At the beginning of the season we didn’t understand JAVA or Block Programming; the choices available to run our robot. JAVA looked really complicated and our coaches had never worked with it before. So they wouldn’t have been able to give us much direction if we had gone that route. Block Programming, while not nearly the same, reminded us a small bit of what we had used for so many years in FLL. Because we had so much to learn in many other areas, we chose to focus on this program to get us going.
We had to experiment quite a bit to gain an understanding of it. We watched tutorials and then jumped in feet first to see if we could swim. We may not have all the answers now, but we can keep our head above water.
Besides learning the program itself, one challenge we had was to patiently wait for our robot builders to come up with something concrete enough to program. In the meantime we would go online and try and learn more about what we were working on.
One other problem we had was sometimes our remote controllers would lose connection to the phone and we had to unplug it from the phone for 10 seconds. This would not be good during competition. So, we 3D printed a phone holder and attached it upright on our robot. It definitely allowed for a better connection. Despite these challenges, every day we would plan out our goals and do our best to accomplish them. If we didn’t succeed we’d plan to tackle them the next day.
If we were to give advice to teams following us it would be to never give up and be willing to go the extra mile. We made the extra effort to find time after school to work on our projects without the distraction or interference from the other groups on our team. We were willing to learn something very foreign to us and have enjoyed the journey to get where we are.
Just know that while it may be challenging, after awhile it will get easier and the hard work will pay off in the end.