2016 Team Information

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Most Recent Information is at the top.

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Email blasts will be posted here leading up to and during the competition.

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Email Blast #6 sent November 3

Hello teams!

Game Day is almost here!  

This week you should be putting the final touches on everything and be making travel plans.  Robot driver and spotter practice is the single largest factor to your team's success at this point of the contest.  BEST Award teams should also be polishing up the Marketing Presentations, exhibit booth, how to handle floor interviews, etc., are also important.  Find and read the judging rubrics on the
BESTinc.org website if you haven't already.

If you need to contact us for a Game Day emergency, please call or text Jon Spangler at 469-693-9168, Joel Graber at
214-926-9502, or page Bill Rock at 972.297.5817 and he'll return your call.  We will not be checking emails after noon on Friday.

Notebooks, Demographics forms, Graduating Senior and Outstanding Teacher nomination deadlines have all passed.  But if you still haven't submitted either notebook or demographic form, we'll demand one at robot check-in or you'll be on a hold until you turn them in (you know who you are!).


Event Location
(November 4-5)
Brookhaven College
3939 Valley View Ln.

Farmers Branch, TX  75244


We will be in building "T" in the gymnasium and its lobby, and will be using some of the rooms on the 2nd floor for Marketing Presentations.  See attached map for campus layout and bus parking.


Expect Internet access to be poor to non-existent.


Campus and related map links:

http://www.brookhavencollege.edu/about/maps/Pages/main-campus.aspx

Bus Parking and Visitor Park:

See attached map.  Buses can unload in front of building "T" and then park in the P-1 lot ("East 2"
), or buses can park and students can walk from the P-1 lot.  Visitors in cars and other small vehicles may park in P-1, or the near areas of P-2 ("East 1") and P-3 (Bldg "S" Parking) lots where parking is available.  Another event is occurring there this weekend and the parking lots will be marked off for them.

List of Teams Competing for the BEST Award (UIL or "traditional"):

These teams will have space and a table provided for a display booth and will be scheduled for the Marketing Presentation.  Please reply immediately if your team is not listed and you wanted to be listed, or if your team is listed and should not be listed.

Canton High School
EJ Conrad High School
Gilliam Collegiate Academy
Guyer High School
Harmony School of Business
Hawkins High School
The Hockaday School
Liberty Junior High School
Manthano Christian Academy
Marcus High School
Martins Mill High School
Newman Smith High School
North Dallas High School
North Hills Preparatory
North Mesquite High School
Parish Episcopal School
J.J. Pearce High School
Queen City High School
Sam Houston Middle School
St. Mark's School of Texas
Sunnyvale High School
Talented and Gifted Magnet (TAG Townview)
Tatum High School
W.T. White High School
Winnsboro High School
Woodrow Wilson High School



Friday Evening Check-In Info
(November 4) -
We will open the doors at 5:00 PM for robot compliance, booth setup, banners, pit tables, some Marketing Presentations, etc.; we will close at 9:00 PM.  


Distant schools may defer Friday activities with our approval.  We cannot do this for all teams as it would delay the start of the game on Saturday so we limit this offer to distant teams ("distant" at our discretion).  Please send an email to
Jon Spangler if you want to request deferred check-in and haven't already, and we'll let you know.  This would also impact your team's ability to set up the display booth and option to do your team's presentation on Friday evening.

Please have your robot ready to check in and plan to leave it overnight at the Game Day location.  Reread the game's generic rules on robot compliance to be sure you are ready.  Pit table setup will be available on Friday evening, too.


Check in procedure:  

- Please Inventory your RKit at your school to make sure you have it all, and bring the whole thing to check-in on Friday, on the robot or not.

- If there are missing pieces, you'll have a chance to bring them Saturday, or pay for them.

- We'll check that all parts are accounted for, and that your robot is in compliance to the rules.  Incomplete R-kits are subject to a cost to your team.  If that's the case, bring a checkbook to cover missing parts.  You may take your joystick controller, batteries, and battery chargers home after check-in if desired, but the robot is to remain at the gymnasium overnight.

- Bring both 7.2v batteries and the charger to check in.  Only these batteries and chargers are permitted.

- Check your robot for these common compliance issues before checking in:

    > Any kind of tape (other than blue painters tape) on any Rkit part like Cortex, Servos, motors, servo wires, etc.

    > Sharp points or sharp edges protruding.   You can file/cut/dremel these off, or cover them with foam.

    > Non-compliance material, random stuff picked up in the shop: eg 2x4 wood, unusual screws, etc.  
- Your Consumable Kit materials are yours to keep, but if you don't need some of them - we recycle!  Turn them in to us at Check-In.  It would help Dallas BEST keep this contest free to schools, be more cost efficient to sponsors, and environmentally friendly if you would bring back your unused Ckit.   Feel free to keep it if you have a use for it, such as other robotics contests, or prototyping in the off-season,  but if it is just going to be cluttering up your classroom or dumpster anyway, please bring it back.  We especially need any full, uncut, sheets of wood or plastic or metal or PVC pipe/tees/elbows, but even large remaining pieces can help us on future Hub built robots or fields.  We will have a reuse/recycling area at Game day check-in.
- If you still haven't turned in either your Engineering Notebook or Demographics form, you must do so at Check-In or your robot will be placed on a hold status until you do.

- Your team's optional t-shirt entry (an actual t-shirt, any size) should be turned in
at robot check-in (delayed to Saturday for distant teams with prior approval)

Free Raffle (tentative):

We have been given a working condition Roomba robot vacuum cleaner.  If your team is interested in taking it home with you to take apart or otherwise use, let us know at Check-In and we'll enter your team in the free raffle.  Winner to be announced at Game Day around lunch.


Display booths for BEST Award teams can be set up on Friday evening (preferred).  Saturday setup is an option, but time will be limited.  Remember that the size limit is 8'x8'x8' for both the Dallas hub contest as well as the regional Texas BEST and UIL BEST contests.  Prior year confusion and additional work for different sizes has been eliminated with the consistent dimensions. Wall power will be made available to all the display booths in a few common locations.  Please bring an extension cord if you want to use power.


Pit tables

May be set up on Friday evening or Saturday morning.  There will be no wall power at individual tables, but charging tables with wall power will be set up interspersed with the team pit tables.  You may temporarily run an extension cord to your pit table from the nearest outlet when needed, but please be very aware of the trip hazard and remove that cord when not in use.  Place your robot on your assigned pit table after passing the compliance check.


Team Number:

Your team number is found on the handle of the black R-kit case and should be a number between 151 and 200.  It must be conspicuously shown on your Robot. Our 2 prior Lion's Pride teams will keep their team number from last year.


Seeding Rounds Schedule

Will be available on Friday evening.


The Marketing Presentation tentative schedule for Friday night
:
Friday                Room 1                        Room 2

6-6:30                Parish Episcopal                Woodrow Wilson

6:30-7                Conrad HS                        Marcus
7-7:30                North Hills Preparatory        Martin's Mill

7:30-8                Gilliam                                Harmony School of Business

8-8:30                Manthano                        St. Mark's
8:30-9                Liberty Jr High                        Hockaday  

Bring your presentation on a USB thumb drive.  We cannot count on direct access to the room projector.

Actual room numbers will be provided at check-in.

Contact Michael Janis at
michael.janis@raytheon.com for any changes.


Game Day Info
(November 5) -

Saturday agenda

7:30 AM Door Open - distant school and Friday's rejected robot compliance check; complete pit and display booth setup
8:00 AM All drivers and spotters should be in the gymnasium
~8:30 AM Drivers & Spotters briefing (exact time to be determined and will be announced)
8:45 AM Opening Ceremony and 1st round robots on the Ready Line
9:00 AM Seeding Matches begin!  Marketing Presentations resume.  Judging begins.
~noon  1 hour Lunch Break, on your own (see below for local on/off campus restaurant suggestions)
~1:15 PM Resume Seeding Matches and then Wildcard Match (based on notebook scores)
~2:30 PM Semifinal Matches start after Wildcard Match
~3:00 PM Final Matches start after Semifinal Matches
~3:30 PM Results Announced and Recognized

 
Due Saturday morning:

Robot check in for distant schools (by arrangement) and recheck for non-compliant robots from Friday night.


The Marketing Presentation schedule for Saturday will be available on Friday night.

Bring your presentation on a USB thumb drive.  We cannot count on direct access to the room projector.


Number of Seeding Rounds expected to be played:

We estimate 6 matches per team in seeding rounds, but emphasize that it may get cut to 5 depending on time constraints and any unforeseen delays.  That includes how fast we can turn the field around between rounds, so please be at the staging area with your robot ready to go one round before your next scheduled round.  Also please be ready to exit the field immediately after your round has finished and scoring has been completed and signed.


Lunch

We'll announce the time for the lunch break around 11:00, aiming to take that break starting just before noon, returning around 1:15. Listen to the announcements for more details.  For lunch (on your own), you may bring in food, have food delivered, or go out to one of the local restaurants, but be mindful of the game restart time and your seeding schedule.  

The area around Brookhaven College has many places to eat, take out, or have delivery arranged.  We suggest most any detailed map (Google or other) or any of the restaurant apps to help you locate a suitable lunch source.  Again, you are on your own for lunch.

There are vending machines in the Student Services Building "S".  The Subway Sandwich Shop in building "S" is NOT scheduled to be open on Friday evening or Saturday.

Weather permitting, there are tables and open areas outside the building that can be used for team lunches.  If the weather is bad, we'll have to be flexible.

There may be a Brookhaven student group operating a concession table, selling snacks and drinks throughout the day at a location that will be convenient to the event.  However, we have not been able to confirm that.

What do we do if we don't make the semi-finals?

We'd like all the teams to stay and cheer on the other teams through to the final results.  If you must leave early, we understand.  Whenever you leave, please strip your robot of the returnable kit parts and turn it in (to be inventoried) before you leave, unless your team is advancing to Texas BEST
or you leave an appropriate deposit ($900 by check) with us to hold onto the kit until December for demonstrations and other purposes.  Before you tear down your robot - watch at least through the Wildcard Match right after the last seeding match.  You wouldn't want to miss your 2nd chance!  (It's happened!!)

Teams advancing to the Texas BEST Regional Contest
Dallas BEST expects to send a total of 8 teams to the combined regional Texas BEST / UIL BEST contest this year, broken down as follows:
      top 2 Small School UIL BEST Award teams
      top 3 Large School UIL BEST Award teams
      top 2 (non-UIL) BEST award winners
      top 1 Game Only contest winner.
If one or more teams are in the advancing positions in more than one category, we have a formula to determine the advancing teams and will announce them with the awards after the final matches.

Please follow any and all instructions you'll receive and be aware of any deadlines for registering the team, submitting your (revised) notebook, scheduling the Marketing Presentation, and anything else Texas BEST / UIL BEST related.  That event is operated by an entirely different group of people, so you'll need to contact them with any regional contest questions.  If you have any Dallas BEST hub related kit or other hub questions, contact us.

Miscellaneous Notes

If you have any feedback for us regarding Kickoff Day, Build Sessions, Demo Day, or any other aspect of this contest, we'd appreciate your candid comments and suggestions.

You should have one or more team members reviewing the game specific information on the national website (
bestinc.org), in particular, monitor the Q&A section as it is live and updated quite frequently.  Possible game rule changes will be identified and announced there.

If you have a team website or social media link you would like listed on  the Dallas BEST website, please provide the link to Jon Spangler by email.  Note that there is no website award this year, but showing evidence of a website is a consideration for some of the BEST Award categories.

Thanks!  Good Luck!  Hope to see you all this weekend!!

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Email Blast #5 sent October 27

Hello teams!

It's almost the end of week 5 and you are entering the home stretch of the contest!

How are you doing this week? Hopefully you are putting on the final touches and maybe finding a couple of minor modifications are needed for your robot. Your drivers should be getting some practice time with the robot, even if it's not fully complete. As always, if you are totally stuck, please don't give up! Just ask us for some help. We can work something out and there is definitely no reason for a team to give up with all of the resources we try to make available.

Demo Day
Our next milestone event is Demo Day, tomorrow, October 29 at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton starting at 8 AM with the last time slot starting at 2:45 PM. See attached map for parking and entrances. The address is: 2335 N. Josey Ln., Dallas, TX 75006. One change for this year with the large number of teams is that we had to reduce the individual time slots to 45 minutes instead of 1 hour, but you'll still get 2 time slots to access the field with your 1st slot as a priority field access and 2nd slot as standby field access as available. In past years, we've had some difficulty getting all of our teams to participate at Demo Day. We understand many of you don't think you will have enough put together just yet to even try, but I assure you - you're not alone! Even if you're only able to operate a motor or a servo or two, it's worth the trip to try it out on the actual game field, and take notes of your competition, and ask questions. Sort of like a trade show where you can legitimately gather intelligence on your opponents. (They probably won't show you everything, but you can ask!) If nothing else, try to send a few folks as a "scouting party" to check out any concerns you have about your game plan as it relates to the game field. We're all in this to learn something, so make the opportunities!

If you need to contact us for a Demo Day emergency, please call or text Joel Graber at 214-926-9502, or page Bill Rock at 972.297.5817 and he'll return your call. Jon Spangler will not be at Demo Day and will not be checking emails after noon on Friday.

Notebooks:
Engineering Notebooks (in hard/paper copy form) are due in our hands at Demo Day on Saturday, October 29, absolutely no later than 4:00 PM. They will be judged during the week and you will receive your scores on Game Day. Do not make the mistake of thinking you can plan to get to the Demo Day venue with your notebook at the last minute. Traffic conditions vary greatly, but the deadline remains. If your team is not attending Demo Day, you'll still need to make arrangements to have your notebook delivered. No notebook <=> not eligible to compete on Game Day!

Team Demographics Form:
All teams should complete the Demographics form (copy attached) and either submit the paper copy with their notebook or use the alternative SurveyMonkey web form. This information is used for impact analysis of the BEST contest. You may use either method, but the deadline remains the same as the Notebook submission deadline - Saturday, October 29. Here is the survey URL: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QWVTZ2D

Build Session 3.0
We are providing another optional Build Session on Demo Day. If your team is interested in some "late in the season" help getting a robot designed and put together that should at least move on Game Day (an achievement on its own!), bring all of your issued materials to Demo Day and let Joel or one of the other BEST core team members know what your team needs help with.

Bring any materials you need to work on and your entire Returnable Kit.
Tools are not necessary but may be limited in availability; a few basic hand tools may be helpful.
Suggest your own safety glasses and definitely no open toe shoes, loose jewelry or clothing.

If this date doesn't work out but you still need some assistance, some of the other schools are willing to open their shop on request to a limited number of teams and we have other possibilities available. So let us know of your teamís interest and need for shop access and we will try to work something out.

BEST Award contenders
The deadline to declare for this has passed. UIL teams are automatic. We will have 25 teams competing for the BEST Award this year. A record!

BEST Award Marketing Presentations can be scheduled for Friday evening before Game Day and we ask you to please consider this to help with Saturday scheduling. Please sign up for your preferred day and time at Demo Day.

Graduating Senior Award (submitted by the teacher):
The Graduating Senior Award will be given to one senior Dallas BEST participant based on recommendations from the team's teacher/coach. Please nominate a deserving graduating senior with a description of some of his/her accomplishments, growth, enthusiasm, and impact on: the team, other individuals, you, and the student (any or all categories that apply). Consideration will be given to those students who plan to choose a STEM course of study in college.

Please include: student's name, teacherís name, school name, the number of years the student was involved in BEST. The nomination should be submitted using this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S3J65BR no later than 11:59 PM Monday, October 31. No nominations will be accepted after that time.

Update: You should create your nomination free form in a text editor and then copy and paste it into the single text box on the on-line form. If you've already entered any information in that field and hit enter, your entry is locked out. In any case, if you want to simply email your nomination, send it to Mary Helmick at mary@ti.com no later than the above deadline.

The hub core team will review the nominations and announce a winner at Game Day, to include a monetary award to be used for the winning student's higher education needs.

The Pete Lohstreter Outstanding Teacher Award (please provide this to your students):
Your teachers put in a lot of time being the sponsor and coach for your BEST Robotics team and this year we want to recognize that teacher who is the BEST! Itís up to you to tell us why your teacher deserves the recognition of the BEST Teacher. There are no defined requirements to meet, we just want you to tell us why you think your teacher should get the award. Organize your thoughts and put it all together. This is the information we must have: school name, teacherís name, subjects taught, years in BEST, other activities your teacher sponsors

Other things you might want to include when writing your nomination: why does your teacher deserve this award above all the other teachers; what has your teacher done that is special for your team; how do they get you enthused for robotics; how many hours did your teacher put in to be your sponsor; what did they have to give up to do BEST; what makes your teacher special; include anything you think will make us choose your teacher to receive the first annual teacher award. Put some real thought into convincing us that your teacher is special!

Please include: submitting student's name, nominated teacherís name, school name, the number of years the teacher was involved in BEST. The nomination should be submitted using this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S339Q82 no later than 11:59 PM Monday, October 31. No nominations will be accepted after that time.

Update: You should create your nomination free form in a text editor and then copy and paste it into the single text box on the on-line form. If you've already entered any information in that field and hit enter, your entry is locked out. In any case, if you want to simply email your nomination, send it to Mary Helmick at mary@ti.com no later than the above deadline.

The hub core team will review the nominations and announce a winner at Game Day, to include a plaque and monetary award.

Game Day Info (November 5) -

BEST Award Marketing Presentations can be scheduled for Friday evening before Game Day and we hope you'll consider this to help relieve scheduling on Saturday. Please sign up for your preferred day and time at Demo Day.

Robot compliance check-in is on Friday evening before Game Day starting at 6 PM and ending at 9 PM. Please have your robot ready to check in and plan to leave it overnight at the Game Day location. Pit table setup will be available on Friday evening, too.

Display booths for BEST Award teams can be (preferred) set up on Friday evening. Saturday setup is an option, but time will be limited. Remember that the size limit is 8'x8'x8' for both the Dallas hub contest as well as the regional Texas BEST and UIL BEST contests. Prior year confusion and additional work for different sizes has been eliminated with the consistent dimensions.

Distant teams may request to defer robot compliance check-in until Saturday morning. We cannot do this for all teams as it would delay the start of the game on Saturday. Please send an email reply to Jon Spangler if you want to request deferred check-in and we'll let you know. This would also impact your team's ability to set up the display booth and option to do your team's presentation on Friday evening.

Your team's optional t-shirt entry (an actual t-shirt, any size) should be turned in Friday evening before Game Day at robot check-in (delayed to Saturday for distant teams with prior approval)

Parking and other Game Day logistics will be sent next week.

Miscellaneous Notes
If you have any feedback for us regarding Kickoff Day, Build Sessions 1.0 and 2.0, or any other aspect of this contest, we'd appreciate your candid comments and suggestions.

You should have one or more team members reviewing the game specific information on the national website (bestinc.org), in particular, monitor the Q&A section as it is live and updated quite frequently. Possible game rule changes will be identified and announced there.

If you have a team website or social media link you would like listed in the Game Day program and the Dallas BEST website, please provide the link to Jon Spangler by email. Note that there is no website award this year, but showing evidence of a website is a consideration for some of the BEST Award categories.

Thanks! Good Luck! Hope to see you all at Demo Day!!