Blogs
Posted on the 9th January 2024
Written by Patrice

Team Ultraviolet’s pointers on becoming an award-winning rookie team

At our teams webinar ahead of scrimmages, we were joined by the South West powerhouse team, Ultraviolet, from Bournemouth School for Girls. Regional and national award-winners in their rookie season last year, team Ultraviolet shared their thoughts on how to become a FIRST Tech Challenge UK award-winning team. Let’s hear what they had to say:

 

Hi, we are Team 456- Ultraviolet, a group of STEM-passionate girls from Bournemouth School for Girls. This is our second year competing in the First Tech Challenge and last season we won the Connect Award at regionals and the THINK Award at nationals, were runners up for the Design and Connect Award and won a social media competition on the day for FemInStem .
We’d love to share our tips and tricks with you!

 

Connect Award

  • Our outreach program is called UV Raise
  • REACH out to our community to increase STEM participation
  • ASSIST other FIRST UK teams in the competition, including in our hub (online or in person)
  • INSPIRE young people to consider software and mechanical engineering careers
  • SEEK opportunities to link with other schools to promote FIRST‘s Core Values
  • ENGAGE other young people with hands-on STEM activities

We are so grateful that our school community allowed us to host many events with primary school students. As an all-girls team, we wanted to convince young girls to participate in STEM activities – we hosted events at our school where we would invite a local primary school class to learn all about computers and do some coding with micro:bits.

Additionally, we continued to post on our social media platforms – we recommend that you have someone in your team assigned to this task. One or two passionate social media officers can collaborate to produce content for social media a few times each week. This helped us because it meant that we could connect with other teams through our posts!

Furthermore, as the Southwest Hub, we hosted the scrimmage in December where we had a visit from a robotics department in the military and that had Boston Quadruped robots. We organized the demonstration of their quadruped to over 250 students during the scrimmage event including in front of other FIRST Teams who were visiting and a special talk for our youngest students in year 7. We hope they found it inspiring to pursue a career path in STEM or even join our robotics club when they are older.

One of the first ideas we had was to have a robotics webpage on our school website. This would enable us to promote our club and engage with the wider community about what we do. We can also use it to share resources we make for our outreach programme. We also have added information about FIRST, the season’s game and our successful scrimmage outreach. We spent a few days designing it and now it is hosted on our school website, why don’t you check it out?!

We also created a “points prism” which was a resource that we could share with other teams which easily showed the rules of the game to new teams. We uploaded it onto our website, and we could see that it had been downloaded by teams as far away as America.

Advice for Awards

A Jack of all trades is a master of none.

We recommend that you focus your efforts on one or two awards. This means that your team can really focus on the finer aspects of an award.

The most important thing is your portfolio, if you don’t properly record your activities, the judges won’t know you have done them.

  • Keep your portfolio regularly updated
  • Have multiple people working on each section of the portfolio like software, outreach, or engineering.
  • We recommend having a format like a table to complete after every session.
  • PHOTOGRAPH EVERYTHING!

Challenges

One of the biggest challenges we faced last year was time management – unfortunately, last season our kits arrived 5 weeks late as they were stuck in customs so, we had a short amount of time before the scrimmage to prepare something.

We found that looking at what other teams from all over the world were doing was incredibly helpful as it gave us a basic idea of the mechanisms that we would later design- as a rookie team it is key that you utilize the resources available to you.

Although inventory management may not seem like a big issue, we found that last year it reduced our efficiency and creativity when building the robot. Our kit was in boxes and plastic bags which meant that we had to spend more time than ideally necessary to find the correct part and although by the end of the season we had partially organised our kits into toolboxes we knew it needed to change.

This season we invested in trolleys where we could label the draws and have our more frequently used parts visible and easily accessed.

We hope that these tips are useful to you, we know that if we had had this last season, we would have been more efficient. If you have any more questions, get in touch with us, we are always happy to help and we love talking to other teams.
We cannot wait to meet you and best of luck for your respective events!

-Team 456 , Ultraviolet

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