As the 2015 Build season reaches its mid-point, we pause to consider how far we’ve actually come since Kickoff. All of the robot-build subteams (CAD, programming, build) are putting in long hours in the workshop to prototype, program, or figure out how best to promote our team. While busy preparing for competition, we’re also talking to sponsors (27 and counting this year alone!) and our community, which has supported us more and more each year. As part of our 10th anniversary, we’ve been invited by the Edina Education Fund’s “Show and Tell” event. Edina Education Fund was one of our first sponsors who helped get The Green Machine off the ground 10 years ago, and the fund continues to support us in so many ways.
1816 could not be more excited for this year's FIRST game challenge - Recycle Rush! Reduce, reuse, recycling is a habit The Green Machine has encouraged since our beginnings as a team. And besides, what is not to love about a game in which green plays a major role? Brainstorming is already well-underway, with the added bonus of a school-out day to get going on our 2015 robot, Zebruh. Team builders, CADers and programmers will be spending more than thirty hours a week to build a robot, and (side note to our parents) it can be stressful to balance that commitment with everything else we have to juggle (school, homework).
Kickoff is in two weeks and The Green Machine could not be more excited to get started on building a robot for our tenth anniversary season as a FIRST Robotics team! Our fall season certainly was busy enough. On Saturday December 13, we finished up our pre-season by bringing to an awesome finish the mentoring several younger FIRST teams with a “hat trick” of 3 events - FIRST Tech Challenge, FIRST LEGO League, and Jr. FIRST LEGO League teams all competed within their respective divisions. The atrim of Edina High School's EPAC and the gyms at Valley View Middle School were packed to standing-room only capacity. We couldn't be more proud of the teams we worked with this fall!
One of our rookie members, Sarah W., wrote this blog about Minnesota Splash, the last large scale pre-Kickoff gathering of Minnesota FIRST teams. On Saturday December 6th, The Green Machine went to The University of Minnesota to attend Minnesota Splash. There, rookies and veterans were able to attend seminars on sponsorship, engineering, awards, competition and more! We took notes on the things we didn't already know, hoping we can improve our robot and competition strategies for the upcoming season by learning tips from other teams and alumni. This was extremely beneficial, because the more we learn, the more we can improve what we do as FIRST team members and to share what we know with other teams.
Our second annual Robot Day at the Minnesota Children's Museum was a big success! Along with KnightKrawler, FireBears and HeroBotics, The Green Machine had the opportunity to volunteer at the Minnesota Children's Museum to demonstrate our robots and run activities like basic electrical circuits via Snap Circuits to show how even young children can become involved with science, technology and engineering. We also introduced our new robot coloring book, which contains you-choose-the-color line drawings of each 1816 robot from the last nine years. The kids loved coloring Zeke and Zed as well as designing their own robots and learning about electricity with the toy circuits. The Star Tribune was there and a photo with the FireBears ran in the Sunday paper.
How could it possibly be November already? If feels as if The Green Machine did just finish (as the captains of the winning alliance!) at the MRI in Roseville, and we’re now gearing up for a team retreat, Robot Day at the Minnesota Children’s Museum and both seminars and competition at the Minne-Mini.
Ah, fall. Outreach opportunities are appearing like sweaters, sponsors on the backs of t-shirts are changing like leaves, our final member count marks a 50% increase from the 2014 season, and rookies are just starting to orient themselves and figure out which subteams to try. It's also a time to renew friendships, figure out what new skills were learned over the summer, what are the team's needs in the coming year, and ease back into the swing of competitions.
Our new team marketing video is up! Check it out at on YouTube, and get excited for our upcoming tenth season video, which will feature faces new and old as we continue to tell the story of this team and its legacy. Speaking of which, it seems 1816 will be expanding this year after a few years of holding steady in at around 35!
Welcome back returning members, and an even bigger welcome to our Rookies this year, as the school year resumes and pre-season planning is underway. 2014-15 is The Green Machine's tenth season as a FIRST Robotics team! In honor of this decade-long achievement, a big anniversary year, and our annual recruiting drive, here are (only) Ten Reasons to join 1816 this year:
10. The Green Machine is more involved and does more for the community and the world than almost any other Edina school-supported organization.
We have often talked about FIRST as a progression: You join a FIRST Lego team in elementary school, then you work your way through school as part of FIRST Robotics, you study STEM in college, and once you’ve graduated from college, you look around for opportunities to volunteer and to mentor a team. This is certainly the case with Matt Mittag, a development engineer with Dow Water Solutions, Edina. When he moved here from Michigan, the first thing he did was search the web for a FIRST Robotics team. We’re truly glad that he found us! And we’re doubly pleased he’s sharing his skills as a mechanical engineer by volunteering as a Lead Robot Inspector at our Minnesota Regionals.