Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Robofest Kickoff meeting 12/16

The club met on 12/16/15 on short notice where we learned more about the plans for this year's club, formed some teams, and submitted permission forms and dues.  I have included the link to the presentation here:

Robofest Kickoff 12/16/2015

In it you will find information for parents, students, and coaches alike.  Please check it out and familiarize yourself with the information contained within.

Many have already filled out their permission forms and sent them to me, either at the meeting, via email, or in the mail.  If you have not submitted a permission form and still intend to do so, please let me know asap as we are finalizing the teams shortly before the new year.

If you are interested in purchasing a "Core" robot for home use in addition to the robots the team will acquire, please let me know if you haven't already and I'll make arrangements with you to order one.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions; just send me an email.

Once again, many thanks to our parent volunteers!  We would not be able to make this club a success without your help.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2015

4th/5th Grade Robotics Club update and meeting time

We now have enough team leaders.  Your coaches are:

Cara Wegrzyn
Anjali Kedar
Sharad Singhal 
Matt Tobey
Swathi Bangera
Jun Hong
Xiang Wu
Ashok Pathak
Hiten Shah
Frank Reeves
Robb Pratt
Sreenivas Kuchibhatla
Gopal Garim
Suze Cormendy
Ramakrishna Nallani
Xiang Wu
Jun Hong
Matt Tobey
Saida Rahman
Joe Rork

Some will be co-leading teams, one will be taking on MULTIPLE teams, all have my gratitude!

We will be having a meeting THIS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16TH at 6:30 PM in the media center at the school.  At that meeting, we will be forming teams, discussing the contest rules and the objectives, sharing season schedule, sharing the cost of dues, and demonstrating the robotics programming environment.  Please plan to have your child there with an adult, which does not have to be a parent.  However this person must be able to make decisions such as availability.  Please plan to bring a checkbook or credit card to pay dues if you intend to join.  Again, dues will be announced at the meeting because we haven't totally figured them out yet.  Also, if anyone is in financial hardship, please contact me and I will work with you.

IF YOU CANNOT MAKE IT WEDNESDAY, do not worry.  All of the information shared will be provided later.  We may even have a make-up day.

IF YOU ARE NOT SURE YOUR CHILD IS GOING TO JOIN, you are still not committed by any means at this point.  However if you are receiving this email and do not intend to join, please let me know.  If you are on the fence, not to worry either.  Please come to the meeting to find out what the plans are and make a choice then.  Please let me know either way.

Coaches will be receiving a separate email with more information shortly.



Sunday, December 6, 2015

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Shortage of adult volunteers

4th/5th Grade Robotics

We currently only have 2 adult volunteers and 70 interested students.  Using the ratios suggested to us by the Robofest guide, we can accommodate 8 students.  That leaves 62 with no coach!   

Please volunteer!

3rd Grade Programming

We currently have 2 adult volunteers for 34 interested students.  We have a little more flexibility with capacity here, but 34 3rd grades is too many for 2 adults.  4 students is probably the right mix, 5 max.  That leaves several students without a coach!

Please volunteer!

Please volunteer!

Please volunteer!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Important info, meeting notes, and next meeting cancellation notice

Lots of information, so my apologies in advance for the long post.
  1. TOMORROW'S MEETING IS CANCELLED.  Due to scheduling conflicts with the school, we do not have a place to meet tomorrow.  However... 
  2. I have recently been in contact with Dr. Chung from Lawrence Tech and he shared a timeline that doesn't have the same sense of urgency that we first felt from our first meeting.  He provided great information about Robofest located at this link which states that we should be officially kicking off in December.  Please check this out, as he also provided some great information on how to apply for grants for all-girls Robofest teams.  I hope to attend one of the kickoff meetings, and I encourage parents interested in leading teams to do the same.  Please drop me an email stating that you are going and perhaps we can arrange to attend together.
  3. There is a link now on the right to the sign-up form that was used to gain interest.  If you have not already done so, please enter your student's information into it.  If you have, there is no need to do it again.  If you are unsure, please send an email to info@gallimorerobotics.com
  4. There is also a form on the right to enter your email address to receive updates to this blog.  I'd like to make it easy on everyone and enter their addresses for them using the form data, but I cannot for privacy reasons.  However, please put your email address in there as I do not plan to be sending updates using multiple channels for very long.
  5. I will be creating a calendar soon and will share our meeting dates on that.  Look for updates on this site.

Meeting notes from last Wednesday

Last Wednesday on 11/11, Joe DeRose from the Hoben Robotics Club provided a tremendous amount of information and insight into what it takes to get a robotics club going.  I've provided the link to his presentation here.  A few take-aways:
  • 3rd graders cannot compete in Robofest and it is suggested that the difficulty of the assignments may be too much for them anyhow.  Instead, I have spoken with some 3rd grade parents that plan to lead a programming club for 3rd graders using sites like www.code.org or scratch.mit.edu.  If you signed up on the interest form and indicated you are interested in that, you'll be getting an email soon to discuss further plans.
  • Robotics hardware is normally on sale during Black Friday events, so it is suggested to have teams in place prior to these sales.  According to the suggestions we need 1 technical parent for each 4 students for a team.  Therefore we need to identify our parent team lead volunteers before we can determine the number of teams we will have.  If you are interested in leading a team, please email me with the subject line Parent Team Lead within the next week.  Also, if your student has a team in mind, include that detail in the email.  I'm hoping we can gather the information soon enough to take advantage of the sales.
  • We need a President for the club.  If you are interested, please send me an email.
  • We need a club Treasurer.  If you are interested, please send me an email.
  • We need a fundraiser chair.  Again, if you are interested, please send me an email
Lastly, based on feedback from the group, we will use this blog as a the primary means of communication (meaning not facebook).  Due to that, I'd like to reiterate the request to add your email address to the link on the right hand side of this page.  I believe this link would only exist on the desktop version of the website, so please switch to that view if your device can display it, or go to the website from a desktop computer.

I believe I covered everything I have to share at this point.  If you have any questions, either leave a comment below or email me.


Thanks again.

Tomorrow's meeting is cancelled

Details to follow

Friday, November 6, 2015

Answers to questions

Q:  Can my 3rd/4th/5th grader join?
A:  At this time, the club is open to all students of Gallimore Elementary.

Q:  Is it too late to join?
A:  No, but please ensure you have submitted your information at this link.

Q:  What is the Gallimore Robotics Club?
A:  The Gallimore Robotics Club is intended to be an umbrella club that supports multiple competitive robotics teams as well as a learning environment for all students at Gallimore Elementary.

Q:  Is this the same as First Lego League(FLL)/First Lego League Junior (FLLJ)?
A:  No, but there may be some Gallimore Robotics Club members that choose to create FLL/FLLJ teams in the future. From what I have gathered, it is too late to start a team this year.

Q:  What does it cost to join?
A:  Since we are just staring out, that is unknown. Costs will be determined by the type of hardware we choose to invest in, leagues we will decide to join, and how cool we want our team shirts to be.

Q:  My child has no previous experience with robotics/programming. Can they still join?
A:  Your child does not need any previous experience to get something out of robotics club. They just need to have the willingness to learn and a positive attitude!

Q:  How much time will participation in the club take?
A:  I am not sure yet as it will be based on which leagues we choose to enter and how hard we want to compete in those leagues. From what I gather, there is no maximum to the amount of time that could be spent on these teams, and it will likely vary from team to team. My child is involved in many different after school activities and will be unable to put forth as much time as others likely will be able to so I expect to see variances between teams.

Q:   Do I need to have my own robot/computer?
A:  No, but the club currently has no hardware either as we are just starting out. One of the objectives of the first meeting is to determine which type and how much hardware we need to procure. However, I would like to know if you do have your own hardware!

Q:  Why did you create a separate website?  Why not just create a group on facebook?
A:  I asked myself that same question seconds after creating that site.  This may end up going there.

Q:  What is the difference between Gallimore Robotics Club and NASA?
A:  Funding  

Q:  My question isn't answered here. How do I get my question answered?
A:  You can find me on the Gallimore Roadrunner facebook group. If you have a question, it is very likely that others do as well so please ask and I'll post the answer here.

New site, New meeting, New info!

In order to continue the ramp up of the Gallimore Robotics Club, I've created this site (www.gallimorerobotics.com) and have set up an informational meeting for next Wednesday 11/11 at 7:00 PM at the school. The founder of the Hoben Robotics club has graciously offered to come and share his experiences in creating his club as well as instruct us on some of the different competitive options available to us for all ages at Gallimore Elementary. Additionally, we will discuss how to obtain hardware needed to get started, discuss when the first official club meeting will be, and create the leadership structure for the club. The information will be aimed at the parents this meeting, but I anticipate that we will be having our first official club meeting the following Tuesday. I look forward to seeing you all there, and please feel free to reach out to me with any questions via The Gallimore Roadrunner facebook page.

CLARIFICATION:  Wednesday night is a parent-only meeting.  There will be no student activities for our first meeting.