Well fall training rotations are done, phew. Now we get into the nitty gritty details of robotics. Overall I think the fall rotations went well. Our four groups started off around 4-5 members each and grew to 8 students with one outlier that had 9 students. By the end of the rotations the large group sizes were making it difficult to engage every student in every lesson. Next year I think we will need to add additional groups to lower the group size. This might be the time for some of the delayed or dropped topics from last year to shine.
The students don’t even know their sub groups yet but don’t spoil the big reveal for them. The team is hovering right around 50 students this year. We sent out a ranked choice survey for our students to fill out last week. This gave us a list of where each student wanted to end up. Their first and second choices were used to make the above list. All of our returning members(bold names) got their first choice, new members got their first or second choice(the majority got their first choice). The knitting subgroup is just a place holder for people who haven’t filled out the interest form yet. Although some students on slack seemed to enjoy the idea of a knitting sub group and it would be a great fundraiser…
Manufacturing had the largest initial interest this year, so about 5 students had to get moved around and out of it. Manufacturing is one of the areas we struggle with teaching and keeping the students engaged the whole time. Ideally we would get another motivated mentor to help out in manufacturing but we haven’t recruited any yet.
A lot of students chose programming which works great for two reasons, we have two strong mentors and programming is easy to add on additional projects. We can always add something like a scouting application to the programming team’s deliverables, this allows more students to be involved in the subgroup. Every student might not be working on robot code this year and that is okay, they will still be learning great skills and making cool and useful things for the team.
Cleaning and Organizing
During the fall rotations we have been squeezing in some much needed shop cleaning and organization. We started off by trying to figure out what to do with all of our random sheet cutoffs. There is a ton of material(poly carbonate, wood and acrylic) in various different shapes and sizes in the shop. Before last week it existed stacked in five different spots. One of these spots was our plastic full sheet storage rack which prevented it from being used to store full sheets. The sheets were organized by size, and purged of scraps too small to use. Then they were organized in the racks on the left of the above photo. I didn’t get a before picture which makes me sad, but I did grab a before picture of our next storage project. Behold the mess!
The goal is to move all of the smaller pieces of metal stock to the metal shelf next to the plastic storage(right on the first picture), and then use the standing rack to hold all full length metal pieces. Then we need to sort out the scrap bin(and recycle most of it), fix the metal plate storage, and finally make the shaft storage(the thing on the right in the above photos) useful and easy to store all lengths of shafts. Currently if the shaft is too small it won’t fit and it will fall out of the rack, on the other hand if the shaft is too long the rack doesn’t offer enough support and the material just hangs over and bends. The current shaft rack doesn’t really meet our needs.
This week our chocolate fundraiser is starting, we are breaking out into subgroups and we have a team building event next week! We have a large list of things that we wanted to get done this off season and we have a little under two months to finish every thing. Hopefully with our team working in subgroups and mentors not being distracted running fall training rotations we will be able to knock the majority of the items off the to do list and into the done column!
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