Split Robotics Teams by Day or Seniority?

FIRST Tech ChallengeFor the past two days, I have been asking both groups of robotics students how they want to be split up.

Currently, I have one stacked robotics class that meets during 3rd period on A-Days with 24 students enrolled in it and I have a second stacked robotics class that meets during 3rd period on B-Days with 25 students enrolled in it.

Ferris High School has two FTC teams (FTC 11242 and FTC 12645). At discussion is whether to have one team be assigned to A-Days and the other team be assigned to B-Days or to have half of the students on each day be assigned to one team and the other half assigned to the other team.

I see advantages and disadvantages to both. If both teams are split half-and-half, it will force them to completely document their process, which was a major problem last year. However, having the entire team together will help build cohesion within the team, which was another problem we had last year.

I have ultimately put it to a vote to the two groups and was surprised with the results.

A-Day Voting
A-Day Voting
B-Day Voting
B-Day Voting

I was genuinely surprised. The A-Day group had 54% apathy for the vote and did not care on the outcome. 29% wanted it split half-and-half. 17% wanted it split between days.

In contrast, the B-Day group had 0% apathy. Everyone voted! 88% wanted to be split between days and 12% wanted it split half-and-half.

So, the decision is to split between the days!

FTC 11242 will be housed on A-Days.

FTC 12645 will be housed on B-Days.

Proposed FTC Season Events

FIRST Tech ChallengeI recently got a message that the North Texas area for FIRST Tech Challenge will focus on qualifying tournaments this upcoming season as opposed to league play.

I have sent a message to our new affiliate partner to determine if we can get the majority of the teams in our league to commit to league play, could we proceed with leagues as opposed to qualifiers.

My concern is that many teams may only have the resources to pay for a single event. If that is the case, their robot is only guaranteed to drive 5 times the entire season in qualifying play. In contrast, they’re guaranteed 20 different times to compete in league play.

I am proposing the following season schedule for the league…

  • Kick-Off Event – 09-Sept-2017
  • League Scrimmage / Workshop – 21-Oct-2017
  • League Meet #1 – 18-Nov-2017
    • SAT is on 02-Dec and ACT is on 09-Dec
  • League Meet #2 – 16-Dec-2017
  • League Meet #3 – 13-Jan-2018
  • League Tournament – 27-Jan-2018
  • Last Chance Qualifiers – 02-Feb-2018

Computer Science 2 S&S

At the conclusion of last school year, I had a curve-ball thrown at me concerning my plans to offer AP Computer Science 2 based upon an adopted AP syllabus when I requested the course authorization. This course would align with the AP Computer Science – A Exam. In addition, the course would count as a Language Other Than English (LOTE) credit for our students.

Well, the State of Texas had other plans on that. According to TEA, Computer Science 2 can count as an AP credit OR a LOTE credit, but NOT both.

As we already have HB-5 students in progress that need CS2 as their second LOTE credit, we have elected to drop the AP designation. However, I am still modeling the course after the AP CS2 curriculum from the adopted syllabus, which will allow the students to be prepared to take the AP Computer Science – A Exam at the conclusion of the year, if they would like.

Here is what I am planning to cover in CS2 this year:

  • Weeks 1 – 2
    • Computer Systems
      • Numerical Representations, Limitations of Finite Representations, Number Bases & Conversions, Hardware, and Programming Languages
  • Weeks 3 – 4
    • Objects & Primitive Data
      • Simple Data Types (int, Boolean, double, char), Variable & Constant Declarations, Assignment & Arithmetic Expressions, Console Output, Primitives vs. Objects, Create Objects with Classes, References, JAVA Library Classes (String, Integer, Double, Math, & Scanner), and Random Numbers
  • Weeks 5 – 6
    • Conditional Programming Statements
      • Software Development Process, Control Flow, Boolean Expressions, Laws, Truth Tables, and Conditional Expressions
  • Weeks 7 – 9
    • Iterative Statements
      • Flow of Control, While, For, Infinite, and Nested Loops, and Algorithm Analysis (Running Time and Execution Counts)
  • Weeks 10 – 12
    • Writing Classes
      • Anatomy of Classes (Constructors & Methods, Declarations of Class, Interface, Instance, variable, Method and Parameter), Method Overloading, Method Decomposition, Object Relationships, Pre & Post Conditions, and Data Abstraction & Encapsulation
  • Weeks 13 – 15
    • Enhancing Classes
      • References, Exceptions, Class Design, == vs equals, Object Parameter Passing, Error Handling, Interfaces & Abstract Classes, JAVA Library Classes (Comparable & List Interfaces) and Identifications of Reusable Components from Existing Code Using Classes and Class Libraries
  • Weeks 16
    • Fall Semester Exam Review
  • Week 17
    • Fall Semester Exam
    • Week 18 – 21
      • 1D/2D Arrays & Searching
        • 1-Dimensional & 2-Dimensional Arrays (Creation, Insertions, Deletions, Transversals, & Algorithms), Searching Algorithms & Comparison (Sequential & Binary), and Choosing Appropriate Data Representation & Algorithms
    • Weeks 22 – 24
      • Lists, Array Lists, Selection & Insertion Sorts
        • Lists & Array Lists (Creation, Insertions, Deletions, Transversals, & Algorithms), Sorting Algorithms & Comparison (Selection & Insertions, and Choosing Appropriate Data Representation & Algorithms
    • Weeks 25 – 27
      • Inheritance
        • Inheritance (Subclass, Overriding, Hierarchies, Using Class Members, Polymorphism, & Class Hierarchy Design), Interfaces & Abstract Classes, JAVA Library Classes (Object), Reading & Understanding Class Specifications (is-a vs. has-a), Understanding & Implementing a Given Class Hierarchy, Extending a Given Class with Inheritance, and Applying Functional Decomposition.
    • Weeks 28 – 30
      • Recursion / Merge & QuickSorts
        • Recursive (Thinking, Programming, & Sorting), Flow of Recursive Control, Sorting Algorithms (Merge & Quick), and Comparison With Other Sort Options
    • Weeks 31 – 33
      • AP Practice Exam and Computer Ethics
        • Responsible Use of Computer Systems (Reliability, Privacy, Intellectual Property, Legal Issues, & Social/Ethical Ramifications of Computer Use), and AP Practice Exam
    • Week 34
      • AP Computer Science – A Exam
    • Weeks 35 – 36
      • RoboCode
        • Cooperative Programming, Research, Reading Code, and Comparing Strategies & Algorithms

Robotics at Fish Camp

Fish Camp 2017Today was the first Fish Camp where FIRST Tech Challenge and our Robotics Program was highlighted.

The freshman were broken into 6 different groups and rotated through different stations. We were housed with the various clubs, organizations, and programs in the cafeteria.

J. Vega (Senior) was the student who visited with the freshman as they came through.

Roster First Glance & Gender Inequality

I now have my first glance at my rosters today in Skyward.

Here is how it looks right now:

  • 1st Period – Principles of Applied Engineering
    • 16 TOTAL (13 Males / 3 Females)
  • 5th Period – Principles of Applied Engineering
    • 16 TOTAL (16 Males / 0 Females)
  • 2A – Computer Science 1
    • 15 TOTAL (13 Males / 2 Females)
  • 4A – Computer Science 1
    • 12 TOTAL (10 Males / 2 Females)
  • 2B – Computer Science 2
    • 8 TOTAL (8 Males / 0 Females)
  • 3A – Robotics 1
    • 19 TOTAL (13 Males / 6 Females)
  • 3B – Robotics 1
    • 20 TOTAL (17 Males / 3 Females)
  • 3A – Robotics 2
    • 7 TOTAL (6 Males / 1 Female)
  • 3B – Robotics 2
    • 5 TOTAL (4 Males / 1 Female)

Converting these to percentages, this means that 9.28% of my Principles of Applied Engineering, 14.81% of my Computer Science 1, 23.08% of my Robotics 1, and 16.67% of my Robotics 2 classes are female.

A study from Jensen and Nutt shows 74% of females have interest in engineering technology ahead of entry to junior high. At conclusion of high school that interested drops to 2%.

Considering setting my 2017/2018 professional goal to be to develop a program that encourages more females into STEM.

According to US Dept of Ed 2015 study, 10.4% of males earned an engineering STEM credit compared to 2% of females.

Proposing 3 All-Girls STEM Camps for 2018:

  • Camp 1 – Completed 4th / 5th Grade
  • Camp 2 – Completed 6th Grade
  • Camp 3 – Completed 7th / 8th Grade

The major groups to support would be camps 1 and 2.