Chantilly Robotics Team 612
2017 Chairmans
We held our breath in the stands, listening as the emcee announced each award. He gained our attention as he began to describe the Engineering Inspiration Award winner, each detail hinting at our team’s victory. The anticipation of seeing the time and effort we had devoted to constructing our robot pay off had everyone’s blood racing, ears perked to learn who would receive the prestigious award and the chance to attend the World Championship Competition. Finally, the emcee yelled, “Six what?” Together, we shouted “Six-Twelve!” It echoed around the stadium, seeming to shake the building. This enthusiasm is the magic of Chantilly Robotics Team 612. Our team shares this excitement in our community, inside and outside of the team, inspiring new interest in STEAM.  Team History and Diversity: Chantilly Robotics Team 612, which began as an eight-person team, has grown into one of the largest and most diverse teams in FIRST, now with 122 members. Our team is characterized by its lack of exclusivity; people of all backgrounds and identities feel equally welcomed to our team, never left out on the basis of their race, gender, or religion. Each year, we try to recruit more women than in previous years, to help eliminate the gender gap in STEAM related fields and activities. This year, 25% of our members are female, as have been three out of the last five CEOs. We have hosted many events in order to enable more women to embrace their interest in science and engineering. In 2015, girls on our team formed a Girls in Engineering Club at our school to inspire women to pursue careers in STEAM. In 2015, our team held a robotics workshop for an all-girls engineering camp at George Mason University. We showed our robot from the previous year and explained the engineering we used to design and build it. We discussed FIRST and helped them to join various local FIRST teams. Events like these inspire more women to participate in STEAM. Along with gender diversity, we take pride in our ethnic diversity. Team 612 has members from all over the world; 64% are minorities, 18% were born abroad, and 70% have a least one foreign-born parent. Almost half of our team is bilingual—members speak 18 languages, from Romanian to Spanish to Punjabi. Our language diversity has let us connect with foreign teams, as when we translated for a Chinese team during the 2015 South Florida Regional. Diversity produces different forms of thought; all persons have a unique experiences, directly shaping their ways of tackling a problem. This diversity in thought brings new ideas to the engineering process that might otherwise be missed. Community Outreach: Chantilly Robotics Team 612 is dedicated to the promotion of STEAM and has engaged in a variety of outreach programs. Our team’s end goal is to strip away the intimidating nature of STEAM, and make it more accessible and relatable to the general public. We encourage our community to embrace STEAM, and to prepare themselves for an increasingly technology-driven future. In the past four years, we have hosted several FIRST tournaments. In 2015, our Jr. FLL Expo helped ignite an interest in FIRST and in engineering in Jr. FLL members. This year, our team mentored Jr. FLL Team 1758 during their whole season. We helped them to design their robot, and taught them about gears and motors. Team 612 hosts an annual FLL Tournament. Each year this event grows larger, now with 32 Northern Virginia FLL teams. We operated the whole event—over 40 team members ran the information desk, helped judges, acted as referees and assistant referees, and did anything else to promote the success of the tournament, to give those that came an opportunity to prove themselves. Afterwards, many teams thanked us, saying that they recognize the herculean effort it took to ensure the event went smoothly and appreciate our dedication to FLL and the teams. Most of the FLL teams said they will return because of our team’s enthusiasm and how well-run the tournament was. Hundreds of excited parents and children approached us and asked about FRC and STEAM. In the 2013-2014 FTC season, we formed FTC Team 9073 Knightrix to allow students at our school to compete in FTC. We still help their team through grant aid and fund sharing. This year, we gave Knightrix a $500 grant so they could attend the state competition. We share mentors and a workspace, and we support each other at competitions. Forming this team has ignited our involvement within the FIRST community. Outside of FIRST, Team 612 has reached out to various communities to expose them to robotics and what it entails. Our team has attended over 30 events within the past 3 years where we showcased our robot to the mass public in order to get people excited about FIRST and our team. Of these events, one of the largest and most well-known is Air & Scare at the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum. At this annual event, we present our robot to thousands of parents and children. We have thereby created a bond with the museum, and they invite us back each year. In 2016, we presented at Providence Elementary School’s STEAM Night. Speaking to over 50 students and parents about our team and FIRST, we taught children the basics of programming and loops, and how the design of a robot affects its success. Last summer, our team went to two Rec-PAC events at Lees Corner and Hutchison elementary schools. Rec-PAC is a Fairfax County program that provides families free children’s summer camps. Many of the children come from low income homes. At Lees Corner we helped them make simple 3D paper robot designs and discussed FIRST. At Hutcheson we had children design and build a robot with toothpicks and foam balls to teach them about structural integrity. Children are generally intimidated by STEAM, and events of this nature lessen this intimidation and spark excitement. After our visits, many parents asked us about starting an FLL team. All told, we spoke to over 150 parents and students about STEAM and FIRST. Team Improvements: As our team grew to over 50 members, problems arose regarding communication, organization, member involvement, and teaching ideas. The issues led to a lack of efficiency and made it harder to accomplish our goals. The big challenge we faced was communication. Before this year, we used everything from Facebook to hand-delivered notes. Messages from management and captains got lost in confusing chats, making it hard to find and transmit needed information. Teamwork among captains, teams, and members suffered. For example, last year, the correct measurements for the electrical board were not communicated, leading to an electrical board not fitting the frame of the robot, causing poor access in competition. We improved communication with a program called Slack. Slack is a messaging and organizational program that provides more effective internal communication. We can dedicate channels to specific purposes assign to appropriate members. Private messages are sent between individuals and small groups of people. This allows easy contact among members. Slack also contains a channel for alerts to the whole team allowing important information to reach everyone without vanishing in a maze of messages. In earlier years, our team organization proved to be inefficient. With over 120 members, even subteams were not enough to handle the crush of people. Our size and poor communication made teaching difficult. Members lost focus, timely lesson planning suffered, and there were not enough meeting days to teach members the needed material. This year, we restructured some teams to fix these problems. Marketing was split into business and public relations subteams, and Programming was split into code, website, vision, and telemetry subteams. We thus created specialization within the subteams, seeing that those tasks get completed. We also doubled the meetings we had preseason, allowing captains more time to teach their subteam members. All this let team members feel better prepared for build season, leading to more member involvement. We thus revolutionized our team’s efficiency, and reduced the problems caused by our team’s size, allowing us to achieve even greater heights in the future. Future Plans: Volunteering at Providence Elementary led our team to share similar experiences with other local schools. This year, we set the foundation for forming FLL teams at Rocky Run Middle School by starting a Lego Club. Our team members regularly attend their meetings, and conduct workshops with the goal of the school joining in the 2017 FLL Competition. This year, our team has contacted government officials in order to stress the value of STEAM. Locally, we have contacted Tom Wilson, the School Board Member for Sully District, and Kathy Smith, a member of the county Board of Supervisors, to arrange meetings with them for discussion of future funding plans. In the 2017- 18 school year, plans are to cut the school budget by over $100 million. This budget change worried us, and we have been actively promoting STEAM to our local government to prevent STEAM-related programs from getting cut. Also, we are planning meetings with Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello, Democratic candidates for Governor. We have also reached out to Virginia Delegate James LeMunyon. These officials could help ensure that Virginia continues to promote STEAM programs. Nationally, Team 612 has contacted Representative Gerry Connolly and Senator Tim Kaine to urge them to promote science and technology throughout the entire country. Conclusion: Chantilly Robotics Team 612, through its strengths of diversity and size, has promoted the vision of FIRST by actively fostering exposure to STEAM. By restructuring our subteams and switching to an efficient form of team-wide communication, our team has become more effective and can function as one coherent group. Now that we have laid the groundwork for future progress, our team will more effectively excite our community about STEAM.
©Chantilly Robotics Team 612
2017 Chairmans:
We held our breath in the stands, listening as the emcee announced each award. He gained our attention as he began to describe the Engineering Inspiration Award winner, each detail hinting at our team’s victory. The anticipation of seeing the time and effort we had devoted to constructing our robot pay off had everyone’s blood racing, ears perked to learn who would receive the prestigious award and the chance to attend the World Championship Competition. Finally, the emcee yelled, “Six what?” Together, we shouted “Six-Twelve!” It echoed around the stadium, seeming to shake the building. This enthusiasm is the magic of Chantilly Robotics Team 612. Our team shares this excitement in our community, inside and outside of the team, inspiring new interest in STEAM.  Team History and Diversity: Chantilly Robotics Team 612, which began as an eight-person team, has grown into one of the largest and most diverse teams in FIRST, now with 122 members. Our team is characterized by its lack of exclusivity; people of all backgrounds and identities feel equally welcomed to our team, never left out on the basis of their race, gender, or religion. Each year, we try to recruit more women than in previous years, to help eliminate the gender gap in STEAM related fields and activities. This year, 25% of our members are female, as have been three out of the last five CEOs. We have hosted many events in order to enable more women to embrace their interest in science and engineering. In 2015, girls on our team formed a Girls in Engineering Club at our school to inspire women to pursue careers in STEAM. In 2015, our team held a robotics workshop for an all-girls engineering camp at George Mason University. We showed our robot from the previous year and explained the engineering we used to design and build it. We discussed FIRST and helped them to join various local FIRST teams. Events like these inspire more women to participate in STEAM. Along with gender diversity, we take pride in our ethnic diversity. Team 612 has members from all over the world; 64% are minorities, 18% were born abroad, and 70% have a least one foreign-born parent. Almost half of our team is bilingual—members speak 18 languages, from Romanian to Spanish to Punjabi. Our language diversity has let us connect with foreign teams, as when we translated for a Chinese team during the 2015 South Florida Regional. Diversity produces different forms of thought; all persons have a unique experiences, directly shaping their ways of tackling a problem. This diversity in thought brings new ideas to the engineering process that might otherwise be missed. Community Outreach: Chantilly Robotics Team 612 is dedicated to the promotion of STEAM and has engaged in a variety of outreach programs. Our team’s end goal is to strip away the intimidating nature of STEAM, and make it more accessible and relatable to the general public. We encourage our community to embrace STEAM, and to prepare themselves for an increasingly technology-driven future. In the past four years, we have hosted several FIRST tournaments. In 2015, our Jr. FLL Expo helped ignite an interest in FIRST and in engineering in Jr. FLL members. This year, our team mentored Jr. FLL Team 1758 during their whole season. We helped them to design their robot, and taught them about gears and motors. Team 612 hosts an annual FLL Tournament. Each year this event grows larger, now with 32 Northern Virginia FLL teams. We operated the whole event—over 40 team members ran the information desk, helped judges, acted as referees and assistant referees, and did anything else to promote the success of the tournament, to give those that came an opportunity to prove themselves. Afterwards, many teams thanked us, saying that they recognize the herculean effort it took to ensure the event went smoothly and appreciate our dedication to FLL and the teams. Most of the FLL teams said they will return because of our team’s enthusiasm and how well-run the tournament was. Hundreds of excited parents and children approached us and asked about FRC and STEAM. In the 2013-2014 FTC season, we formed FTC Team 9073 Knightrix to allow students at our school to compete in FTC. We still help their team through grant aid and fund sharing. This year, we gave Knightrix a $500 grant so they could attend the state competition. We share mentors and a workspace, and we support each other at competitions. Forming this team has ignited our involvement within the FIRST community. Outside of FIRST, Team 612 has reached out to various communities to expose them to robotics and what it entails. Our team has attended over 30 events within the past 3 years where we showcased our robot to the mass public in order to get people excited about FIRST and our team. Of these events, one of the largest and most well-known is Air & Scare at the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum. At this annual event, we present our robot to thousands of parents and children. We have thereby created a bond with the museum, and they invite us back each year. In 2016, we presented at Providence Elementary School’s STEAM Night. Speaking to over 50 students and parents about our team and FIRST, we taught children the basics of programming and loops, and how the design of a robot affects its success. Last summer, our team went to two Rec-PAC events at Lees Corner and Hutchison elementary schools. Rec-PAC is a Fairfax County program that provides families free children’s summer camps. Many of the children come from low income homes. At Lees Corner we helped them make simple 3D paper robot designs and discussed FIRST. At Hutcheson we had children design and build a robot with toothpicks and foam balls to teach them about structural integrity. Children are generally intimidated by STEAM, and events of this nature lessen this intimidation and spark excitement. After our visits, many parents asked us about starting an FLL team. All told, we spoke to over 150 parents and students about STEAM and FIRST. Team Improvements: As our team grew to over 50 members, problems arose regarding communication, organization, member involvement, and teaching ideas. The issues led to a lack of efficiency and made it harder to accomplish our goals. The big challenge we faced was communication. Before this year, we used everything from Facebook to hand- delivered notes. Messages from management and captains got lost in confusing chats, making it hard to find and transmit needed information. Teamwork among captains, teams, and members suffered. For example, last year, the correct measurements for the electrical board were not communicated, leading to an electrical board not fitting the frame of the robot, causing poor access in competition. We improved communication with a program called Slack. Slack is a messaging and organizational program that provides more effective internal communication. We can dedicate channels to specific purposes assign to appropriate members. Private messages are sent between individuals and small groups of people. This allows easy contact among members. Slack also contains a channel for alerts to the whole team allowing important information to reach everyone without vanishing in a maze of messages. In earlier years, our team organization proved to be inefficient. With over 120 members, even subteams were not enough to handle the crush of people. Our size and poor communication made teaching difficult. Members lost focus, timely lesson planning suffered, and there were not enough meeting days to teach members the needed material. This year, we restructured some teams to fix these problems. Marketing was split into business and public relations subteams, and Programming was split into code, website, vision, and telemetry subteams. We thus created specialization within the subteams, seeing that those tasks get completed. We also doubled the meetings we had preseason, allowing captains more time to teach their subteam members. All this let team members feel better prepared for build season, leading to more member involvement. We thus revolutionized our team’s efficiency, and reduced the problems caused by our team’s size, allowing us to achieve even greater heights in the future. Future Plans: Volunteering at Providence Elementary led our team to share similar experiences with other local schools. This year, we set the foundation for forming FLL teams at Rocky Run Middle School by starting a Lego Club. Our team members regularly attend their meetings, and conduct workshops with the goal of the school joining in the 2017 FLL Competition. This year, our team has contacted government officials in order to stress the value of STEAM. Locally, we have contacted Tom Wilson, the School Board Member for Sully District, and Kathy Smith, a member of the county Board of Supervisors, to arrange meetings with them for discussion of future funding plans. In the 2017-18 school year, plans are to cut the school budget by over $100 million. This budget change worried us, and we have been actively promoting STEAM to our local government to prevent STEAM-related programs from getting cut. Also, we are planning meetings with Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello, Democratic candidates for Governor. We have also reached out to Virginia Delegate James LeMunyon. These officials could help ensure that Virginia continues to promote STEAM programs. Nationally, Team 612 has contacted Representative Gerry Connolly and Senator Tim Kaine to urge them to promote science and technology throughout the entire country. Conclusion: Chantilly Robotics Team 612, through its strengths of diversity and size, has promoted the vision of FIRST by actively fostering exposure to STEAM. By restructuring our subteams and switching to an efficient form of team-wide communication, our team has become more effective and can function as one coherent group. Now that we have laid the groundwork for future progress, our team will more effectively excite our community about STEAM.