Team History

Team History

Written by Greg B., Anna W., Emily C., Lauren W. and Peter O.

Overview

Team 1816 -- The Green Machine is the oldest enduring FIRST team in Minnesota. Founded in 2005 with a seed grant from NASA, Team 1816 has consistently worked to build and maintain FIRST in Minnesota. The Green Machine has earned a place at the World Championships in eight out of nine years, and, since its founding, has provided the FIRST experience-- through the 2014 season-- to 130 team members. Team 1816's hallmark is mentoring and STEM outreach: The Green Machine has helped to spread the word about FIRST through its award-winning website (the team won nine Website Excellence and Best Website awards in the 2007 - 2012 seasons before the award was phased out), its constant presence at school science fairs, community events, and summer camps, and its annual participation in training seminars and webinars. Known for its programming expertise, Team 1816 has been selected four times by FIRST to beta test updates to FIRST software and libraries. The team's focus remains the continuous improvement of the FIRST experience for all teams. In everything we do, The Green Machine aspires to create enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and math.

Rookie Year -- 2006 Season

The 2006 Team

The 2006 Team

The 2006 Team

The 2006 Team
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Rookie Year: “Highest Rookie Seed Award” and Quarterfinalists at World Championships.

The Green Machine had an outstanding rookie season in 2006, winning the Wisconsin Regional Competition with its alliance partners FRC 111-WildStang and 1625-Winnovation, and finishing as the 6th seed (we formed our own alliance!) out of 85 teams in the Archimedes division at Championships in Atlanta. We earned the “Highest Rookie Seed Award” and ended our first-ever Championships as Quarterfinalists. Our alliance at Championships included FRC Teams 60 and 343!

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2007 Season

Growth: Team Doubles in Size; Recruits and Mentors 7 New Minnesota Teams, Newton Division Finalist at World Championships.

The 2007 Team

The 2007 Team

The 2007 Team

The 2007 Team
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In 2007, the team more than doubled in size to 35 students. The Green Machine recruited and mentored seven new Minnesota teams, and helped host the first-ever Minnesota Kickoff at the University of Minnesota, which included Friday night seminars ahead of the Kickoff event. The Green Machine was selected to beta-test robots using hydrogen fuel cells. This earned the team a spot at Championships, where the team won second-place for game design in the FIRST Fuel Cell competition. The team's alliance also finished as Newton Division Finalists at Championships.

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2008 Season

Outreach: Development of Minnesota Splash; Winner of Minnesota Regional Chairman's Award.

The 2008 Team

The 2008 Team

The 2008 Team

The 2008 Team
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The Green Machine's 30 members focused on Outreach in 2008, including the extension of Friday night Kickoff seminars into development of Minnesota Splash, a first-ever all day pre-season event designed to help new and returning teams prepare for the competition season. Other outreach efforts during the year included participation in the inaugural FIRST President's Circle, mentoring two FIRST Lego League teams, and advising FIRST teams locally and worldwide through the team's new Web forum, videos and email. These outreach efforts were recognized when The Green Machine won the regional Chairman's Award at the inaugural FIRST Minnesota Regional, earning the team a trip to Championships.

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2009 Season

The 2009 Team

The 2009 Team

The 2009 Team

The 2009 Team
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Building the FIRST Pipeline: Team 1816 Helps Launch Edina's first-ever FTC Team; Mentor Recognition: Woodie Flowers Award presented to Team 1816 Founding Mentor Mark Lawrence.

In September 2008, The Green Machine helped launch Edina's first-ever FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team, Team 2887 – The Bucket Brigade. Many of The Bucket Brigade's members, students in grades 7 – 9 at Edina's Valley View Middle School, would in later years become integral members of The Green Machine. Another highlight of the 2009 season was the team's selection as one of 18 “beta –test” teams in the nation to test a new robot control system. The Green Machine collaborated with two other veteran Minnesota FIRST teams on six weeks of testing, and then presented seminars to other teams on the new technology, including seminars at Minnesota Splash, which in the 2009 Season attracted 500 to 600 participants.

Zeus and Dan

Zeus and Dan

Zeus and Dan

Zeus and Dan
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In competition, The Green Machine finished in fourth place in qualification rounds at the Minnesota North Star Regional, reaching the finals, but losing in the final match. “Best Website” awards at two regionals, and a first-ever Autodesk Visualization Award for the team's “Green Power” animation, were evidence of the team's strong presence in non-build areas. Team 1816 also took pride in the well-deserved recognition of one of the team's founding mentors: at the North Star Regional, Mark Lawrence, a Team 1816 founding mentor and Director of Technical Operations, won the Woodie Flowers Award, presented by Woodie Flowers himself. The award, named after the FIRST cofounder and MIT professor emeritus, celebrates mentors who “lead, inspire, and empower using excellent communication skills.”

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2010 Season

Gracious Professionalism: Team awarded the Johnson & Johnson “Gracious Professionalism Award” at North Star Regional.

The 2010 Team

The 2010 Team

The 2010 Team

The 2010 Team
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In addition to the team's typical full slate of outreach events, which begin long before kick-off, the team added to its “green” theme by volunteering at environmentally-themed events, and weekly “green” tips became a popular feature on the team's website. In September 2009, the team was again selected by FIRST as a beta testing team for the 2010 season. At the North Star Regional, Team 1816's enthusiasm, attitude and service off the field were recognized with the “Best Website Award” for the second year in a row, and with the Johnson & Johnson “Gracious Professionalism Award” for the team's outstanding support of other teams. The season was capped with another trip to Championships in Atlanta.

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2011 Season

The 2011 Team and Alumni

The 2011 Team and Alumni

The 2011 Team and Alumni

The 2011 Team and Alumni
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Engineering Inspiration: Team awarded the Lake Superior Regional Engineering Inspiration Award.

Outreach and community activities filled out the summer 2010 calendar for Team 1816, with the highlight of summer 2010 a gathering of The Green Machine and 15 other Minnesota FRC teams at the Minnesota State Fair for ten days of FRC-game style competition. Recruiting then became the team's focus, with one of the team's largest recruiting efforts to date resulting in many new members, including those ready to graduate from Edina's FIRST Tech Challenge teams. Team 1816 was again one of the 59 FIRST Robotics teams selected to beta test new robot software. With other Minnesota beta testing teams, Team 1816 presented its findings during the annual “Minnesota Splash” day of training seminars hosted by The Green Machine.

Zeebo with an Ubertube

Zeebo with an Ubertube

Zeebo with an Ubertube

Zeebo with an Ubertube
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In 2011, Team 1816 attended the new Lake Superior Regional in Duluth, MN. More than 40 teams turned out for this new regional, which proved to be a very successful event for 1816: The Green Machine made it to semifinals, and the team won many additional awards: the UL Safety Award, the Best Website Award, and the Regional Engineering Inspiration Award. The Engineering Inspiration Award gave the Green Machine the opportunity to attend the Championship Competition in St. Louis, MO, and included a NASA grant of $3000. In addition, team captain Emily Benson was named a Dean's List Finalist.

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2012 Season

Varsity Robotics: FIRST Robotics Recognized by the Minnesota State High School League as a Varsity Sport; Winners of North Star Regional Chairman's Award.

The 2012 Team

The 2012 Team

The 2012 Team

The 2012 Team
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It was with great pride that Team 1816 stood with Minnesota Senator Al Franken at the Minnesota State Fair as the announcement was made that FIRST Robotics in Minnesota is now an endorsed activity of the Minnesota State High School League, complete with a State Championship. The Green Machine's mentors and team captain were again in the spotlight on KARE 11 TV in September, part of an hour-long TV special on how mentoring students can make a huge difference in the world. At the March 2012 Lake Superior Regional, the team made it through semifinals and won awards for Entrepreneurship (the team's business plan) and Best Website. At the North Star Regional, the team made it all the way to finals. While The Green Machine didn't win the finals, the team did win awards for Entrepreneurship and Best Website, as well as the pinnacle of FIRST awards, the Regional Chairman's Award, which sent Team 1816 (again) to compete at Championships in St. Louis. During Championships, the team learned that The Green Machine qualified for the first -ever Minnesota State High School League Robotics State Championship. At the state championship, The Green Machine made it through the semi-final rounds.

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2013 Season

The 2013 Team

The 2013 Team

The 2013 Team

The 2013 Team
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Publicizing the Values of FIRST: “be FIRST” Campaign Inaugurated; Front-page Publicity for FIRST Robotics in Minnesota.

In 2013, The Green Machine introduced its “be FIRST” campaign at the Lake Superior Regional: To be gracious, to be innovative, and to be and act your very best at all times. Also in Season 2013, The Green Machine was featured in a front-page article on robotics in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (circulation of over 500,000). The story highlighted Minnesota as the first state to recognize FIRST robotics as a varsity sport, noting that, even in the “State of Hockey,” there are more FIRST robotics teams in Minnesota than varsity hockey teams! Team 1816 had its usual full calendar of community outreach and peer-to-peer mentoring events during the year, including joining with Team 2239 to help them through their first-ever outreach event. At Lake Superior Regional, Team 1816 won its first-ever robot-specific award, the Innovation in Control Award, for creative auger design and use of vision tracking.

The 2013 Robot

The 2013 Robot

The 2013 Robot

The 2013 Robot
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At the North Star Regional, Team 1816 helped a rookie FRC team from Mexico, Team 4667-Synergy, make the most of their regional competition: The Green Machine accepted shipment of their robot, then took it to the 10,000 Lakes Regional along with an 1816-built pit (tools included). At the North Star Regional, The Green Machine won the Regional Engineering Inspiration award, which gave the team a slot at Championships. Team 1816 brought its “be FIRST” campaign to Championships, and selected FRC Team 16, Bomb Squad, as its national winner. FIRST award presenter Comcast singled out The Green Machine for an honorable mention for the team's Digital Media campaign, covering the team's website and social media presence. After Championships, 1816 participated in the second-annual Minnesota State High School League Robotics Competition.

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2014 Season

The 2014 Robot on the Field

The 2014 Robot on the Field

The 2014 Robot on the Field

The 2014 Robot on the Field
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Chairman's Award at Lake Superior Regional Earns The Green Machine's trip to Nationals; Captain of Finalist Alliance at the North Star Reagional; STEM Career Showcase; Workshop Visit from U.S. Senator Al Franken.

The Green Machine's exciting and event-filled 2014 season began with a full schedule of pre-season activities, including a team-run popular Legos NXT Camp for younger students in the summer, presentations on FIRST robotics to sponsors DOW Water Solutions and Stratasys, workshops on safety and programming at Minne-Mini Regional, and the team-sponsored FIRST Day in Edina (successor event to SPARK Day), with a workshop open house and robot demonstrations that included Edina FTC and FLL teams. Team 1816 also helped run the first-ever FTC qualifying tournament held in Edina, and (that same day!) assisted with Robot Day at the Minnesota Children's Museum. In November, the team also organized its first-ever STEM Career Showcase, highlighting the STEM careers of team mentors. The Green Machine was also proud to host a post-kickoff January visit to its workshop by U.S. Senator Al Franken. When competition season began, The Green Machine was ready!

The 2014 Team

The 2014 Team

The 2014 Team

The 2014 Team
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At the Lake Superior Regional in Duluth, Team 1816 was thrilled to win the prestigious Chairman's Award, earning a place at Championships in St. Louis. This year's robot, Zeke, also performed well at the North Star Regional at the University of Minnesota, where Team 1816 captained the Finalist alliance and received the Gracious Professionalism Award. Team 1816 continued its "be FIRST" peer to peer campaign awarding FRC Teams 3313, 27, 2502, 3130, 2016, and 1736 with the 2014 "be FIRST" award. The Green Machine reached 35th place in the Archimedes Division at Championships, as the drive team pushed Zeke hard in every match. After Championships, 1816 competed in the third-annual Minnesota State High School League Robotics Competition, taking home the first ever 3rd place trophy.

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2015 Season — Growth

The 2015 Team

The 2015 Team

The 2015 Team

The 2015 Team
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We launched our 2015 season (and 10th anniversary year!) with an early-summer trip to Washington, D.C. This was the second year Team 1816 participated in the STEM/FIRST Robotics National Advocacy Conference, hosted by FIRST Team 27-RUSH, during which representatives of the Team advocated for STEM education on Capitol Hill in meetings with Minnesota's two senators and four of the state's representatives. A busy summer of robotics camps for elementary and middle school students followed. In the fall, the Team presented workshops on safety and programming at the Minne-Mini Regional, and also hosted Robot Day at the Minnesota Children's Museum. Two major highlights of the fall pre-season were the Team's second annual STEM Career Night, spotlighting the STEM careers of Team mentors and other STEM professionals, and the first-ever Team Retreat, an overnight at a local hotel in which Team bonding (fitness) and Team history (describe 1816 in one word) were key components. In December the Team helped organize and run several aspects of FIRST Robotics Day in Edina, a day that featured Junior FIRST LEGO League, FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge tournaments. At the Team's request, the Mayor of Edina officially proclaimed this day Robotics Day in Edina. As Team 1816 headed into competition season, it boasted a roster of 52 team members, a significant increase in membership from the prior season.

Team at the Lake Superior Regional

Team at the Lake Superior Regional

Team at the Lake Superior Regional

Team at the Lake Superior Regional
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At the Lake Superior Regional, Duluth, in February, 1816 was seeded fifth going into quarterfinals. Although the Team was eliminated in quarterfinals, the Team's promotion of STEM education and support of other teams was recognized with the Regional Engineering Inspiration Award. Winning the Engineering Inspiration Award entitled the team to attend Championships in St. Louis in April, and also carried with it a $5,000 grant from NASA to cover Championship registration expenses. At the 10,000 Lakes Regional in Minneapolis in early April, the team led tours to several valued sponsors, and assisted several teams from China who were attending their first-ever FIRST regional competition. Mandarin-speaking team members and parents translated for these teams throughout the competition. At the end of the pre-qualification rounds the team was seeded 10th, and was picked by the third-seeded alliance to join them in the elimination rounds. Although the Green Machine was eliminated in quarterfinals, the team came away from the competition with several awards: the Entrepreneurship Award, in recognition of the team's business plan and fiscal sustainability, and the regional Chairman's Award, in recognition of the team's overall success in embodying the values of FIRST. Receiving the Chairman's Award meant that the team would represent Minnesota in competing for the National Chairman's Award at the FIRST Championships in St. Louis.

FIRST Robotics Day in Edina

FIRST Robotics Day in Edina

FIRST Robotics Day in Edina

FIRST Robotics Day in Edina
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At Championships, the Green Machine joined over 600 FIRST Robotics, FTC, FLL and Jr. FLL teams from 40 countries for an exciting several days in St. Louis. The Green Machine competed on Curie field, and at the end of the qualifying rounds was thrilled to be chosen by the fifth-ranked team as their first alliance partner. Unfortunately the Green Machine's alliance was eliminated in quarterfinals. A highlight for the team at Championships was the recognition of 1816's valued mentor, Mark Lawrence, with the national Woodie Flowers award. This award recognizes an outstanding engineer or teacher who best demonstrates teaching excellence in teaching science, math and creative design. Also at Championships, team mentor Laurie Shimizu (with Mr. Lawrence) presented at a conference session held to brief teams on "How to Make FIRST a Lettered Sport in Your State." Competition season concluded with the Minnesota State High School League State Tournament at Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota on May 16. The state's top 30 teams (out of 192) qualified for the event at FIRST regional competitions during March and April. At the tournament, we were pleased and honored to be chosen as an alliance partner by the 4th place alliance. Narrowly missing finals, our alliance ended the tournament in 4th place. At State, we enjoyed hosting a group of children from Simpson Housing Services: It's always fun to talk robotics with kids! Another great year came to an end with the State Tournament, but we were already looking forward to our summer 2015 D.C. advocacy trip and LEGO™ camps.

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2016 Season

The 2016 Team

The 2016 Team

The 2016 Team

The 2016 Team
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The Green Machine kicked off its 2016 season in June by presenting a "State of STEM in Edina" report to the Edina City Council, and, later in the month, participating in its third annual National Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC. Throughout the summer, Team 1816 ran LEGO robotics camps, including a week-long introduction to LEGO at the Edina Community Center, and staged robot demonstrations for events such as PTC Family Day and the Minnesota State Fair. 1816 introduced STEM via LEGO Robotics to underserved children at Simpson Housing's Passage community, and expanded this program in October with weekly "STEMtober Fest" LEGO Robotics at People Serving People, a Minneapolis shelter. In the fall, team cohesion was strengthened at the 2nd annual Team Retreat, while STEM careers were spotlighted at the Team's 3rd annual STEM Career Night. Community service projects included an extensive landscaping project for Calvary Lutheran Church and an Edina park clean-up. A highlight of November was the national Out in STEM (oSTEM) conference in Pittsburgh, where the Team presented on methods and process to achieve greater diversity in STEM. Later that month, The Green Machine hosted Katie Coders, a girls-only coding workshop, at the College of St. Catherine. In December, team members were presenters and speakers for the Minnesota Splash at the University of Minnesota and JumpStart training workshops in St. Cloud. Still more robot demos were done at Robotics Alley and two events for different Cub Scout troops, including 50+ scouts in Maple Grove, capping off a busy pre-season. Outreach stretched into the robot build season, with robot demos at the Minnesota Children's Museum in February, and a live TV appearance on Children's Hospital's Star Studio, appropriately for St. Patrick's Day. Team members also were followed by Prep45 TV from Kickoff in January through the season’s last competition at the MSHSL-FIRST Robotics State Championship. A video feature aired on Prep45 TV in early June.

In August, the Team appeared at all six Edina public elementary schools for Open Houses. Robot demonstrations helped inspire sign-ups for potential FIRST LEGO League Jr and FIRST LEGO League teams in Edina. As a result, Edina student involvement with FIRST programs increased 8.2%, from 194 students in 2015 to 210 students in 2016. The number of FLL and FLL Jr teams in Edina more than doubled. In addition, every public school in Edina hosted at least one robotics team. From September through December 2015, The Green Machine mentored 23 FLL Jr., FLL and FIRST Tech Challenge teams in Edina and Minneapolis. Team members spent well over 600 hours mentoring younger teams in the 2016 season, excluding additional time during FLL and FTC competitions in a mentoring capacity to junior teams.

The team participated in two preseason competitions, the Minnesota Robotics Invitational in October and the Minne-Mini Regional in November, where Team 1816 also presented on Safety and Fundraising & Sponsorship. The team had a roster of 54 members as it headed into competition season, continuing last year's trend of a significant increase in membership from prior years. This year, Team 1816 tested its robot at the Week Zero event in Chanhassen, before competing in the Lake Superior Regional, Duluth and the Iowa Regional, Cedar Falls. At the Lake Superior Regional, the Team competed on the fourth seeded alliance and finished as semifinalists. In addition, Team 1816 won the Entrepreneurship Award in recognition of its 2016 Business Plan. At the first-ever Iowa Regional, the Team won the Gracious Professionalism Award and an honorable mention for the UL Safety Award. Two 1816 team members, Allison S. and Brandon S., were also selected as Dean's List Finalists, and represented The Green Machine at the 2016 FIRST Championships in St. Louis. Team 1816's performance at the Lake Superior Regional qualified the Team for the 5th annual MSHSL-FIRST Robotics State Championship, making the Team one of only two Teams to win their way to the state championship every year.

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