As a freshman student at Salem Academy, located in North Carolina, I have had the opportunity to be a part of our RoboLearners program. The RoboLearners program is an introduction to everything robotics. Through this program I have gotten to work with CAD (computer aided design), building, coding and even driving the robot. In the past, I have had some experience with coding and robotics, however I have never been a part of an FTC team. The RoboLearners program is designed to ease students into the realm of FIRST Robotics, and give them a basic overview of the many roles that team members hold.
Two RoboLearners at their First State Competition!
The beginning of the year started with 100 days of CAD by OnShape. This consisted of tutorial style videos that guided students through the basics of CAD and designing various parts. While at first this seemed extremely daunting, we only did about 20 of the 100 days, specifically ones that were most applicable to FIRST. At the start, I had little experience with CAD. Throughout this first unit, I was able to learn the basics of CAD and gained new knowledge regarding CAD. It was great to learn something new about a skillset I previously had little experience working with, and then applying this skillset to robotics.
Learning to CAD
Being a part of the RoboLearners program, I was able to move on to the next unit: building. In RoboLearners I was able to work in a team of students and build an FTC pushbot for this year's challenge. We worked together, often navigating through various challenges, and were able to build working robots. Through this valuable building experience, I found a love for building. I showed that I was progressing fast through this challenge, and was given the opportunity to be a part of the building team for 7444 Sisters of the Motherboard, at Salem Academy.
Working Together to Build a Pushbot
After competition season, I am now learning the basics of coding in FTC Sim. Starting with block code, I have been learning how to code the robot to move, use color sensors, distance sensors, and more. The next step is working on phasing out of block code and beginning to code in Java. After this, we will begin dropping code onto the FTC Pushbots that we built earlier in the year. Then, we will be able to drive the FTC Pushbots in a challenge that veteran team members have designed. This challenge will mimic past First Tech Challenge games, and allow the RoboLearners to practice navigating a robotics match.
Success While Coding!
The RoboLearners program has been a great way to learn the foundation of robotics and FIRST Tech Challenge. I have loved learning how to build and code, and even the basics to 3D Computer Aided Design. I know the skills I have learned in this program will be incredibly helpful to not only robotics, but the rest of my academic career. Through RoboLearners I have learned valuable life skills such as teamwork, collaboration, problem solving, and brainstorming. I can’t wait to see what else I learn being a part of Salem Academy RoboLearners and FIRST robotics.
This blog was submitted by Lola of Sisters of the Motherboard, FTC team 7444. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, click here to sign up on the schedule!
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