DEWBOT VII Chairmans Award

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Team 1640 will be submitting a Chairman's Award package for the 2011 FRC season. The submission includes an Executive Summary and Judge's Information, Essay with 4 Photos, and a 1-3 minute Video. This is the working page for the whole project.

Chairman's Team

Mentor: Siri Maley
Contacts: Rita Wall, David Namerow, Jen Stanton (video), Mike Rizzo (video), Clem McKown (photos & TIMS), Foster Schucker (previous submission DEWBOT VI Chairmans Award)
Students: Nicole, Sasha, Carly, Ian


All other deadlines will be set at the Chairman's meeting the first week of build.

28 Dec Finger Lakes Research - Done
30 Dec Philly Research - Done
5 Jan Executive Summary Facts - Done
7 Jan Executive Summary Draft 1, Pre-Build Photos, Pre-Build Video/Storyboard, Regional Decision - Done
Season Weekly Executive Summary, Essay, Judge's Info, Photos (all done), Video (in progress)
17 Feb Executive Summary, Essay, Photos, Regional Decision Deadlines - Done
24 Feb Judge's Information Deadlines

Executive Summary

Team Sab-BOT-age, also known as Team 1640, is the Downingtown Area Robotics team. This team is currently sponsored by Boeing, Arkema, Paratherm, ASME, Wamac, and Downingtown Area School District.
Impact on Participants
In our 7 years of existence, 1640 has grown immensely. Once completely unknown even in school, our is now recognized as a valuable organization throughout the community. Many of our alumni go on to excellent universities with diverse skills in engineering, teamwork, communication and leadership. The mentors, who once taught us to jury-rig kitbots, now work beside us on complex design endeavors. The 2004 team would not recognize today’s organization.
Role Model, Things to Emulate
Our goal is to create a culture of constant growth: we believe in iterative improvement in everyday life as much as in design. It’s this philosophy that pulled us through losing our facilities, school, and many mentors 4 years ago and has allowed us to thrive and grow every year since. We constantly reach out to local teams of all ages to strengthen the STEM community. In addition, each year students and mentors collaborate to pick several areas—from design to teambuilding—to focus on improving.
Impact of the FIRST Program on our Team and Community
1640 actively embraces FIRST’s ideal to inspire and recognize science. Our 2006 VEX startup team has exploded to include over 100 roboteers. We’re quickly expanding our year-old FLL program from 2 to 8 teams in order to reach more of the hundreds of interested students. 7 of our members serve on the core committee organizing the district’s new STEM Academy. Team 1640 can be found spreading FIRST’s vision to kids and adults alike at numerous STEM and community events throughout the region!
Team’s Innovative Methods to spread the FIRST Message
1640 promotes FIRST in many ways: school announcements, brochures, community events and news media. Most importantly though, we know seeing is believing. Our shop is always open to the interested public, and our open houses and community booths always draw a crowd. We meet them one-on-one, giving shop and pit tours, helping kids earn “Robot Driver Licenses”, and introducing everyone to the magic of the FIRST family.
Describe the Strength of your Partnership
Team 1640 has 3 major partnerships. Our affiliation with Downingtown Area SD has moved us from a struggling team to a robotics showcase bolstering DASD’s reputation and ability to obtain grants and state support. As students, our team partnership has taught us more valuable life skills than we can count, and our alumni continue to leverage them in college and beyond. Finally, our collaboration with team parents has brought the whole team closer together and made all our partnerships stronger.
Team’s Communication Methods and Results
We employ a wiki-based website ( so that all roboteers and mentors can share their thoughts, work and goals without any special skills. This has allowed us to open much of our design process and organization to the public and has earned us accolades from numerous other teams. Beyond FRC, we present our FIRST message at Girls in Gear, GETT, school science fairs, and district, community and sponsor events. Our campaign for FIRST has branded us as a pillar of the local STEM community.
Other matters of interest to the FIRST judges
1640 is hugely proud of our growth in the last 7 years. Our founding mentor, a physics teacher, writes: "I took a big risk with no mentors and little money…[but I had] a dream of creating a team that would…become a self-sustaining entity." Although he’s is now disabled and unable to participate, he’s happy to say we’ve surpassed his wildest dreams, going from a back-of-the-classroom activity to an award-winning organization renowned throughout the community.

Judge's Information

This is similar to the executive summary questions. We should have it from last year as well, but we [Siri] need to get it. Contact: Clem

Due Date: 24 Feb


Team Sab-BOT-age has experienced slow and steady growth across the last seven years. From our start with one mentor and eight students we have grown into a team of 20 students and 15 mentors with 3 alumni mentors. At the same time, our engineering skills have increased. Our robots have gone from unassuming kit based robots to highly engineered ones. Students have gone from mechanical novices to building advanced drive trains and custom transmissions with tight tolerances.

Today, our robots are developed mechanically one hundred percent (100%) in the CAD software, Autodesk Inventor, allowing us to predict, within five percent (5%), the actual final weight, and configuration of our robot. Mentors have gone from the basics to teaching advanced engineering. Our programming has gone from simple tank drive to a pivot drive with three different modes, and an autonomous mode that can score from 40 feet away.

Our robots are doing well. Two seasons ago, we won the Rockwell Control Award at Chesapeake for our unique drive train and control system, and were a member of the winning alliance at PARC XII. In 2010, at the Philadelphia Regional, we won the Xerox Creativity Award for our 4-wheel independent pivot drive train, the Engineering Excellence Award at Bridgewater-Raritan Battle Royale hosted by FRC team 303, and the Gracious Professionalism Award at PARC XIII.

In 2005 we spent nine weeks building and driving the robot. Once our regional competition was over, so was the robotics season. Now robotics is a yearlong activity, a robot from one year is the springboard to the next robot. This season, we are going to 2 regional contests, the world competition and 5 off-season events. Last year our robot construction was completed in time for us to attend a pre-season event!

Up until 2005, we were focused on building a robot and not much else. In the last few years we have focused more on community events and spreading the FIRST model of teaching our future engineers that science can be fun. In 2006, we started a single FVC team with a robot and 4 roboteers. Today that has expanded to 10 robots and over 100 roboteers. Five of these teams have qualified to compete at the World Championships! In addition to our FVC teams, we started four Downingtown Area FLL teams. In 2010, we added 2 more teams and hope for further growth.

Our school district has also noticed our growth and maturing process. We have gone from a money sink and a consumer of space to a partner in shaping the district’s technology planning. We have been asked to help demonstrate robotics as a 21st century school core competency. We have been instrumental in getting state funding for our school district by being an example of STEM in action. The Downingtown Area School District is creating a new STEM Academy and seven of our team members were selected to be on the core decision making team out of a twenty member group. We are building on this partnership as another way to spread the FIRST message. Hands on robotics programs designed around FIRST ideals to inspire our future engineers.

We have arrived at this stage in our development by following several simple steps. First, is to follow the core values of FIRST, and inspire students about engineering. It is a core activity and a core focus. We use every opportunity to inspire students.

Second is to look around at all of the other FIRST teams. There are many exemplary award-winning teams in the FIRST community and we are inspired by their example. We adapt what we have learned to refine and improve our organization.

Third is a process of continuous improvement. Each year, we select a small number of areas to improve upon. We work very diligently to enhance them. In the past years we have worked on improving our non-engineering skills. It has gotten better; this essay is an example. The Chairman’s award is a way to stretch our team, to have goals and a measuring stick on how well we are doing in reaching them. We have updated our CPR and First Aid skills as well as improved our programming skills.

Fourth is telling everyone about what we are doing. The old adage is that advertising works and we advertise whenever possible. We have a wiki based website, This means that roboteers and mentors can and do update the website without special skills. It is our primary collaboration tool and memory book. Everything about the team, robots, engineering, and activities is available. It is one stop shopping for everything we do. Also, some of our mentors and team members publish robotics articles on Facebook.

We find that hands on demonstrations are most efficient in lighting the spark in a potential engineer. Once you drive a robot you are fascinated and intrigued. In our area, community days are popular gatherings and we attend the four closest to us, such as Uwchlan Day, July 11, 2010, and Good Neighbor Day in Downingtown on June 24, 2010. We have hosted an open house event and have welcome other FIRST teams from our community to visit our workspace to get a better idea of what FRC Team 1640 and our robotics programs are all about. We are also planning a community outreach event on April 11th, 2011 to celebrate National Robotics Week.

We have presented robotics for the Girl Scouts "Girls in Gears" program at Ramp Riot. We brought robots and our female roboteers and mentors to the Girls Exploring Tomorrow's Technology (GETT) programs. A number of our sponsors have their own outreach programs and they have asked us to come present to the children of their employees. The most recent of which being Bentley, who sadly is not our sponsor anymore, inviting us to the FIATECH presentation on October 5, 2010.

Our outreach into our community generates interest in robotics and the many FIRST programs. The message is getting out; we have gone from eight to over one hundred roboteers that are part of Downingtown Area Robotics. More importantly, there are smaller robotics programs springing up around us.

Fifth is that we have finished the legal paperwork to become a 501(c) non-profit entity. This allows us to open our robotics program to any high school for our FRC and VEX programs, and to any elementary school for our FLL program.

Our current team Co-Captain and a four year robot veteran says "I’ve known about the high school FRC team since middle school because my older sister joined the team her sophomore year of high school. Now as a senior I look back at pictures of my freshman year and laugh at myself seeing how far I’ve come. All I think about while looking at the pictures is about how hands off I look, and how little I knew. Robotics has taught me a lot about electronic devices, using machinery, and how many different specialties it takes to successfully develop a useful product. As a junior, I am Co-Captain of the team and a member of the competition, mechanical, electrical, and media teams. After 3 years robotics feels like a major part of my high school life."

In the past three years one hundred percent (100%) of our students have gotten into college, and ninety percent (90%) have been accepted by their first choice of colleges. One of our alumni is part of a Penn State University honors program that only takes the top two percent (2%) of students.

Mentors benefit from our partnership. One mentor says "I love teaching kids skills they won’t get in school. The best is while I watch, they have that 'Ah Ha' moment where it all clicks together." On the other hand, a 7-year mentor says, "It's a second childhood for me with better tools."

Parents have also benefited from FIRST and Downingtown Area Robotics. Our total scholarship money is increasing. Last year our graduating roboteers received over one hundred thousand dollars in grants and scholarships. Our partnerships have been successful and we continue to strengthen them every day.

We continue to work the partnerships to ensure our sustainability. We have a robotics-learning path from elementary school to high school, a constant stream of roboteers for the future. Our expanding pool of roboteers means we have access to an expanding pool of engineer and scientist parents that translates into more mentors. We are also starting to see the return of former roboteers with new technology degrees to be mentors.

We are seeing repeat sponsors, but more importantly new sponsors. The days of big dollar sponsors are gone, but we are able to fill funding needs by smaller sponsors. The improved relationship with the district has secured our robotics workshops and training rooms. This means we will not need to “bug out” to a barn during a teachers strike like we did twice in 2008.

The founding team members would not recognize today's team or robot. But they would be proud to know that they were a catalyst for the numerous improvements that we have made. They would be pleased that they had started us down FIRST path and that we are moving steadily and surely along that path.

Our founding mentor, who is disabled and not with us, writes, "I took a big risk with no mentors and little money and applied for the NASA grant with a dream of creating a team that would grow each year and become a self-sustaining entity. My greatest joy is watching that team grow in every way that FIRST envisioned."

FIRST and Downingtown Area Robotics – inspiring students about science, technology and engineering!


We selected these pictures to go along with our essay.


This is least well-defined job. Anyone interested in video production, please contact Siri.

Storyboard/Previous Video: 7 Jan
Preliminary Editing: TBD
Filming & sorting throughout season
Final Editing: 25 Feb
Due Date: 8 Apr Philadelphia Regional

Other Work


The student presentation team needs to practice this.

Team Selection: TBD
Presentation Draft: TBD
Dress Rehearsal: TBD
Presentation Date: 8 Apr Philadelphia Regional

Regional Decision

We need to decide the regional at which to submit both this and the Woodie Flowers nomination (Finger Lakes or Philadelphia).

Finger Lakes Data
# Teams: 44
# Teams with Chairman's History: 4 (188, 217, 340, 1511)
# Eligible Previous Chairman's Teams: 4
# Eligible Teams Active since 2007: 4 (10 awards)
# Regional Awards: 14
Dates: 3 in 2010, 4 in 2009, 1 in 2008, 2 in 2007, 2 in 2006, 1 in 2005, 1 in 2002

Philadelphia Data
# Teams: 56
# Teams with Chairman's History: 8 (103, 272, 341, 357, 365, 395, 433, 1403)
# Eligible Previous Chairman's Teams: 6 (not 341, 365)
# Eligible Teams Active since 2007: 2 (3 awards)
# Regional Awards: 9
Dates: 2 in 2010, 1 in 2009, 1 in 2006, 2 in 2004, 3 in 2003

Recommendation: Philadelphia - submitted