Signup for Nov 23rd SCRA Training at CMU


The Steel City Robotics Alliance has graciously invited you to a comprehensive training session on November 23rd.  Parents and mentors are welcome at any sessions. You can choose any four classes from the list below. Programmers, note there are two interactive LabVIEW sessions so bring your laptops with LabVIEW installed.   If you aren’t sure what to sign up for, ask a mentor.

Follow this link to the sign up google form sheet (includes directions and map):

Printable version of the SCRA Workshops program is available here:

Finally, kudos to Sarah and Nicole for creating a scouting session! Nice initiative team!

Here is a list of all the different training sessions you can take. There is something here for everyone! New students and parents, I highly recommend you go to “What is FIRST.”

1:30-2:15 Workshop Session 1

  • Strategy (Jason Mols & Nick Winwood, Mentors, FRC Team 1708 & 2641)  Learn how to use your team strengths and weaknesses to make a match strategy and alliance selection for the most success… Learn what stats to look at. Learn how to make choices during a match and how to work with your alliance to have a chance to win no matter what the rankings are. 
  • Fundraising 101 (Girls of Steel) Is your team struggling to find funds to build your robot come January? Are you unsure about who/where to start asking? This workshop will take you through various methods of fundraising that have worked for our team. We will talk about identifying potential sources of support for your team, and will walk you through the fundraising process. At the end, we would love to hear about your team’s fundraising experiences, and will answer any questions that are not addressed in the presentation.
  • The Systems Approach to Robot Creation (Tim Angert, Mentor, Titanium Titans) Learn about an approach to design and fabrication that looks at the robot as one system, from design inception, to manufacture, to final programming. So often teams treat everything as separate subsystems instead of one complex interconnected system where one thing effects everything else. Learn how to avoid the perils of relying on programming instead of simple mechanical solutions and vise versa. In addition to this when we think of the system we can easily design for functional flexibility, where do we need adjustability and where do we need precision. Learn more about one of the most beneficial design approaches that you can take during this session.
  • Good Programming Design in Control Systems (Bob Robison, Mentor, Chrome Clovers) This session will give the participant an overview of good practices in designing control systems and the topics that are crucial to understanding these systems in contrast to procedural applications. The participant, after attending, should be able to understand the basic difference between control systems and procedural programs like Microsoft Office or Peachtree Accounting.
  • Sensors and Sensing (Allen Nuttle, Google) Imagine where you’d be without your senses! Sensing is fundamental to robotics and there are many available sensors that can easily add significant capabilities to your machine, and preseason is the time to explore things in this area. We will go over what some common and less common sensors can do, how they can facilitate better performance and enable additional capabilities, how to incorporate them into a robot’s mechanical and electrical systems, and how to program them. Also, I’ll provide info on where to obtain them, since this can be a barrier for some.
  • Helping with New Team Recruiting and Support (Craig Yankes, MSA) Our region has recently rolled out the pilot of a new approach to team recruiting and support. This approach needs “topic specialists” that might occasionally be asked to make a phone call to help a rookie team in an area that the Guide can’t answer. (For example, a particular programming or mechanical problem.) You will hear about this new approach in the session plus become aware of the technical areas in which we could use more specialists.

2:20-303 Workshop Session 2

  • What is FIRST (Patricia DePra, FIRST) This presentation will give a brief overview of FIRST programs, followed by details of what makes FRC such a unique experience. Concepts such as Gracious Professionalism will be interwoven with competition details such as the random team alliances in qualifying matches. Additional aspects included will be FIRST scholarships, mentors, opportunities for team members beyond building the robot, and a peek behind the scenes at the organization of FIRST on both the national and the local levels. Finally, where to find more information will be discussed, including navigating the website, as well as local resources to help your team succeed.
  • Don’t make your hand a permanent part of the robot (Sarah Douglas, FIRST Judge) This session will discuss some of the do’s and don’t of Robot Safety and include some of the new items on the market to help keep you safe.
  • PR/Social Media (Cara Friez, Robomatter,Inc) In this session, you will learn the basics to successfully market your team by using blogs, videos, social media, press releases, events, and more! After this session you will be able to put together a marketing plan that will allow you to stand out with a positive message, find your target audience, measure analytics, and set goals.
  • Pneumatics (Jason Mols & Nick Winwood, Mentors) This Session will give the basic over view of all Pneumatic parts. Successful use and applications for pneumatics and how to plumb and set up the Pneumatic system to the specs of FIRST. Also will have Show and Tell
  • 2015 FRC Electronics / Programming (Joe Jackson, Mentor) Over the summer, we had a chance to beta test the 2015 FRC Control System. This session will highlight what we learned about the new electronics as well as the Eclipse-based programming environment.
  • Mechanical Design (Luke Yount, Pitt)  In this session, you will learn the basics of mechanical design, such as useful sources for models, and components, and basic manipulator design. In addition a variety of techniques for making designs quick to produce, and fast to assemble will be covered.

3:10-3:55 Workshop Session 3

  • How to win awards: Why isn’t there a scoring rubric? (Sara Douglas, FIRST Judge) This session will discuss what wins awards and what doesn’t. We will talk about judging and how best to present your team. There will also be discussions on the various awards and what criteria are used.
  • Building a pipeline for girls in FRC (Girls of Steel)The pipeline model describes our efforts to create continuity for girls in our community to be involved in FIRST robotics or STEM activities starting in 4th grade. In 2013 we initiated two programs – two community FIRST LEGO League teams and 8th Grade Junior team memberships (interns), and continued our participation in many other activities i.e. through our extensive outreach events. This year we have realized the benefits of reaching out and targeting girls at an early age, as seen by our growth of the Junior team memberships from 4 to 18. During our presentation we will share tips and ideas for your team to get involved in encouraging more girls in STEM.
  • 3D CAD in Solidworks Part 1 (Brian Morris, Prism Engineering)Basic 3D Engineering with Solidworks to create a part and drawing with an emphasis on weight, strength, and cost.
  •  LabVIEW Programming Part 1 (Nolan and Mullin, DSA) An interactive introduction to the LabVIEW programming environment and FIRST-specific functions for control
  • Project Planning (Craig Yankes, MSA)The chaotic build period can be (at least somewhat) tamed by using the project planning tools normally used on larger projects to manage task scheduling problems. The basics of project planning using the free ProjectLibre tool will be introduced in this session

4:00-4:45 Workshop Session 4

  • Meet your regional director (Patricia DePra)This interactive Q&A session will be an opportunity to meet your Regional Director, Patricia DePra, who will answer questions about FIRST goals, successes, and challenges specific to our region, what happens behind the scenes and throughout the year, and other topics raised by attendees.
  • LabVIEW Programming Part 2 Advanced topics in intelligent machines and autonomous functionality using the LabVIEW environment.
  • Creating Effective Presentations (Julia Deems, The Tepper School CMU) A central goal of any project is to share what you’ve learned. This workshop will focus on strategies for delivering information in a way that your listeners will remember. Drawing on principles in argumentation, psychology, and design, this presentation will offer strategies to make your team stand out.
  • 3D CAD in Solidworks Part 2  Advanced 3D Engineering with Solidworks to create an assembly and verify its functionality using Solidworks Motion and Solidworks Simulation
  • Electronics and Wiring (Randy Bish, Mentor)

5:00 Cake!

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