The month of March held many amazing opportunities for our team to fundraise for the upcoming trip to the World Championship in Houston. Some of the most memorable events were the St. Patrick's Day Market in Richmond, our Spring Break Camp at UBC, and our Board Game Day Fundraiser event.
We are grateful for the help and support of our community with our fundraising efforts. The great FTC team, KSS One, graciously allowed us to share the space with them at the St. Patrick's Day Market on March 18th. We got to talk to a ton of people about FIRST and collect donations to our gofundme campaign to cover the huge travel bill that comes with attending a robotics World Championship.
It is always a pleasure to see how excited elementary students get when we show them the awesome things they can program LEGO robots to do. We had a group of kids sign up to our Spring Break Camp, and we prepared for them a mock FLL program based on this season's game, SUPERPOWERED. By the end of the week, they were able to compete against each other for the most amount of points. It was a lot of fun for everyone involved. A big thank you to our sponsor, Daedalos Enrichment Programs for facilitating the organization of this event, and providing the necessary materials.
On April 1st, we got to put on our poker face! Our good friend, Mark W., organized a board games day by donation as a fundraiser for our team. We had a ton of people from the community show up for the event, where they got to play games for as long as they wished and enjoy delicious snacks and home-made baked goods. A huge thank you to Mark W. for organizing, to Mike and Kathleen for taking care of the venue, and also to Erin for her delicious baked goods. Playing games with friends was a good and welcomed break from all the busy work in preparation for the World Championship.
Please consider contributing to our fundraising campaign by donating to our gofundme below.
On February 25th and 26th, our team competed in the Provincial Championship of the season. The winners of this competition would advance to the World Championship in Houston. It was our team's major goal for the season to compete at Worlds.
On the first day of the competition, the 25th, no official robot matches were run. Rather, the first day was mostly for teams to present themselves to the judges, where they will be evaluated and assigned awards, which would be revealed at the end of the competition. At the beginning of the day, our team completed our robot inspections, which would ensure our robot was safe to operate in-game. Almost immediately after, our team was scheduled for our judging session of the day.
Our judging session went very well. The team had practiced their prepared presentation beforehand, and had reviewed potential questions the judges might ask. This was definitely our team's best judging session as of yet. After the judging session, our team fine-tuned the code of our robot, especially our autonomous program, which needed to be precise. We did this while also participating in "practice matches" with other teams.
The second day of the competition was much more intense than the first. This was the day where teams would be doing all of their qualification matches, and for some, the finals of the robot game. Our robot was very effective, and we won all of our qualification matches. It helped that our team was consistently paired up with other teams who we worked very well with. By the end of the qualification matches, our team was placed second on the scoreboard out of twenty-four teams. This placement allowed us to be placed in the semi-finals of the day. If we won both our semi-finals matches, we would move on to finals. If we won that, we would be the winning alliance captain, effectively granting us a place in Houston for the World Championship.
At the beginning of this portion of the competition, the top four teams would choose two alliance partners to alternate with in the semi-finals, and potentially, the finals. We chose team 19995, Eclipse, and team 22111, Matheson Mecha Mustangs to be part of our alliance. We managed to win our semi-finals, having won two games and lost one, bumping us up to the finals. We decided to allow our two alliance partners to play for us in the finals, as their game strategy was more suited to our opponent in the finals than ours was. Our alliance partners won one of the matches for us, but lost the other, calling for a third match to decide the victor. In the end, our alliance lost by a mere three points, with a final score of 171 points to 174.
Although we lost the finals, our team still got very far. After the finals was the award ceremony, where our team received the Motivate award for our efforts in outreach events, and an award for being one of the alliance captains in the finals. However, there was one particular award that the team was aiming for. Winning the Inspire award, which is given to a team which best embodies the values of FIRST and FIRST promotion, would also grant us a spot at Worlds. We ended up being the second choice for the Inspire award, the first being team 3491, FIX IT. Although our team didn't win the Inspire award, one of our team members won the Dean's List award, allowing them to go to the World Championship.
That is not all however, as after the competition was over, our team was approached by team 3491 FIX IT, the winner of the Inspire award. FIX IT had been to Worlds multiple times already, and graciously offered to forfeit their spot, allowing us to go to to Houston. The spot would go to us, since we were the second pick for Inspire award, and the second place for the winning alliance captain. This is wonderful news, and we accepted the offer.
Over the next two months, our team will be preparing for the World Championship, which will involve much fundraising. We look forward to going to Houston, and seeing what the next two months will hold.
This summer we offered a girls only CanCode camp at Strathcona community center. Ages ranged form 6-13 so we split them into two groups (WeDo and SPIKE Prime) to offer a wider range of skills. We taught the older girls the basics of coding and building, and with that they went on to build and program their own robot to compete in some friendly games. We are so proud of the girls for how hard they worked and their determination to succeed. When small issues arose the girls were quick to fix them with the guidance of our team members.
we are so grateful to have gotten to work with these amazing young girls and hope to do many more camps like this one.
Team member - Gr 12
In June we had the opportunity to participate in the Delta Parade. At the event various companies and non-profit groups in our community showed up to showcase their services. Participation at the parade and holding our demo booth on the field gave us the chance to spread the word about FIRST Programs and inspire youth to explore the world of STEM through robotics. Half of our team walked in the parade with our robot on a float, handing out flyers, while the rest of us combined forces with teams 18841 KSS One and 16031 Parabellum to set up a stationary info booth. At this booth, our team not only showcased our robot and answered people's questions about FIRST Tech Challenge, but we also engaged the younger population at a FIRST LEGO League station we set up. We helped kids who came through our booth program LEGO robots and attempt challenges on a playing field. We had an amazing turnout. It was so much fun to engage with people interested in robotics, and we can't wait for the opportunity to do it again!
Meet Team Canada!
Each year, Canada chooses one province to send a delegate team to represent the country at the FIRST Global Challenge. This year, the lot fell on British Columbia. Naturally, our team combined forces (no pun intended) with a few other teams in the mainland to apply for this amazing opportunity. And we were chosen. To represent Canada. At the 2022 FIRST Global Challenge. !!!
We are super excited about this! Two of our grade 12 students, Lulu and Kieran, will be spending the entire summer working along side Allen from FTC team Parabellum, Emmy from Celtic Silverfish and Avneet from Khalsa I fundraising, building, programming, and doing international outreach as part of the mandate of FIRST Global Challenge. We will keep you posted on how it all goes, including a link to the Team Canada website.
It's going to be a lot of work, but also a lot of fun!
Our Dean's List Finalist goes to the FIRST World Championship!
by Coach Ana
Mom of the team, co-coach / team cook on weekends, prohibitor of waffling and slacking, and most enthusiastic fan of Team Forces Unknown.
3rd Place @ FIRST Tech Challenge BC Championship - 2022
by Lulu G.
This has been our most exciting year yet! Last weekend on February 26, 2022 we participated at the FIRST Tech Challenge BC Championship at Khalsa Secondary School in Surrey, BC. It turned out to be a memorable event for team Forces Unknown.
We are so proud of our robot - in the Robot Game, our team came in second place - which guaranteed us a spot in the elimination matches. This is the furthest we've gotten in the last two years.
On the left here, check out our amazing drivers, David and Maddi, and our programming master mind and duck deliverer, Kieran. They did an amazing job!
Even though we ended up with the second highest individual scores in the competition, we unfortunately did not make it past the semi-final round in the alliance matches. We were still super excited to have gotten as far as we did, and we know we'll do even better in the upcoming season.
It was a lot of fun to collaborate with other teams. To our surprise, we received the Connect Award and arrived in 3rd place for the Championship Inspire Award. And I, Lulu, was selected Dean's List Finalist and was invited to the World Championship in Houston Texas next month! It was such an honor to be chosen among all the amazing competing teams!
More than just robots
by Kyoungjoo C.
Of course, FTC isn't just about robots, but is also about the relationship between team members and the coaches. With this in mind, our team has participated in many fun activities outside of our regular work meeting times. From hosting the end of the season or graduation parties to just hanging out together at the beach, there have been some key moments that we will never forget. Even though our team blossomed from a childhood friendship, the team managed to learn more about each other this season. Important conversations like future universities or wackier discussions like relationship advice would be the focus during these meet-ups, helping us better understand each other when we are out on the robot field.
One of the first things our team did early in the season was our little pre-season beach hang out. A few weeks before the start of school, all our team members met at Spanish banks in the brisk near autumn weather. Although the weather was a disappointment, we made it work by having a picnic and playing volleyball on the cold icy sand. It was quite a sight to see for our coaches watching the robotics nerds attempt to set and volley the ball to each other, but this was the definition of fun for all of us. Eventually, our two co-captains attempted to drag us into the water, going as far as splashing water onto our perfectly dry clothes... Despite that, it was a great hangout and we were even able to introduce two new members to our team, all while getting drenched by our co-captains.
Another memorable team bonding exercise that will forever be in our hearts was our Christmas party after the first league event. After our more than satisfactory results, the whole team decided that they all deserved a party before winter break. The first league of the season had been one of our best FTC leagues EVER, and our excitement, combined with good measure of holiday cheer, led us to our decision to do something fun!. We chose to go bouldering and afterwards chip in for a little game of White Elephant.
The basics of this game are simple. You can read the rules here: How to play White Elephant Gift Exchange Game. This little game really tested our creativity on what kind of gifts could fit any of our 9 members.
Before this event, however, we indulged in some classic bouldering at a nearby facility. Just like our beach trip, it was quite an amusing sight watching each of us struggle.
Forces Our success as a team so far would never have been possible if we didn’t plan these small outings every now and then. These team bonding activities have taught us that we actually don't know each other as well as we think we do, and we continue to invest in one another friendship. I believe this characteristic is one of the many that sets us apart from the other FTC teams. Our friendship is perhaps the main force behind Forces Unknown.
by Masiha B.
We've had many outreach events this season so far, especially on professional development days. A few of our team members went to the Kelowna School District to share our experience with that community. We also got to introduce FIRST to teachers in our own Vancouver School District. And we had the opportunity to host the FLL kickoff and co-host the FTC kickoff with another local FTC team. This kickoff was the first regional event where all the teams in the area gathered for information and trial runs of the new season.
Expanding our connections in the province
At the end of August, we sent a couple of our team members to Kelowna in the Okanagan so that they could run a workshop for teachers in the Kelowna School District about FLL. The FIRST Senior Mentor for British Columbia along with FRC Regional Director, we took turns helping teachers to quickly build and program robots using Spike Prime and EV3’s. We then tried out a few of the new missions for the season, Cargo Connect. This gave the teachers a good sense for the joys and the challenges of playing the game. By the end of the workshop, our Kelowna teachers were well equipped to pass FLL on to students at their respective schools.
Meanwhile, back in Vancouver...
This past October we joined our forces (no pun intended) with the the FIRST LEGO League partner, Uschi Leslie, to run another FLL workshop at St. Patrick's Secondary. It was a ProD Day, and teachers from around the Vancouver School District had been invited to participate. Similarly to what we had done in Kelowna, we divided the group of teachers in pairs, and half of them worked with Spike Prime and the other half worked with EV3 Mindstorms. Once they finished building their robots, we helped them program them and stayed with them answering questions while they tried out the game missions. Our aim was to make sure they left with a clear sense for how to run FLL.
Season Kickoff Events
We co-hosted the FTC kickoff with Parabellum. This was the first in person event we were able to attend with other teams present since the championship event last March 2020 due to the pandemic. There were about 6-8 teams and each team had around 6-10 people. We had a few robots on display from last season. All teams were super excited, as we patiently waited for FIRST Robotics BC's Head Referee to set up the new season's game field for the season reveal. Once the game had been revealed, We teamed up with another FTC Team, Parabellum, to help prepare teams for the new season. Parabellum's presentation was about their previous season's robot and their programming. In our presentation we covered outreach, finance, and engineering notebook based on our experience from previous seasons. At the end of the event, new FTC teams left not only with all the info they needed to start off the season, but also a few walked out with some loot. Just for fun, we taped a piece of paper under 4 chairs at random before the event started, and at the end, whoever sat on those chairs got to take home a REV robotics t-shirt.
In the afternoon, we also hosted the FLL kickoff, which to our surprise wasn’t as packed with only 3 teams in attendance. After the game reveal, the bulk of our presentation covered the 3 key components of FLL: Robot Game, Project, and Core Values. The game trailer was presented to all the attendees with the game table in person. There were a few tables with EV3 and Spike Prime so that students and coaches at the event could try them out.
We plan to do other outreach activities as the season progresses.... stay tuned to find out how we do!