cAMP wrapped up Session 3 — hear what our students made!
August 16, 2020
This week the LigerBots wrapped up the third session of cAMP and we’ve been amazed at the amount of enthusiasm and support for this program. Teachers and students alike have been having so much fun learning and gaining new skills.
Each of our two-week sessions ends with a showcase in which the students show off something that they accomplished. On Friday we saw cool CAD creations of a living room, dream house bedroom, and a library! From the music class, we listened to songs authored by students in under six hours that sound crazy professional as well! One student even showed off a drawing of a well constructed Aquaponics system.
In addition to learning, some students have used the time to continue seeing their friends and meet new people with similar interests. This summer we’ll reach around 200 students from Newton and Lexington, Needham, Boston, Brookline, to even kids outside of Massachusetts coming from states like New Jersey and Ohio.
Our teen counselors gain the experience of teaching and interacting with younger students while building their resumé and having fun! We couldn’t do this without them. Providing a way for them to teach topics they were passionate about to so many different grade levels not only benefited the students but helped them learn through teaching. Our camp is taught by almost 100 counselors that are not only from Newton, but other cities including Andover, Cambridge, Brookline, and many more.
As we enter our fourth session of cAMP, we hope to continue our mission of motivating kids to continue being learners.
Send Your Kids to Virtual cAMP!
June 5, 2020
For parents who need a summer camp this summer for their kids (for a couple hours of much needed and well deserved break) the LigerBots Awesome Mentorship Project (AMP) is launching a virtual day camp. This will take place online, likely over Discord, on weekdays from 9:00-12:30. Each session is two weeks long, and the dates are as follows: July 6 – 17 July 20 – 31 August 3 – 14 August 17 – 28
The commitment for mentors who want to be teachers is three hours per week for two weeks, totaling to roughly six hours, plus necessary training.
The deadline to sign up for session 1 is July 15 for teachers, and the deadline for parents and teachers for sessions 2-4 is July 22.
This is an example of a day at our camp. Classes will be based on grade level, so material will be appropriate as well as fun and engaging!
Our Awesome Mentorship Project
June 4, 2020
We have been keeping busy during quarantine! Not long after the cancellation of school, a couple of team members thought about making a mentor program. The program would have LigerBots team members do interesting and fun activities with elementary school kids via the internet. This would give young students something to do in quarantine as well as give team members practice with teaching. We decided to call it the Awesome Mentor Project.
Our first mentor pair was formed on the 14th of April and things rapidly grew from there. Many parents requested that the LigerBots mentor their children to keep them busy. It didn’t take long before other students in Newton and members of other FRC teams started joining as mentors.
Students and mentors usually meet once a week for an hour. Activities include elephant toothpaste, soda rockets, rock candy, and puppets. They also sometimes play games online together such as Minecraft.
The program has been a huge success with 82 student-mentor pairs. We plan on continuing the project over the summer and expand it into a form of internet summer camp to keep students and highschoolers busy. We will keep the programm going for as long as we are all stuck in quarantine. We will see you all as soon as possible!
This season has certainly been an interesting one! We are extremely proud of all the hard work we did before the competition, unfortunately, came to an abrupt halt. A special congratulations to our Chairman’s team who won the Greater Boston District award for our team’s continuous STEM-related outreach efforts! In this blog post, we’re going to take a look back at the LigerBots’ first season of the new decade.
This fall, we revamped our pre-season program, experimenting with different methods to find the most hands-on way we can train our rookies. We attended many outreach events around Newton and then, in November and December, hosted two of our own! Both FLL competitions went off without a hitch and we had the biggest turnout in LigerBots history!
The season officially started in January with our annual trip up to New Hampshire for the FRC game kickoff. Once there, we anxiously awaited the reveal of this year’s Star Wars-themed challenge. The field was revealed and the rules were explained to an eager audience. On the way back, we were already starting to brainstorm potential designs for our robot. Build season had begun!
We immediately launched our three-day-design process the next day. The team broke up into many design groups, each coming up with their own plan for the robot. Once they were finished, we all came together to debate the designs and then finalize our robot design for this FRC season.
Groups started making prototypes for different parts of the robot. The CAD team began working on the full model of the robot. The strategy team reviewed the past performance of teams in New England, looking for potential alliance members at our upcoming competitions. Marketing continued with finding sponsorships and planning outreach events to raise funds and spread awareness of STEAM. The entire team was in a constant flurry of activity.
As the weeks marched on, work continued our hard work on all fronts. Designs were finished and mechanisms began to be built. The shop roared to life with the sounds of power tools and motors. We built models of all the field elements from the challenge for our robot to test on and started finalizing the designs of our mechanisms. The manufacturing team worked on the chassis and the electrical team wired the main electrical board. Things were coming together!
Our first competition was rapidly approaching and our robot was gradually taking shape. A few of our strategy components were put to work: our robot was able to fire the ball into the upper goal as well as climb on the swinging beam at the end of the game. The team decided to showcase its spirit by decorating the intake arm with the orange and black LigerBots colors. It was shaping up to be our most immaculate robot yet!
Over February break, we tested the robot’s components and assembled them together to form the final, completed machine. We brought it to a small scrimmage run by a nearby team, the Stormgears— thank you guys for your help!
The first day of the competition did not go as expected. It started off with one of our team members singing the national anthem, but things rapidly fell apart. We won our first match of the qualifiers, but at the end of the round, the robot’s climbing mechanism broke, a serious setback considering how heavily climbing contributed to the match score. We got the climber fixed midday but only won 4 out of 9 matches for the day. Things were looking grim.
But the next day was a complete turnaround! We won our last 2 qualifier matches (ending the qualifiers with 5 straight wins!) and were selected by the seventh-seed alliance. We won a dramatic upset victory against the second-seed alliance and moved on to the semi-finals, where we got eliminated. Despite everything, we felt that it was an incredible comeback and we were proud of ourselves. And at the end of the day, we won the graphics award for our distinctive orange and black color scheme and advanced use of Adobe InDesign!
We were looking forward to the next competition where our robot would be fully functional and improved. But we watched helplessly as, throughout the next couple of weeks, competitions were canceled one by one. Finally, FIRST announced the cancellation of the entire season due to COVID-19. It was an unfortunate and sudden end to a promising season.
However, in the midst of all of the sadness, we found success and hope. NE FIRST recently announced that we won the Chairman’s Award for the Greater Boston District Competition. The Chairman’s Award is a very important award awarded to the team which best exemplifies the ideals of FIRST. Our Chairman’s team worked tirelessly throughout the season to compose all the necessary materials and come up with a plan for the presentation. We received it for the many outreach programs we’ve lead over the years, including, but not limited to, annually hosting two FLL competitions for Eastern Massachusetts. Had it not been canceled, it would have been an automatic qualification to the District Championship. Regardless, we are extremely grateful for the recognition of our hard work!
Speaking of hard work, the LigerBots have not let quarantine stop us from making a difference in Newton! We noticed that so many parents are forced to do both homeschooling and work full-time jobs at home due to the epidemic, so we wanted to think of a way to help them. A few weeks ago, we launched the “Awesome Mentorship Project 2877,” in which high schoolers are matched with elementary schoolers throughout Newton. The pairs meet online once a week and read together, play games, do science experiments — whatever their heart desires! The program has been a smash hit with parents so far; we already have more than 70 student-mentor pairs! We’re excited to see where this program goes and if we’ll be able to introduce a summer camp opportunity in the near future!
Despite the turmoil of the season, we are still very excited to get back to work in time for next year. We’ll see you all then!
An Action Packed Week!
March 6, 2020
The LigerBots have had a packed week filled with competitions and outreach events!
Beginning on Thursday, the 27th, the team joined forces with the rest of Newton North for voter registration day to get local residents civically involved. We got the opportunity to talk to local parents, teachers, and city councilors, to further advocate for the role of STEM in our community!
Later that day, we attended 8th grade parent night at Newton North, to inform the incoming class about our team, and how it works. What we really want to stress at events like this, is the fact that truly anyone can join our team, and excel in a diverse group of fields, such as programming, marketing, political advocacy, and many technical engineering skills.
Our third outreach event was on Friday, at the Burr Elementary Science Fair. Here, we interacted with many young kids, and taught them about how our robots work, and the many STEM opportunities available!
The next day, the LigerBots attended their first competition of the year! The event was held in Connecticut with 38 teams from around New England attending, ready to put months of hard work to the test.
Coming into the competition, our robot was expected to perform well, but during the first match, things took an unexpected turn. In this year’s game, a key component is basically the robots pulling themselves up on a giant pivoting metal beam. This one aspect is worth such a large amount of points that succeeding or failing in the climb can make the difference between a win or a loss. During our first climb, an opponent robot illegally rammed into one of our teammates, which shook the beam that we were attempting to climb onto. The result was that our robot fell several feet, breaking our climber.
While we still won the game due to the penalty on the opposing alliance, our climber was badly damaged. Without it, we performed poorly in the rest of the matches on Saturday. However, before the last match of the day, our pit team finally had time to repair our robot. After a tense and busy few minutes, they successfully fixed our climber! Although the day seemed ruined at first, our team stayed hopeful and because of this, the second day of the competition was much more successful.
Although day one did not go as planned, the second day of the competition completely turned around. We won our last 4 qualification matches and continued our winning streak into the quarterfinals. After going undefeated for the whole day, our run ended in the semifinals. Overall, this day was a complete bounceback from the previous days misfortune.
One important part of our team, is our spirit, and visual portrayal. Our team colors are orange and black, so we wrapped many of our robot parts with a vinyl wrap of these colors making it look especially vibrant. Additionally, we came to the competition with a LigerBots flag, and a liger mascot costume! We also have a whole group on our team devoted to graphics, and making sure that we are always looking good. A great example of their work is all of the visual displays in front of our pit, our teams base and robot repair center. For all of these reasons, we were awarded the competition wide Imagery Award!
We ended the week having completed 3 different outreach events, and a competition where we made it to semifinals. Overall, it was a very busy, but very successful week for the LigerBots.