In 2011, we transitioned from a FIRST Lego League (FLL) team to a FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team. Our team, the Blue Gearticks, had received the Champgearticksions Award at the Massachusetts State Championship in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, thus earning a spot at the World Festival in St. Louis, where we had won the first place Programming Award in 2010 and the second place Champions Award behind Falcons Japan in 2011. Many of us had been participating in FLL for four years and we decided that we wanted to try something new, so we began a new FTC team, the Gearticks.

As we have gotten older, many of the original Blue Gearticks members have graduated and left the team, but every member of our FTC team has had experience in FLL and we believe that a foundation in FLL is part of what has led us to success with our FTC team.

This season, we have welcomed many new middle school members from the FLL program, to our FTC team. Older members have really enjoyed teaching the newer members about all the different aspects of FTC.

Teamwork: Teamwork is a huge factor in FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). When we transitioned from FLL to FTC, we brought our experience of working with each other and our coaches. Our experience allows us to share our ideas, respect each other, identify tasks, and identify team members to carrying out tasks.
We both work in small groups and hold whole-team strategy meetings. We use many different organizing tools, including Trell0, Google Drive, GrabCAD, GitHub, and Slack.
Gracious Professionalism is at the core of all that we do. Gracious Professionalism is about respect, integrity, and the importance of others. Success relies on forming alliances with other teams, despite the competitive nature of the game. We understand that FTC is not about winning, but rather about learning how to solve the problems of our world together and that we can only do this through cooperation.

Design Process: In FLL and in FTC, we do a lot of brainstorming and we have developed ways to make sure everyone has a voice in the conversation. We encourage and consider every idea, before we ultimately go forward with the design that translates best into reality (effectively, efficiently, androbot2 reliably solving the challenge).

Expense: FTC is a lot more expensive than FLL! Because of this, we discovered that importance of fundraising. We reach out to local businesses as well as larger corporations to help fund our season. Our sponsors support us by providing specific parts or services or a general donation, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without them. For more information on sponsors, visit our Sponsorship page.