For the last two years, G Systems has sponsored Chain Reaction Robotics, a group of high school juniors and seniors in Plano, Texas, who recently completed their second year as a robotics team. In that short time they have accomplished so much through the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competitions. I was gladly recruited by a Plano Independent School District (PISD) employee to mentor the team.
As a mentor during the team’s first year, I supported the group by providing guidance during team meetings, pulling in additional mentors and aligning the team with G Systems as a corporate sponsor. Attending these team meetings also gave me an opportunity to see these students work together and apply critical engineering concepts.
Here are 10 ways I have been inspired by the Chain Reaction Robotics (CRR) team members:
1. Dedication: The team meets for four hours after school and all day Saturday – sometimes even more often during peak competition periods.
2. Excitement: The students love to talk about their robot and participating in the competitions.
3. Creativity: CRR continuously solves challenging problems in creative ways, such as the lift system for this year’s robot – which you can view via video.
4. Technical ability: The team creates 3D models of the mechanical system and develops complex control algorithms in very short time frames.
5. Persistence: CRR overcame networking problems and major challenges at the regional FIRST competition and still competed in the FIRST World Championship.
6. Teamwork: This is a large team made up of more than 25 self-managed students. Through trying out different organizational approaches, they learned to organize and manage themselves successfully.
7. Initiative: CRR was started and remains led by the students. Mentors are there solely for support and guidance.
8. Optimism: The team set the goal of winning rookie of the year at the beginning of the first season and accomplished that goal.
9. Mentorship: In the spirit of STEM education, the team visits multiple elementary schools to demonstrate their robot.
10. Vision: CRR created a long-term vision to spread the robotics program throughout the district and has earned praise from the PISD superintendent of schools.
Heading into the next school year, I can’t wait to see what this team accomplishes next!
Learn more about Chain Reaction Robotics and FIRST.