FRC Class Curriculum Help

So team 4761 is coming into our 3rd year in existence (WOO!) and we’ve been thinking about creating an FRC/ Robotics class at our high school to help solidify this team/ program into our school and to give more students who have other time commitments a chance to be a part of our team and to experience this program. This being my last year, I also really want to help keep this team alive and growing after I graduate and I thought that a class would help with this. I wanted to be able to pitch the idea for the class this year before I graduate and get it incorporated into the school within the next year or two.

So I was wondering how other teams that have incorporated an FRC class at school have structured their curriculum to get students interested and involved with the team while making sure the class doesn’t attract kids looking for an “easy A” but rather kids who are truly willing to put in the effort.

I do have a rough summary of a curriculum that I have in mind although it is a bit long. If anyone is willing to have a read let me know and I will post it.

Thanks,
Chirag

I would definitely be interested in seeing what you have.

The way I am currently imagining structuring the class would be to start off the first week explaining what FRC is and having the students research into the program. It would then progress into looking at some past games and seeing how they were played, and even start brainstorming ideas on how they would play the games themselves.

Then we would jump into learning basic technical skills and engineering concepts required for making a robot (gears and gear ratios, mechanical advantage, materials, machining, pneumatics, basic programming, CAD, circuits and electronics, drivetrains, manipulators, etc.) With each skill there would be a mini project where students would apply what they learned using parts and materials we use to build the actual robot.

After these skills have been learned, we would then have a “mini build season” where the students would choose a challenge from a past year and build a robot to play that game. Due to how resource intensive that could get if they built a full sized FRC robot, they would probably use VEX kits for a smaller scale.

Now all of this would happen in the time leading up to Kickoff (~4 months). During build season, the students would use the class time to work on the actual robot looking at strategy, designing, cost analysis, building etc. Basically a normal build meeting but during school.

After bag day and into competition season, the students would continue to work on small refinements that could be added/ changed at the competitions. They could also look at other teams’ robots and analyze their solutions to the game from strategic and engineering standpoints.

After competition season, the class will then be used to send out sponsor “thank you” letters, plan demo days, work on outreach, plan recruitment for incoming freshmen, etc

The class would probably be for juniors and seniors only so that the students will be taking or have already taken physics and precalc courses as this class would use basic skills from those classes. The class would also have a blog that is linked to our team website where the students would be required to post every so often about what they are doing in the class and what they’ve learned.

To be able to take the class, students would need to submit a form signed by our teacher mentor. This would be done as a sort of filter to make sure we don’t get students looking for an “easy A” like I said before. Our mentor would talk to the student and make a judgement on if they should be accepted. There could also be a more detailed application form required. Of course we would have to see what happens the first year or two before we can determine if we really need to filter the students like this.

There are still a ton of other aspects I am still thinking over like whether or not this class would be a graded GPA affecting class or an elective that is pass or fail. I also do not yet know how the students would be graded or determined as “Passed” or “Failed”.

This is what I have so far and I know that it is far from perfect. Any feedback would be awesome.

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We at 3211 developed this full curriculum recently.
Not sure how it will work, but as a master plan im very happy with the result.

it was inspired by some material from team 1114.
I’d also love to get some input on that =]

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My team (4272) has a class as part of the school day. Last year, we spent the entire class time as just extra time for all robotics projects. While that worked well in the spring during the build season, it made the fall season a bit boring and we felt we weren’t utilizing our time. For this upcoming year, we created a full curriculum for the fall class. We broke up the class into several modules with some mini-workshops in between. The basics of it are below:

Module 1 - Introduction to the class, the team, and FIRST

Module 2 - Good workmanship

Mini-workshop: Resume making

Module 3 – Materials and Parts

Module 4 – Tools and machining

Mini-workshop: Branding and team image, spirit, social media, and marketing

Module 5 – General Mechanical Design

Module 6 – Electrical Work

Mini-workshop: Outreach and Fundraising

Module 7 – Programming

The fall class is supposed to teach students skills they would not normally have the time to learn during the build season. If you would like, we have curriculum for this more fleshed out that we can send to you.

In addition, we have all the materials from when we asked the school for a robotics class and are putting together step-by-step instructions on how to get a FIRST robotics class at your school

Email the team if you are interested! [email protected]

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Thanks for the offer! I just sent you guys an email.
That outline looks good. Basically what I was thinking of earlier. But yeah any additional material and information would be awesome!

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Chriag- Sorry for the long post.

First off I want to say that I appreciate your spirit for wanting to help form a robotics class at your school in order to leave behind a better program than when you started. Our school recently switched from an electronics program to a robotics program two years ago, and we are currently looking to fully taking it to a pre-engineering course in the next two years so i have been looking into this quite a bit lately. First off, I suggest searching the forums as there is a lot of information here on chief of how other teams have went about doing this. Secondly, you will need to make sure the class is built on the standards that your state provides, http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/current.html here they are for reference. This is probably the most important part of the process and you should probably ask the most veteran or newest teachers at your school to help you out with this task. The major principal of it is that the class needs to be able to fulfill enough educational standards in order to get the school support. The nice part of this is at quick glance it looks like for MA you can fulfill over half the Science and Technology standards in one program. My advice to you is look through these standards and you ideas about what the program should look like and try to match up as many as possible. Examples can be wiring the electrical system of the robot can be used to explain the standards in electrical energy. Cadding the robot allows for the modeling standards to be met etc. Finally you will need administration support to pull it through. Try to get as many principals, superintendents, or school board members involved in your program as possible in order for them to see the enthusiasm and growth of the students in robotics. With their support it is much more easy to get a classroom class established. Also it is more easy to find funding with the higher ups on board. :wink: If you do these three things then you will be in good shape for having your goal of a robotics class come to light.

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I’d like to affirm Nicholsjj: Getting buy-in from the people who set the curriculum is the most difficult part. You have to meet whatever state standards are in existence for math and science and squeeze in the robotics program to describe as many points of contact as possible. A number of states have adapted something called “A through G,” a set of standards that make something like a for-credit FRC-style building program difficult to fit into. If the class is offered as an elective, the honors and college-prep students will be reluctant to take the class: An “A” will pull down their gpa (as unlikely as it sounds). Keep asking the questions!

Now we have convinced our school board to let us juniors have our current engineering class as a robotics class, which is awesome expect for the fact that the school board is forcing the junior class to work on 2 other robotics competitions (FTC and BEST). So we decided that we will attempt to work on FRC by using FTC and BEST as our in class training grounds. So my question is have any of you been in a similar situation and how did you go about it?

Looking at the MA guidelines, it looks like we definitely could satisfy most of those requirements for an engineering class. But that definitely helps with giving the curriculum a more defined shape. Thanks nicholsjj!

As for getting school board members, the principal, and superintendent on board, I feel like that shouldn’t be too hard as long as we follow those guidelines and really show how beneficial the class is. We recently gave the school committee a presentation on our team and our last two seasons and they were extremely impressed by us and FIRST as a whole. They said they were eager to help in any way possible so that seems like a good sign. Plus our school has recently been trying to emphasize engineering in the school with PLTW classes so I think this may just be the perfect time to ask.