs help, you can apply here.

I have a couple of need-based rookie grants just for our region – if you know of someone who is on the fence about starting a team, please let me know.

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  1. Offseason Scrimmage at the Red Stick Rumble

We will be setting up a LAST CHANCE to relive the glory days of RELIC RECOVERY during the Red Stick Rumble FIRST Robotics Competition offseason event on August 25.  The venue is Woodlawn High in Baton Rouge hosted by 3337 Panthrobotics.

Details of the scrimmage activities will depend on how many teams we see from LA, MS, AR, TX, and maybe beyond, but we plan to have at least a one-field setup and to play quals and finals, with pit setup 8:00-10:00 AM, matches starting at 10:00 AM, and finals done by 4:00 PM (???).

Are you recruiting new members, coaches, or teams?  Invite them along to see several FIRST programs in action and to meet and learn from current teams.

Registration is FREE FREE for FIRST Tech Challenge teams at the Rumble website.

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  1. Kickoff Event

Our Louisiana Kickoff for FIRST RELIC RECOVERY will be hosted again by the University of New Orleans College of Engineering on Saturday, September 8 starting at 9:00 AM.

Besides a chance to meet other teams, discuss the game, and see the field set, we will have time for Q&A/panel discussions/workshops led by experienced teams and mentors.

We will update details soon, but please reserve at least the morning for introductions, the game reveal, and game discussion.  If your team is interested in leading or co-hosting a workshop, let me know as soon as possible.  We’ll post updates to the ftclouisiana.org website Events page (once we have one).

Here are ideas for topics that your team could present, co-host with another team, or just offer to moderate a discussion about (from a great list of ideas from Mannie Lowe for Mississippi):

  • Building Sustainable Teams and Communities
  • Engineering Notebook: Why do we need one?
  • Fund Raising using the FIRST Toolkit
  • Getting Started – Robot design and build
  • Introducing the NEW FIRST Core Values (aimed at Coaches)
  • Promoting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (aimed at coaches)
  • Rookies: What you need to know about FIRST Tech Challenge
  • Scholarships, Internships, and Next Steps
  • Setting SMART Goals and Timelines: Don’t get overwhelmed!
  • The History of FIRST
  • …or any other ideas you may have

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  1. Competition and Advancement for 2018-19:

We want teams to be able to compete early and often, and use the competition experience in the design cycle to improve their robots.

This year, our hope is to again have three Qualifying Tournaments.  If teams offer to host scrimmage events, this will provide four competition opportunities before the Regional Championship.  There is a twelve-team minimum for a Qualifier, so it will depend on team registration.  Remember that every team will have had the same time to prepare, so there are advantages to attending early-season events!!!

If your team is interested in hosting an event, please let me know.

Our target dates for 3 Qualifiers and a Championship are:

September 8: Kickoff at the University of New Orleans

October 13/20: Scrimmages

November 3-17: Qualifier 1

December 1-15: Qualifier 2

January 12-26: Qualifier 3

February 9-23: Regional Championship

Advancement numbers will depend on registrations, but we would expect to advance 6 to 8 teams from each Qualifier to the Regional Championship.

Tournament fees for the Qualifiers will stay at $200 and for the Regional Championship $250.

This year, Louisiana will advance two teams directly from our Regional Championship to the Houston World Championship.

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  1. Dean’s List Award

Coaches, please consider nominating a sophomore or junior from your team for the Dean’s List Award this year.  You can read the description of the award and the advancement process in Section 11 of the Game Manual.  I’ll update you on submission deadlines in a future email.

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  1. Programming Update

For ROVER RUCKUS, App Inventor is no longer supported.  Blocks or the OnBot Java should be good rookie options with help easily  available for both from other teams.

Programming must be done using one of the following applications:

  • FTC Blocks Development tool – a visual , blocks – based programming tool hosted by the Robot Controller.
  • Android Studio – a text – based integrated development environment.
  • Java Native Interface (JNI) & Android Native Development Kit (NDK) – Teams can incorporate native code libraries into their apps using the JNI framework and the Android NDK.
  • FTC OnBot Java Programming tool – a text-based integrated development environment hosted by the Robot Controller
  1. Outreach!
  • If your team is interested in demoing at some or all of the Girl Scouts of Louisiana East B.I.G. (Believe In Girls) Event from 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM on Saturday September 29 at the University of New Orleans – please let me know!
  • As always, please let us know if your team is doing outreach!  We can help spread the word and leverage your efforts to encourage new sponsors and grow our program.

Thanks!

Clark Rowley
Louisiana FIRST Tech Challenge Partner Representative
985-285-8455
ftclouisiana@gmail.com

ftclouisiana.org