Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Magnum PSI YouTube Video

See Magnum PSI on YouTube

Mission Accomplished: Meet Magnum PSI

Meet Magnum PSI, our outreach robot.

We decided earlier this year that we would set a goal of building a robot in the off season (outside of our regular FRC build season) to tackle some things we had not yet learned to do. We decided the best use of the time and money we were going to spend on this challenge would come in the form of a robot we can share with the public. We want everyone to see what students can accomplish and want to share that with the younger generation so they can get excited about engineering too.

We were determined to learn how to use pneumatics so we felt comfortable with it come build season. What better way to use compressed air than to launch t-shirts at football games? That was our thought, anyway. We also wanted to upgrade our drive system by including a transmission. The third challenge we set  was to have the robot completely drawn in a 3D modeling program so we could order extruded aluminum pieces that would fit together perfectly. We spend a lot of time during build season cutting and re-cutting our framing pieces and fabricating brackets and corner connectors. If we can truly design first, then we will save a lot of build time. This leaves more time for testing and driver practice.

Another change for us during this build season was that every member of the team was part of a technical subsystem. Our historian and public relations students became members of the build team. They turned wrenches, wired electronics, learned to solder, and to use power tools. Since most of these students were the female members of our team, I was especially excited about this. It is my goal to get more female students involved in STEM and in my Engineering Technology program and the robotics team.

We set out on this mission on August 5th. Our initial goal was to have the robot completed by the first home football game in September. As the project progressed we realized this time frame, while doable, was not ideal. We decided to extend our deadline to Homecoming, October 4th. We wanted to take our time to make sure everything was just right and that we learned everything we could with this project.

While the last week of build was hectic, we accomplished our goal. Magnum PSI attended the homecoming pep rally and threw confetti over the football players when the homecoming king was announced. He also rode in the homecoming parade with our team. Finally, he launched t-shirts, footballs, and confetti into the stands during the homecoming football game that evening.

Homecoming Parade

Tiger Football Game

If you are curious about the name ...
We posted photos on our public Facebook page and Twitter account throughout the build phase of this project as a way to share our progress. (I'm sure you'll agree that every good robot needs a name.) When it came time to name the robot, we came up with a list of ideas then let the public decide for us by letting them vote on our Facebook page.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

2013 Youth Engineering Camp

This summer we held our first Youth Engineering Camp for students ages 7-10. The idea was piloted by our team captain, Dugan. We had ten team members and twelve camp participants. The week focused on teaching kids about science and engineering through hands-on activities. We built mousetrap powered cars, straw rockets and model rockets, and had several engineering challenges including paper airplane contests and an egg drop lander.

I enjoyed watching my students learn what it's like to run a classroom and help younger kids with projects. I think they earned a new respect for the teaching profession. I definitely earned a new respect for elementary school teachers. The week was a great success that we plan to make it an annual event.

We started the week with some fun icebreaker activities and asked each group to come up with a favorite food and a descriptive word. That's how our interesting group names were formed.

 Toxic Yellow Cupcakes

Mega Green Ribs

Juicy Orange Watermelons

Hard Blue Crabs

Campers meeting Maxwell, our 2012 Competition Robot

Thank you FPL!

GET SMART would like to thank Florida Power & Light for continuing to support our team. I would like to send a special thanks to Mr. Jeff Simmons from FPL who has continued to procure funding for our team. Mr. Simmons' son Jacob was a critical member of our team during his senior year, our rookie season of 2011. Mr. Simmons continues to support our team and recently paved the way for us to receive a $1,000 sponsorship from FPL's education program.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thank you Atkins

GET SMART is proud to announce a new Einstein level sponsor. Atkins, a global engineering firm with an office here in Lake City, presented the team with a check for $5,000 at the school board meeting last night. We greatly appreciate the support and hope this is the beginning of a long and productive partnership. Special thanks to Mr. Shawn Justice, PE of Atkins for applying for this community funding for our team.

Shawn Justice, PE from Atkins & Team Coach Celena Crews

Members of the team and school board along with our principal and Mr. Justice

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Fundraising

Since the beginning we've talked about summer fundraising. Well thanks to a very motivated team captain named Dugan and his team members, we've finally accomplished the mission of summer fundraising. So far we've had a Mochi Night, a Ruby Tuesday's dining to donate, a carwash at First Federal, and a Pelican's day. Thank you so much to these local businesses for helping our team this summer.

 Even our mentors work hard to bring in funds
 Even younger siblings help out around here. 
 We know how to put the "FUN" in fundraisers.

We have a dancing Carlos

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

2013 Youth Engineering Camp - Hosted by GET SMART and the CHS Engineering Technology Program

We've put together a great week long engineering camp aimed at students 8 to 11 years of age. The camp will be held August 5th - 9th in Room 812 of Columbia High School. All supplies, lunch, and snacks will be provided. Lots of fun learning, hands-on projects and outdoor activities. Please email us at if you are interested in registering your child or would like more information. As of the time of this posting we have nine spots remaining.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Where do I begin?

So many great things going on around here lately that I don't know where to begin this post. We had a successful yet stressful season, raised a lot of much needed money, and learned much along the way. After spending most of the first day trying to make it through inspection at the Orlando Regional, we were alliance captains and made it to the semifinals. We even spent a good bit of time in the number one spot during the first day of qualifying rounds. I think we even surprised ourselves. Our robot, Agent 99, took a couple of falls from the tower and was in need of repairs that we couldn't make on the sidelines during those last matches. Regardless, it was another great year for GET SMART and our success really has the team pumped up for off-season events and our future in general. 

I'll leave you with some photos from competition. 
Our drivers, Chandler and Timmy

Our team captain, Hayley

Agent 99 climbing the tower in Orlando

Our travel team at the end of the Orlando Regional

The team is busy planning fundraisers, helping out a Lego league team-in-the-making, and planning a week long engineering camp for 3rd - 5th graders later this summer. I'll post more about the camp soon. If you are interested, email us at for more information. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Frisbeez in the Trap

It's been a while but there's good reason ... we've been super busy! We are almost at the end of the 2013 build season. We have a fantastic group of creative, motivated team members this year. We have 28 students and a few new mentors this year. Our PR team is organized and working very hard. We have an Inventor model of our robot. We've been out in the community doing fundraisers and a festival. Our website has gone through quite a bit of positive change. All this and we have our own music video. These kids rock!

Please watch our video, Frisbeez in the Trap, on YouTube and help us by sharing with your friends.