LigerBots Continue a Great Preseason!
December 5, 2019

On Saturday, October 26th, members of the Ligerbots team attended the Think Big Expo at Newton Free Library. Throughout the event, guests from STEM-related industries were invited to mix and mingle in an ice-cream filled event. Members from Ligerbots set up a booth and talked to different experts engineers from STEM-related industries. 

 

On Friday, November 2nd, the city of Newton held a pumpkin smashing event to promote composting in the City of Newton and neighboring cities. Members from the Ligerbots attended and set up our Pumpkin Smasher contraption and the public was encouraged to bring their leftover pumpkins from the Halloween holiday season to be smashed.

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 With 750 attendees, ranging in all ages, Ligerbots ran binary beads, the Pumpkin smashing event, and spoke to the adults in attendance. Newton City Council volunteers Eric Braman and Waneta Trabert reached out to us afterwards and shared their thanks for our involvement in the event.

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On Tuesday, November 12th, a Newton community event was held at Newton South High School where Newton residents shared their stories of success and personal development, called “Newton Inspires.” The LigerBots helped adults navigate around the school to get to different classrooms.

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This gave community members an excellent opportunity to talk with team members about the LigerBots and what we do for the community.

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On Friday, November 15th, Newton North hosted its annual Girls in STEM day, with presentations by guest speakers of field experts and alumni given in Assemblies throughout the day.  Since the event occurred during school, 11 LigerBots tag teamed in presenting our robot and staffing a booth during lunch with other organizations as an example of and in support of women’s success in STEM. It was an inspiring day and served as a reminder of the struggles and triumphs of women in STEM. 


Our Preseason So Far!
October 31, 2019

The LigerBots hit the ground running at the beginning of the school year as we prepare for the competition season, which starts in January. Our team members have been attending many outreach events, teaching skills to rookies, and preparing for the FLL competition we host in November and December.  

 

On September 22nd, we attended the Newtonville Village Day. LigerBots set up a booth along Walnut St, and we had our “Slime as a Scientific Experiment” activity, mini robots made out of toothbrush heads, and our 2016 robot. The kids really enjoyed making a mess with the slime and learning about the properties of glue! 

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We also attended Beantown Blitz, an offseason competition hosted by Revere High School in Revere, Massachusetts, on October 19th. The event was perfect for rookies to gain experience driving the robot and experience a live competition. 

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For instance, in advance of the competition, we held a scouting competition where the rookies scouted some matches to see who was the most accurate at capturing robot performance. “Scouting” is when members of the team record the scores of each team that is playing in order to collect data on teams. The top 5 winners of the competition got cream puffs and it was great training for Beantown Blitz!  

 

On Sunday, October 20th, a group of students, our robot, and our tent went to the Green Expo that was held inside the Newton Centre Harvest Fair. We encouraged kids to drive our robot and catch the ball it threw. We also had a hands-on activity of making a solar oven out of cardboard boxes, tinfoil, and plastic wrap, in which the kids could make s’mores! It was a great example of the intersection of sustainability, technology, and hands-on engineering. 

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We also held our annual Parents’ Night in October. The parents got to learn all about our team and how they could help. 

The FTC team from the East Boston Excel Charter school came to our meeting in order to learn more about coding and software. Our coding lead was able to help them out! Last year, we helped them fundraise by supporting a Student Artists for Science event. 

 

We have also been busy maximizing our robotics skills and teaching rookies. The electrical team, for example, has been hard at work preparing training documents to help rookies learn information quickly. They have also been working on their pneumatics test bench to test pneumatic pistons. 

The strategy council is working on teaching and explaining scouting to the rookies. Scouting is filling out a chart of all the actions a robot did during a match. This data is then converted to a spreadsheet for data analysis. The council had the rookies practice scouting at Beantown Blitz. 

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This Saturday, we will be at the Think Big Expo at the Newton Free Library.  Think Big is an event where middle and high schoolers talk with STEM experts. We are excited to be there and promote STEM careers in our community. Hope to see you all there! 


LigerBots is back for another year!
September 22, 2019

Over the summer, between breaks, our team members had the chance to represent LigerBots in several events across the local community and outside it.

On July 4th, Ligerbots took their 2016 robot all the way to Providence, Rhode Island, to participate in the Providence Waterfire event, which included some Independence Day celebrations. The team members encountered other FIRST teams from around New England and demoed their robot. Kids of all ages came to the LigerBots booth to interact with team members and even man the robot itself! 

The 2016 robot presented at the Rhode Island Waterfire event.
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Kids interact with the 2016 LigerBots robot at the Waterfire event in July.

On July 13th, LigerBots volunteered locally at the Newton Free Library’s STEAM expo. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, and hosted many other organizations like the Society of Women Engineers. Participants were able to interact with the LigerBots booth—making STEM-related arts and crafts such as binary necklaces and bracelets—and even got to watch LigerBots team members demo the robot.

With summer ending, school starting, and the season approaching, the LigerBots had their first meeting on September 4th at Newton South. We have spoken to several subteam-leaders about their plans for the upcoming weeks, rookie training, and what they hope to cover in the preseason. 

Asa, the director of technology and training, is in charge of the technical side of the team. Through the training period, team members interested in the mechanical parts of the robots will be talking about CAD (computer-aided design), as well as learning in depth about robot elements, such as robot mechanisms and driving, which rookies will practice using last year’s robot. Through this hands-on training, rookies will also be able to learn about the systems incorporated into LigerBots’ 2019 robot. For the preseason project, the mechanical subteam will focus on the JPL open-source rover, a NASA-affiliated project in which participants can build a Mars rover in their own labs. The LigerBots are excited to start on this project!

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LigerBots CTO Asa preparing for the first meeting of the season.

Matthew and Charlotte, heads of strategy, worked with new members to dive into the core of the game rules and scouting strategy. Rookies were shown animations of 2018-2019 matches and the different robots that participated in them. The strategy subteam works to “improve the team’s chance of winning [even] beyond the drive team” by using data analysis to evaluate different teams’ weaknesses and strengths. They scout after other teams’ robots for the best alliance potentials and come up with the best strategy to win each match. As strategy takes a bigger approach, other subteams focus more on the fine details. 

Samy, our executive advisor and former CTO, spoke about the processes that the electrical subteam is teaching rookies for the upcoming year. Beginning with wire diagrams and teaching what the symbols mean, the electrical team will be taught soldering basics – and how to achieve a “nice, good, flowy, pretty” solder over a cold solder. Soldering is the fusing of wires using solder, which is a low-melting alloy, and it is a technique that rookies must master early on. They will also be taught about the control system—robot components and how they connect to each other electrically—using past robots as guides. The goal is to create communication between all motor controllers, and by the end of the training period, all electrical subteam members will be able to make a wire diagram using premade cutouts of the components on the robots as well as a good solder. In a few weeks, the electrical subteam will start working on pneumatics, and more exciting projects related to the preseason.

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Samy explaining electrical basics to rookies in one of the meeting’s info sessions.
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A LigerBots rookie trying his hand at soldering wires.

Last but not least, the marketing team, headed by Maggie, will be starting to focus on outreach, grants, and advocacy. Watch for upcoming events, such as FLL events and local happenings, which LigerBots team members will take part in. For our next upcoming event, make sure to catch the LigerBots booth at Newton Village Day on September 22nd, starting at 12:00 PM. Can’t wait to see you!

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LigerBots marketing subteam’s Maggie and Carolyn speaking at the meeting.

Finally, some announcements about team meetings. LigerBots meet every monday at Newton North High School from 6:30-9:00 PM in the engineering room. On Thursdays, LigerBots meet at Newton South High School’s woodshop, in room 9170. Feel free to drop by upcoming meetings and join the LigerBots team!


Today’s Meeting at Newton North
September 19, 2019

Because of Back to School Night at Newton South, today’s LigerBots meeting will be at North, in the Engineering Rooms (normal rooms).


LigerBots First Meeting
September 4, 2019

The LigerBots 2019/20 season starts this Thursday Sept 5th with a meeting at Newton South High School, Room 9170 (the wood shop) at 6:30PM. Meetings will continue each week on Mondays at North (6:30PM in the Engineering Rm) and Thursdays at South. All interested students are encouraged to attend.