February 21, 2015

This was our last competition and our regional level competition. We did not win an award, but we had fun with the teams and competed into the elimination rounds. We were one of 3 teams nominated for the Innovate award and the Think award. We also ranked 5th out of 28 teams.


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Cubify gave us a free 3d printer. We used it to print custom mounts for the robot core porcessor and communications module


November 1, 2014

This was our first competition, and it came early in the season. Many teams, including us, had not had much time to build, test, and practice with their robots, but many teams turned up. Our robot chassis was the only main part we had completed and working, so we were not able to grab any field elements.



January 17, 2015

This was our second competition, and we were by all means prepared. We were able to utilize virtually every function we had designed onto our robot as planned. Also, we won the 1st place award for our engineering notebook (called the Think award). Due to our award, we were qualified to compete in the regional championship. Our brother team, the Ball Wifflers, team number 8821, won the Inspire (1st place overall) award.


January 31, 2015

This was our 3rd competition, and we had fun. Since we already had a ticket to move on to the regional level, we decided to go to another qualifier just for fun and more practice driving. We were pleased to win the Think award at this competition also!



Coach Belbas talked with Karen Cohen, the FLL Area Coordinator at University of Houston, who said she needed help with building the field kits for the FLL Regional Championship.  UH plans to have 12 tables and, therefore, needs the field kits for each of the tables.  Since each table uses 10 elements, we had 120 field kit elements to build.   If we guess that each field element averaged about 45 minutes to build, then we spent a total of 90 manhours on the field kits.



Because Nick had competed on an FLL team for four years, he volunteered as a youth mentor for a rookie FLL team, Team Resistance is Futile.   At their regular Monday night team meetings, Nick would give the team a typical teamwork challenge and discuss how they compared to the FLL Teamwork Rubric. Nick would also share his experiences with robot design by sharing his experiences and lessons learned for base robot design.  As the competition time approached, Nick helped the team practice how they would prepare for the judges during the technical, project, or teamwork judging time by prompting them with anticipated questions that the judges may ask. He also helped to troubleshoot with programming when needed and giving open-ended tips on solving the difficult missions.

On Nov. 15, Nick accompanied the team to their FLL Qualifier at Strake Jesuit High School where the team received the 2nd place Champions award and 1st place in Innovation.  Nick received an award as outstanding Youth Mentor.


On Oct. 11, we helped San Jacinto’s robotics group with their robotics booth at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Earth Science Celebration day.  As shown in the photo below, a maze was created on the floor using duct tape, and the visitors were given remotes to drive Tetrix robots in the maze. One little girl even said to her friend, “See?  This is why I want to get into robotics.”

After a group of five young boys expressed an interest in robotics, Nick decided to begin  them on the path of robotics with the EV3 education kit. The boys had fun building rovers, robotic arms, and even a robotic fishing pole. Nick taught them how to remote control their robot using the commander app.

On January 8, we hosted a robotics open house at the library. Besides FTC Team 8668 and Team 8821, we had also invited the FLL Team Resistance is Futile.  We had a 12’x12’ practice FTC floor set up with most of the field elements for practice, and we also had set up a full FLL table from this season’s competition.  

Because our room was near the front door of the library, we had a steady stream of interested people of all ages.  The team members spent time speaking with visitors to explain FIRST and it’s various programs as well as discussing what the team had done specifically for FTC this year.  There were many children that expressed interest in FLL, but we also had a few teens express interest in FTC.  Several parents asked about FIRST programs and how they could get their child involved in their public schools.  In fact, we also had two parents that were seriously interested in starting their own FLL or FTC teams.


On Friday, February 13, we set up a booth outside the Microsoft store in Baybrook Mall.  We brought a 4’x8’ table and set up last year’s First Lego League competition mat and pieces.  We also brought along two NXT robots and one ev3 robot which we were remote controlling via a bluetooth keyboard, an iphone, and and ipad.  On a another table, we displayed our FTC robot and engineering notebook.  Anybody that walked past was invited to drive an NXT robot and learn about FTC.

There were several adults that expressed interest in beginning an FLL or FTC team and lots of children that enjoyed playing with the ‘bots.  In addition, we also made an important contact with the owner of a machine shop who might be interested in helping us next season.