Preseason focuses on training and teaching of new members. After several weeks of overview in mechanical, electrical, and programming teams, they are encouraged to choose the team they would like to delve deeper. New members in each team learn to use power tools and put together simple wheeled structures with motors; to build the circuits found on our competition robots; and the basics of Java and Kotlin programming through logic and strategy experiments. By the end of build season, members of each team have a more complete picture of what each part of the team is responsible for producing.
Build season lasts for six weeks. Here, students work with mentors to design, prototype, build, program, and test a 120 pound robot to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). These weeks are intense (almost 30 hours a week) but those who attend as much of build season as possible gain invaluable experience in the engineering design process and teamwork under stress.
Last year, we attended the Sacramento Regional Competition and the San Francisco Regional Competition in which we competed in the semi-finals. FRC allows students to see the product of their hard labor as they watch their robot compete; students do this while continuing to perfect their skills of teamwork under stressful conditions and those of creating logical solutions for time-sensitive problems and design flaws. This season, we are planning to attend the Sacramento Regional (March 21-23) and the Silicon Valley Regional (March 29-31).