Down here in Georgia, we have recently been having huge snowstorms/ice storms. Unlike up north, Georgia is completely unprepared for winter weather. Because of this, all school (and after school activities) have been closed since Sunday…
How do other teams work around this? Just work extra hard? =/
Speaking from an up-north standpoint, we have at least a couple days a season where the weather is too treachorous to come in. However, we do not work at the school and everyone on the team knows that rain or shine, snow or ice, unless they get a call for a mentor we’re building robots - even when school is cancelled.
Early in the season though, it shouldn’t be all that difficult to do some phone conferencing and brainstorm concepts that way. We have to do it on a regular basis where I work since a lot of our suppliers are out of the country (China, Italy, India, South Africa).
Fortunately, this happened early! Spend the time brain storming, talking with people on the phone or online, and figuring out how your going to play the game. You can come up with detailed drawings of what you want to build, detailed lists of all the parts you’ll need (Tip: Just because school is closed doesn’t mean FedEx is too… get parts orders in as soon as you know what you’ll need!) and in general just spend all this time focusing on the fundamentals of your design. If you come in with a strong design and game plan when the school opens, you’ll find that things move a lot faster!
Students can be working on designs, writing Woodie Flowers award entries, Chairmans, business plans or planning a Ziti dinner through the marvelous document management tool PTC provides, Windchill.
I am at work today, and there is no school due to, as of the last text message I got from my daughter at home, the 22 inches of snow in the back yard that has fallen since midnight. I know there are a bunch of Rosie kids doing their CAD work and writing…
And it helps to know some of the Town Dept of Public Works snow plow drivers to cut a path into the High School tech ed wing.
Coming from Northern Indiana, bad weather is something we plan on having. Even if school is canceled, we still meet and build. They only time we don’t meet is if one of the mentors calls us. Much like Tom, we still work no matter what.
Last season my team lost 3 weeks, 2 due to snow and 1 due to our principal not letting us work during midterms week. We wound up putting in a lot of late nights sometimes not leaving the school until 2 am or later Friday and Saturday Nights. We spent all day Thursday at our first competition finishing up our robot.
The first few days shouldn’t really be used for building anything except the field, which obviously you can’t do if you meet at the school. The keyword there is BUILDING! You still have plenty to do that you don’t need a shop for.
1.) Read all of the Rules
2.) Read all of the Rules again
3.) Begin deciding your strategy
4.) Re-Read all of the rules and get rid of any strategy ideas that violate the rules
5.) Research other teams robots from previous years (try looking at 2007).
6.) Re-read the rules to make sure the robots that you ‘like’ fit in the rules of this year.
7.) What about the minibot??? Figure this out.
And all of this can be done via phone call, skype, video chat, etc. with all of the other team members.
Good luck. (BTW We have lost today for work because of the weather… and I’m in New England)
In all honesty, I’d rather have a blizzard in week 1 than 1/4" of snow in week 5 or 6. They close schools around here in Northern Virginia for a single flake it seems sometimes.
We met as mentors last night since the students weren’t allowed to (even outside the school since it’s an ‘after school activity’ … wierd). Doing that allowed all of the mentors to have a couple of hours to get on the same page in terms of project management. We put our team values and pre-planning into the context of the game, and determined what the next steps would be. We also did some discussions on CAD sketches our students made, and picked 2 overall team prototypes to go forward with.
The really cool thing was, from Day 1 the students and mentors were mostly in agreement about the whats and hows for this game. Last night was all about finding the common design and iterating it to accomodate the multiple prototypes that will come in the next couple of weeks. This Week 1 snow day was a blessing in disguise.
Last year, due to “Snowmeggedon” (back to back blizzards), we lost 15 days during our build season - most of weeks 3 and 4, with a couple of other days thrown in as well. We worked via email, phone, etc… as much as was possible. We had 7 marathon days at the end before the ship date, and still only shipped a robot that was about 60% assembled. We had some amazing help at the Chesapeake Regional (a real big shout out to FRC 365 MOE, the Mircle Workerz! Your mobile team was a life saver!), as well as had the opportunity to also help a lot of teams. We were all in the same boat, so spent that time working with other teams to do the best we could. If the weather continues to be an issue, contact other teams in your area and see if there are some things that you all can do together. Contact your regional working committee and see if you and other teams can get additional support during your competition. Because of this, National Instruments sent several labview experts to assist teams, as well.
We know how you feel. Last season we also lost 2 weeks of build. Knowing that a storm was coming, we got as much as we could from the school but it was still very hard. We met at houses and worked as much as we could. We ended up finishing a lot of our robot at the competition. The snow also slowed our parts orders which was not helpful. I would just recommend meeting as much as you can, but keep the road conditions in mind and keep people safe. Like people said before, online discussions can be very helpful. Encourage students to design on their own and keep coming up with build plans. Good luck with your season.
We feel for you, its tough dealing with weather because its such an unknown. Just make the best of it. Plenty of good suggestions already in this thread so theres stuff that can get done. I’m assuming most of your team has access to the team website/email/forum whatever it may be. See if you can start organizing some ideas without being in the same room!
We’re right around the 20" mark here in Boston and it is still coming down strong!
Here in Ithaca, they canceled after school activities for snow. Six inches of snow. For whatever reason, we are classified in the list of activities canceled, and even after begging the administration, we are still out a day.
Time to go study for that math test
In all reality, il be using the extra time to work on a cad representation of a part im working on.
We have had a surprisingly light winter here this year (I can almost hear Murphy coming along with his snow clouds because I said that). There is really not much a school based team can do when school has been called off, except make sure team members have something they can do at their house to contribute to the team, without needing to have a meeting.
Good luck to all the teams having trouble meeting because of the weather. (and everyone else of course)