Our 2018-19 Michigan season is done. This past weekend Major Trouble was in the Michigan State Middle School Championships where we finished 14th overall against the top 32 teams from across the state of Michigan, and were captains of the 8th seed finalist alliance. We finished 3-3, with 2 autonomous wins and were 19th ranked in skills. Not too bad considering this is the best of the best in the state. And although we didn’t get an invite for Vex Worlds, we did end up with a Judges award, specifically recognizing the efforts in programming (17 selectable autonomous programs!) and our work in teaching elementary students STEM fundamentals. Both of those are something we are very proud of.
Overall for the season, we finished with a record of 39-21-1 (65%) In the last 4 events of the year, we finished 17-7-0 (81%). Not too shabby. For autonomous we won 38 of 61 (62%), and for the last 4 events we won 17 of 24 (71%). Again, not too shabby. For the season, we won an Excellence award, two Judges awards and a Design award. We brought in 3 new members and will send off two more Major Trouble alumni to future robotics events. I’m sure there was some learning for the other members in there too… All this, plus our past 4 seasons puts us further along for an even better 2019-2020 season!
We are still not done with this season, as we have 3 finalists in the Vex online challenges, with up to $1550 in Vex gift certificates and one of two spots for Vex Worlds (Its pretty cool!) to be judged yet. We also have a second post season trip, this one to the Create US Open in Council Bluffs Iowa. This will be our 5th trip to the US open in 5 years.
To all of you supporting us, we thank you for helping make this a successful Michigan competitive season! But please, don’t stop cheering us… the Trouble is just beginning!
In celebration of some of those who change the world, here are a few videos of what its like to be an engineer. Its an incredibly rewarding career, with many twists and turns. Many days can be completely unexpected. But to actually see something you worked so hard on become a reality, something that works well, does what its supposed to do, and changes someones life… that’s pretty special.
Among the other videos, this first one hits close. I worked in this lab during my time at MSU, constructing these and other augmentative communication aids to help give a voice to those who couldn’t otherwise speak. Being a part of something that allowed a child who couldn’t talk to say “I love you” to her parents for the first time, or allowing someone to give a special address to congress on assistive technology is an incredible thing.
So many times we think of the thing, the gadget, the lights and sounds that they make. But the IMPACT of the device has a much greater meaning.
Since January we have a qualifier record of 24-9-1 and have won the autonomous bonus 26 times. That’s a huge advantage for our team as it sets a large deficit for the opponents to overcome. A large part of this winning is from our current far tile autonomous. In it we flip the top flag (flip score for us), take the ball from under one cap (scoring it for us), flip another cap (flipping to score for us), go flip the top center flag (scoring it for us) and, if needed based on our partner and their abilities, park. In 15 seconds. Thats a raw score of 9 points for us, and a 12 point swing (descoring an opponents flag and cap).
As described above, our auton is selectable. We currently have 4 selectable programs, one for each tile location, and each is selectable for using the park or not. This gives us lots of flexibility in working with the capabilities and levels of our partners. All this, plus our skills programs are selected using the VEX LCD and our menuing programs.
We have been working on all this this since the beginning of the year and its getting pretty good. This past weekend, it was successful twice. Sometimes we hit a field element when executing and that takes our path off location. We will continue to refine prior to states and the US Open in August to get the path clear and working more reliable.
Check out the video on our YouTube Page. Needless to say, we are quite excited to show you, and hopefully you are on our alliance when you see it!
We made it to the State Championship (event page)!! This is the big one for the state. These will be the top 32 teams in our state, from Excellence and Design awards to Tournament Champions (see the event page for the list of teams). We will face some tough competition.
The event will be held at the Gerald Welch Health Education Building on the campus of Monroe County Community College (directions and note, this is roughly a 1 1/2 hour drive and the agenda below shows the doors opening at 7, so plan your weekend accordingly). Our friends at Team Virus are hosting this event. This is the event where we could get 1 of 4 invites to VEX Worlds. We have done well in the past, as we have won 3 Design awards in 3 visits to the Michigan State Championship.
Excellence– Vex Worlds and US Open
Tournament Champions (2) – Vex Worlds and US Open
Design Award – Vex Worlds and US Open
Volunteer of the year
Tournament finalists (2)
Skills Champion – US Open
7:00 – Doors open for early birds and inspection
8:00 – Judges meeting
8:15 – Drivers meeting
8:30 – Opening Ceremony
8:45 – Qualifying matches start
12:00 – Qualifiers complete, elimination picks and Lunch
This is a busy couple weeks. On Saturday February 2nd we have a Torunament at Cranbrook (event page). This is a middle school only event. The event is held at Cranbrook school, at 39221 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills, MI (directions). There are currently 24 teams on the list, many of whom we see often – Notre Dame, Cranbrook,Van Hoosen, Oakland Christian, among others, so the gym will look very familiar.
8:00 AM Teams arrive/Inspection
9:30 AM Driver’s meeting/Team meeting
9:45 AM Opening Ceremony
10:00 AM Qualification matches begin
12:00-1:00PM Lunch (Skills open during lunch)
1:00 PM Qualification Matches resume
2:30 PM Final Rounds
3:00 PM Clean-up and Closing ceremony
If you have family and friends coming for our cheering section (hopefully we will have the boards this time…) they can come any time (free event!!!) but after 10 they will be able to see the matches.
Awards at this event are as follows: Excellence (States, US Open), Tournament Champions (States, US Open) , Design (States, US Open) , Tournament Finalists, Skills Champion (US Open).
Don’t forget to message your lunch order if you want sandwiches.
What a day! We finished in 4th place, played and won 4 matches and won 4 autonomous bonuses. So, after the 3rd and final league qualifying event, we are 9-4-1, with 19 win points, 40 auton bonus points (10 of 14 autons won!), and 152 SP.
In addition to great matches today, we moved up in skills rankings. Our new skills programs got us 8 points for programming skills while we got 16 points for driver skills. This places us 2nd overall in league skills with 24 points. In Vex World Skills rankings, this places us in 65 place of 1608 middle school teams globally, 37th place of 1356 in the US and 10th place of 98 in Michigan.
Late last year, the girls learned of a sponsorship opportunity from the Michigan Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association. This came up just as we received our invite to the CREATE US Open when we won Excellence at Lapeer. As a self funded independent team, this opportunity presented itself just in time. The girls filled out the application, explaining our role in teaching girls STEM principles while competing at robotics events, even explaining this being our 5th year and bringing up how we also mentor elementary students as well. Well, the results came in and WE RECEIVED THE SPONSORSHIP! Congratulations, girls! Michigan NDIA is sending us the sponsorship to help cover the costs of our registration to attend OUR 5TH YEAR AT THE CREATE US OPEN! Thank you so much for your assistance in our efforts to help girls get represented in the STEM fields and further their education.
From the MI-NDIA Website: The U.S. is not developing the engineering students that we need in order to compete as an innovative country. The skill level in science and math for students completing high school has decreased, and there are not enough U.S. students that are interested in the STEM fields to maintain our competitive edge in a global economy.
The NDIA Michigan Chapter has made it a top priority to support K-12 and college students through collaborating, sponsoring, and hosting events that excite young people in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The NDIA Michigan Chapter is working to be part of the solution by engaging the local educational community and coordinating activities for NDIA members and organizations.