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Russell Blake | August 10, 2017

Ten Ways I Was Inspired by a High School Robotics Team

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.crr-robo-photo2-2016.jpg

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.

crr-robo-photo4-2016.jpg7. 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.