FRC 4131 was founded at Liberty High School as the Botty Builders in the fall of 2011, and club has grown since its founding date to include students of all grade levels from four different schools on the Eastside. In 2013, we re-branded as the Iron Patriots to more closely associate with our school.
As participants in the 2014 Pacific Northwest District, Liberty won the Team Spirit award at the Auburn Mountainview District Event and brought home 2nd place medals and the Judges Award at the Shorewood District Event, then went on to qualify for the District Championship in Portland and win the Gracious Professionalism Award there in April.
What Does a Typical Robotics Year Look Like?
Start of School to January 4th (Pre Build Season):
Meetings generally include advertising related discussions as well as skill building workshops. Club will usually meet once a week, with the possibility of more than once a week, when build season draws nearer.
January 4th to Mid-February (Build Season):
On the first Saturday of January, all the the FIRST teams in our region meet at Auburn High School for the kickoff event, which occurs simultaneously across the globe. At the event, the new FIRST competition game is announced; every year there is a new and unique competition challenge.
During build season, all the teams across the world work toward building a robot that aims to complete the different objectives announced in the challenge. This six week period is a brief and grueling time, and meetings are often held daily for as many hours possible (without distracting too much from other school and family responsibilities).
No student has to achieve a certain mandated amount of hours during this period, but it is highly encouraged that students partake as much as possible during this time. Build season has been described as "the toughest fun you'll ever have".
At midnight on the final day of build season, all teams must literally bag up and seal their robot in preparation for competition. No changes to the robot can be made until the competition.
Last build day to Competition (Post Build Season I):
During this time, additional construction can be done to parts outside of the bagged robot, and computer code can be developed and edited. FRC rules state that teams can bring 30 additional pounds of pre-fabricated parts to the competition, and during the period of Post Build Season I, the club will focus on construction of these materials.
Meetings are generally less intensive than during Build Season, but students meet once or twice a week.
Competitions last two days. Usually, teams will load in to the pits on Friday after school gets out, round-robin matches will be held on Saturday and the beginning of Sunday, and alliance matches will happen around lunchtime Sunday. Competitions are hosted by local high schools.
Post competition to End of school year (Post Build Season II):
Immediately following competition, the robotics club will take several weeks off. Until the end of the school year, the few meetings can include skill building workshops, but will more than likely focus on planning the start of the next robotics season.
Club meetings during the summer are low-commitment, and focus on building additional skills for the next season. Students will complete engineering projects, such as 2013's T-shirt cannon.