Slide deck from our 2013 Advanced Programming Workshop PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Sunday, 18 September 2011 00:00
Here's the 2013 Slide Deck
Download this file (2013 Cougar Advanced NXT-G Programming Workshop v1 w EV3.pdf)2013 Cougar Advanced NXT-G Programming Workshop v1 w EV3.pdf[ ]3778 Kb04/10/13 09:48
Download this file (2013 Cougar Advanced NXT-G Programming Workshop v1 w EV3.pptx)2013 Cougar Advanced NXT-G Programming Workshop v1 w EV3.pptx[ ]5753 Kb04/10/13 08:56
Download this file (CougarAPWconvertedEV3.pdf)CougarAPWconvertedEV3.pdf[ ]3514 Kb04/10/13 09:48
Download this file (CougarAPWconvertedEV3.pptx)CougarAPWconvertedEV3.pptx[ ]4547 Kb04/10/13 09:47
Last Updated on Friday, 04 October 2013 09:49
Cougar Workshop Bot PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Tuesday, 07 September 2010 06:50

We've designed a Cougar Workshop Bot.  And the Incredibots have designed an EV3 version.  It's a simple robot designed just for the workshop.  So If you don't already have a robot for the workshop try this one.  You should be able to build it in about 1/2 an hour.  It's the simplest robot we could come up with that could do ALL of the labs.  It's only got 79 parts plus 6 wires.  With 2 light and 2 touch sensors appropriately located you can try out the back-to-wall and advance-to-line programs.

The LEGO Digital Designer file is attached to this article and the printed building instructions are here

And a new EV3 version of the printed building instructions are here. 

Wire as follows:

Left Motor -> B

Right Motor -> C

Left-Front Light Sensor -> 1

Right-Front Light Sensor -> 4

Left-Rear Touch Sensor -> 2

Right-Rear Touch Sensor -> 3

Download this file (Cougar Workshop Bot.lxf)Cougar Workshop Bot.lxf[A simple easy to build robot that is a great start for learning to use sensors on an FLL field.]16 Kb18/09/11 22:06
Download this file (EV3 Robot.lxf)EV3 Cougar Workshop Bot[ ]14 Kb15/09/14 19:56
Download this file (EV3_Workshop_Robot.pdf)EV3_Workshop_Robot.pdf[ ]4298 Kb17/09/14 07:59
Download this file (NXT_Workshop_Robot.pdf)NXT_Workshop_Robot.pdf[ ]1575 Kb17/09/14 07:58
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 07:59
Cougars visit the Columbus Idea Foundry PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Sunday, 18 September 2011 22:29

On Thursday evening, Sept 15, the team went to the Columbus Idea Foundry to take a class on how to use a CNC machine. We were joined by 2 of the team dads and Neils and Eric Hansen from the Lego Lasernauts, an FLL team from Groveport, OH. A CNC machine is a computer-controlled milling machine that can cut 2 or 3 dimensional shapes by spinning router bits at high speeds. Software such as the CAD program that Joey and Alex have learned in school can convert a design into instructions to tell the machine what shape to cut on X, Y and Z axis. 

Dr. Alex Bandar from the Columbus Idea Foundry first gave us a tour of the facility. CIF ( is a a community and do-it-yourself workshop where people have pooled resources so that they can have access to equipment that they otherwise could not afford to use. It is a cooperative machine shop, design studio, artisans community and educational facility. They have all kinds of tools available such as a laser cutter, welding tools, a 3D printer, forge and foundry for casting and blacksmithing, and a woodshop. In addition, there are artists and some small manufacturing and start-up companies that rent studios in the building. There was even a guy working there who is building a completely electric car from scratch! And a Tesla coil...

After the tour, we learned to use the 4’x8’x5” ShopBot CNC machine. We went through the entire process from drawing a sketch to converting the sketch into usable vectors with the software to sending the instructions to the ShopBot to finally cutting out our design in wood. You really need to think through and plan the process to make the cuts in the most logical manner. You even have to take the diameter of the router bit into your calculations. Our test piece had straight and curved edges on the sides, several holes and a shallow pocket. Now that we have taken the class, we are certified to be able to use the ShopBot. Besides wood, the ShopBot can mill thin metals such as aluminum so we now have a way to create parts for our FTC robot!

The Columbus Idea Foundry will be a great resource for the team. We hope to go back and take some more classes so that we can use some of the other tools such as the laser cutter. Thanks to Dr. Bandar for teaching us and showing us all the cool stuff at the CIF.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2011 22:28
FTC KickOff at iSPACE in Cincinnati OH PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 18 September 2011 22:16



We met at the Diamond’s at 6:45am and loaded up the RV for the drive to iSpace. All of the team except Phil were able to attend the event. Phil was running in his high school cross country meet. We arrived at iSpace a little before 9 a.m. and helped set up the “Get Over It” field.

At 9:30, together with Team 4530 Infinite Resistance, we did a demonstration scrimmage so that the rookie teams could get a feel for what a real match is like before they go to a tournament. When we attended our first scrimmage last year, we were really surprised how crowded the field was when there were four robots in play! When we practiced with just our one robot, our practice field in the garage had seemed spacious by comparison.

At 10:00 a.m., we did our panel presentation on “What Rookie Teams Need to Know”. We gave our key points, shared some of our experiences as a first year team, and then answered questions. We brought in our robot, engineering note book  and scouting notebook so that the participants could see how we approached the challenge last year. After our talk, our team split up so we could go hear some of the other talks. I think that we picked up some good pointers for this year.

At 11:00 a.m., we finally got to see what everyone was waiting for...the new game and field!! Just for fun, we tried to run our robot from “Get Over It” on the new field. Our robot could move the bowling ball and score it on the home area and we could also flip over the crates. All those racquetballs are really going to be a challenge and make driving difficult if they get under the robot and caught in the wheels (our first design challenge). 

During the rest of the afternoon, we helped teams with building and programming. By the end of the day, several of the rookie teams had robots that they could drive around. We ended the day by going with Elizabeth and Matthew Worsham for ice cream and a hike in one of the local parks. 

Thanks to Linda Neenan and everyone at iSpace for the great FTC Kick Off event. I think that we are all off to a great start for this season. 



Thanks so much for helping out at the FTC kick-off this weekend.  We heard from several of the rookie team members (and some of the more experienced teams as well) how helpful the information you shared with them was.  We heard one comment that went something like this.  “Just getting to see what the Cougar’s robot could do made this worthwhile.”  We really appreciate your willingness to spend a whole day giving tips to other teams. 


You’ve come a long way since your rookie season last year and we here at iSPACE wish you a very successful 2011-12 FTC season.




Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2011 21:16
Cougars At FIRST World Festival PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Cougars   
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 18:57

FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) is a FIRST ( international robotics competition targeted at high school students. Teams of up to 10 students build robots using TETRIX, LEGO, and custom fabricated components. The robots can measure up to 18" x 18" x 18". Four robots, two teams of two robots, compete against each other on a 12' x 12' playing field.

Cougar 2010-2011 "Get Over It!" Season Summary:
  • Approximately 1600 teams competed in FTC this year.
  • Ohio State Championship
    • 32 teams attended the Ohio State Championship tournament at iSpace in Cincinnati.
    • The Cougars finished the qualifying rounds in 3rd place, and as an alliance captain selected the teams of Python from MI and Trash Torque from the Wellington school in Columbus as their alliance partners.
    • The Cougars alliance went on to win the Ohio Championship and as captain of the winning alliance the Cougars qualified to attend the World Championship.
    • The Cougars also won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award. "The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award celebrates a team that not only thinks outside the box, but also has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life. This award is given to the team that has the most innovative and creative robot design solution to any or all specific field elements or components in the FIRST Tech Challenge game. Elements of this award include elegant design, robustness, and ‘out of the box’ thinking related to design. This award may address the design of the whole robot, or of a sub-assembly attached to the robot. The creative component must work consistently, but a robot does not have to work all the time during matches to be considered for this award. The team’s Engineering Notebook should be marked with journal entries to show the design of the component(s) and the team’s robot in order to be eligible for this award, and entries should describe succinctly how the team arrived at that solution."
  • World Championship
    • 128 teams qualified to go to the FTC World Championship, held at the FIRST World Festival in St. Louis.
    • The 128 teams were divided into 2 64 team divisions, Franklin and Edison, for the qualifying rounds of the World Championship.
    • The Cougars recorded 5 wins and 2 losses during the qualifying rounds to place 12th in the Franklin division.
    • The top 4 seeded teams get to pick partners to form 3 team alliances to compete in the finals.
    • The #1 seed Bounty Hunters #2864 from Staten Island NY selected Say Watt? #3539 from Edison NJ (1st pick in alliance selections) and the Cougars #4251 (5th pick in the alliance selections) as their alliance partners for the finals. 
    • Our alliance lost in the 3rd game of a 2 out of 3 match in the semi-finals to the alliance of SD30 from Montana, the Wreckers from Westport CT, and MITibot of Lexington MA who went on to win the World Championship.
    • To top it all off we were nominated for the Motivate Award. "This award celebrates the team that exemplifies the essence of the FIRST Tech Challenge competition through team spirit and enthusiasm. They show their spirit through costumes and fun outfits, a team cheer or outstanding spirit. This team has also made a collective effort to make FIRST known throughout their school and community."
The Cougars Robotics Team had a tremendous rookie season. We learned to build significantly more sophisticated robots. We learned to program in 2 new languages, LabVIEW and Robot-C. We learned to make alliances and work with other teams. And as a rookie team we made it all the way to the semi-finals of the World Championship. We're looking forward to next year's competition!
Last Updated on Monday, 16 September 2013 22:09

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  • Invisible Inequities Training: Toward a Bias-Free FIRST Front-Line?
    As many of you were preparing for the holiday season in 2016 and feeling one way or another just after the U.S. Presidential election, FIRST®launched Invisible Inequities—a free, online training module to grapple with bias and help create more diverse, inclusive and equitable teams.

    FIRST Diversity and Inclusion has been collaborating with NAPE to design a training series for Coaches, Mentors, Volunteers, Partners and other key stakeholders who work directly with students. Invisible Inequities is the first of three online modules offered and help participants:
    ·         Identify examples of cultural stereotypes and bias and how they affect equitable participant engagement on FIRSTteams,
    ·         Reflect on differences between their team demographics and their community demographics, and
    ·         Apply strategies to recruit participants from underrepresented and underserved groups.

    So, is it possible to be totally bias-free as you are recruiting team members and interacting with them in FIRST Tech Challenge or our other three programs? No. We know that culture shapes your biases and beliefs about people based on their age, gender, race, language, (dis)ability, or income level—usually without your realization. “The mind is a difference-seeking machine,” is the best way to think about it. Globally recognized for her work on Implicit Bias, Mahzarin Banaji says your hidden biases cause you to create order of the innumerable details you’re processing at any given moment and make reasonable assumptions. However, that “firewall” in your mind sometimes governs your thoughts and behaviors, shapes your preferences, and can create a Blindspot—the mind’s quick, incomplete sorting judgments about someone’s “character, abilities, and potential” to thrive.

    FIRST is committed to bringing its programs to students who would benefit most and to address inequities in STEM. FIRST has set a strategic priority of making its programs more inclusive and better representing the communities where teams are located. We are not currently as diverse as we would like to be and certain underrepresented and underserved students feel marginalized. A 35 minute to 1-hour length training could never attain bias-eradication. That’s not feasible. Acknowledging your bias allows you to laser-like focus on strategies that deny your biases the chance to influence student recruitment, roles and retention on teams. Through engaging and reflective activities on the power of culture on your interactions with students, these modules will equip you with specific strategies to support community outreach, student participation, persistence, engagement and success.

    When asked, “How likely is it that you will change the way you creating an inclusive environment for your team as a result of participating in the Invisible Inequities training module?”, nearly 87% of training survey completers to date say they are very likely to change or somewhat likely to change.  “So now, knowing my bias, I will try to compensate in recruiting all different groups. I was going to say recruit them equally but now after following the module, I will say that I need to approach this with equity in mind--not equality,” reflects Jared Hasen-Klein, a high school junior and Director of Team Operations at Team 1836: The MilkenKnights who’s not only taken the training, but also participated in the training design youth focus group.

    That’s the kind of consciousness competence shifting and triggered action-planning we are hoping for! We know the training has potential for impact, but we need to engage a critical mass of Coaches and Mentors. Kudos to the FIRST VISTA Members and management team for incentivizing training participation in the underserved communities where they have a presence! I DID IT is the simple message members email along with the certificate of completion to be entered in a drawing to win some pretty fabulous prizes.

    Have you completed the module? What will you do to spread the word and encourage engagement within your sphere of influence? The training module is free and accessible to anyone through Schoology Learning Management System. To start, fill out the module access form, and you will receive instructions on how join the course.

    Post By: Shelley Henderson, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, FIRST