TEAM 1403 COUGAR ROBOTICS
Where: Montgomery High School
Number of Students: 68
Number of Mentors: 8
Action Items: 10 sticks of balsa wood, hot glue
Impact on Team:
The Cougar Class started with a presentation on our team members’ cultures. The team captains gave presentations on the countries from which they or their families originated and their unique customs. We could see the diversity in Team 1403, with people with ethnic backgrounds such as Egyptian, Chinese, Armenian, Indian, and others. At the end of the presentation, Mr. Leicht tied all of these together into a larger presentation on “FIRST Culture” and “Team 1403 Culture,” which embodies the values of cooperation, gracious professionalism, and respect for all people.
After the presentation, there was an activity where each team had to build a bridge out of hot glue and balsa wood. The bridge would have a rope tied around it with a bucket dangling underneath, and sand would be poured into the bucket until the bridge broke or the bucket hit the ground. During this Cougar Class, our mentors were also allowed to compete as a team. Teams were scored not only by how much weight they held but also the weight of the bridge, which went into an “efficiency” score. Final scores were the weight of the bridge, in ounces, over the weight it could hold, in pounds. The best bridges were able to hold more weight while being lighter overall.
At the beginning of the build period, team members realized that they should place the balsa wood on its side because it made the bridge more sturdy and allowed it to hold more weight. Another realization was the clever use of triangles, an architectural strategy used for its sturdiness. Several teams attempted similar strategies, such as truss bridges to make use of those triangles. The winners of this class had the bridge that could hold the most weight before breaking. Many bridges performed so well that steel blocks had to be added to the bucket in order for it to break, and the winning bridge was not close to breaking but ended the round with the bucket touching the floor.