July 20, 2014
Notes from yesterday’s meeting
We discussed the role that Hammond staff seem to be taking with the team this year.
Raising money is an imperative and ongoing need. Eric urged everyone to use their contacts, family, and friends to seek funding sources from those folks’ employers. Holly volunteered to take the lead on leaf-raking. Eric and Diane will contact Lynette about the ARL grant. Who else will help?
Jeff reviewed the plans for BoB. The team will need to prepare the robot before BoB, move it and the pit to McDonogh on Sept 19,and return everything when the event ends the evening of Sept 20. Who is taking the lead to make this happen? The BoB committee seeks volunteers to help at the event. To offer your services in a technical or nontechnical role, email Jenny [ jbeattyfirst@gmail.com ]. A big thanks to Tony for donating trucking services to the BoB committee. A big thanks also to Miguel for offering to 3d print awards.
Jeff reviewed the plans for Education Day. This extremely valuable event occurs almost in our backyard - it’s only 4 miles from Hammond to APL. Who will take the lead on recruiting folks to go and arranging carpools. Note the tentative schedule:
docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UJ8I_dNBDJZKIa7Gwg1TXC7yis8UluQAECO2ZBxaUKY/edit?usp=sharing
Have a look and you can see that it’s not just for students. Also note the open slots and question marks. The coordinator seeks proposals to fill the slots. The question marks are where instructors are needed.
New mentor: Bill Schneider (I hope the spelling is correct). He’s an EE, but does mostly software development. His son Charlie is a new team member.
Everyone thinks we should be there:
"new Student Orientation
Who: Any students/families new to Hammond & all rising 9th grade students/families are invited.
What: New Student Orientation – Welcome to Hammond!
When: Thursday, August 21st, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Where: Hammond High School Auditorium
Please contact Mrs. Meredith Bauer, 9thGrade Counselor, at meredith_young@hcpss.org with any questions. "
But the robot is not ready. Someone needs to take the lead on setting meeting times Aug 18 to 20 and checking with Hammond to ensure the times work. We will need mentor / adult presence at those times, whatever they are.
Someone needs to take the lead on scheduling meetings in the fall.
Someone needs to take the lead on managing the team web page and the students who do the actual work on it.
Someone other than Jeff needs to monitor the team’s email address.
Jeff
And there’s this from Holly [saveastray@msn.com]:
I've been helping a contact at a high kill shelter in NC find foster homes for dogs who's time is up. I just found out about these 2 dogs who are in need of a place right away - their time is up on Monday. Today I was successful, within an hour, of finding a place for a 2 year old pure bred chocolate lab. Hope I can get lucky with these other 2. If any interest from anyone, the dogs can be transported from NC. Free transport and $300 to cover vet costs Thanks for your consideration. Holly

July 12, 2014
Reminder: RSVP for the picnic on Saturday July 19 (the list of those who already have is here )
We will start cooking at noon and there will be an adults meeting at 2:30. Adults are welcome to attend the meeting even if not eating.
There will be a contributions can to offset the cost of the meat. Any excess will be donated tot he team.
Plan to be outdoors. You may wish to bring a folding chair.
upcoming:
date - what (questions/more info)

June 25, 2014
Governor Martin O’Malley extends an invitation to all Marylanders involved in volunteer service to spend a fun-filled Sunday, August 24, at the Maryland State Fair. The Governor’s Volunteer Appreciation Day is presented by the GOSV and the Maryland State Fair. All volunteers, friends, and family are welcome!
http://gosv.maryland.gov/statefairfaqs.html
Show your Governor's Volunteer Appreciation Day pass at the entrance gate, and 1-5 individuals will be admitted to the Fair for $2.00.

June 23, 2014
Welcome to the 2014-15 Ursa Major parents email list.
Three mentors are meeting with the school administration Wednesday afternoon to discuss the coming school year. We have been told that Mr. Muscato will be sharing faculty advisor responsibilities with Ms. Jenkins and Mr. Kostrich, but we don’t yet know how the responsibilities will be divided. If there are other issues you want covered, let me know.
Ursa Major 2nd Annual Picnic - Members, alumni, family, friends, and supporters are welcome. Details and RSVP:
docs.google.com/forms/d/13zQCmilRsP3bHHwzSPMRTO-XQ9NyZCYyxwkui0CACbk/viewform
The RSVP list as of noon today: Jeff, Holly, Sean, Sherri, James, Faith, Johana, Rainor, David, Bryant, Kyle, Insaf, Charlie, Stephen, Howard, and Alex.
We’re having an adults meeting while the kids are playing frisbee, so please make every effort to RSVP and attend and remind students to RSVP as well.

June 19, 2014
Things are changing in the way Hammond’s staff handles the team. I’m gathering information and expect to send something out to the new list in about a week. And if you don’t fill out this 30 second form, you won’t be on the robotics email list:
docs.google.com/forms/d/1X3GMD1_t1lMZVMtzFntgtSrhQUuamQ_Oeo6fgMyX74g/viewform
We are switching to the new list in 2 days, so act now.
Note: you need fill out the form once (ok Kathleen?)
Ursa Major 2nd Annual Picnic - Members, alumni, family, friends, and supporters are welcome. Details and RSVP:
docs.google.com/forms/d/13zQCmilRsP3bHHwzSPMRTO-XQ9NyZCYyxwkui0CACbk/viewform
We will have a parents/mentor meeting while the kids are playing frisbee.

June 11, 2014
Minutes from the June 8 adults meeting are here:
docs.google.com/document/d/12yp8PqQWRqyU4EeqECrBNMNRK6y98u0-RCmg0XAnuy4/edit
Invitation and details for the Second Annual Ursa Major summer picnic on July 19th - please click and respond and share the link with your children who are on the team.
This email was sent using the 2013-14 parents email list. That list will soon be retired and emails will go out to those on the 2014-15 email list. So if you want to continue to get these emails, fill out this 30 second form:
form to subscribe to the 2014-2015 parents email list
Of course, you may unsubscribe at any time. So, to avoid interruptions, fill out the form promptly. Although emails sent to this list are primarily for parents, anyone interested may subscribe - there is no age limit or other qualification.
Reg and I attended the BAA meeting last night that included BoB planning. Things are moving along nicely and the event will be a lot of fun. Be sure to block out September 20 on your calendar (and for those helping with load-in or set-up, that will happen starting at noon on September 19). Thanks to the generosity of Miguel I., we are registered and have avoided the $50 price increase!
Education Day (at JHU APL) this year will include sessions on the new RoboRIO as well as the sessions we’ve seen before including CAD, electronics, pneumatics, fund-raising, etc. So be sure to save the date: October 25. Mentors : Thomas.Milnes@jhuapl.edu is working on the the schedule for BAA Education Day, if you want to help present, please contact him directly.

June 10, 2014
This is the invitation and details for the Second annual Ursa Major summer picnic on July 19th
docs.google.com/forms/d/13zQCmilRsP3bHHwzSPMRTO-XQ9NyZCYyxwkui0CACbk/viewform
Please respond

June 5, 2014
Please RSVP to Eric ASAP, OK?
Sunday is the next adults planning meeting for next year.
RSVP to Eric Adler [ eadler756@verizon.net ]
Review the minutes and unfinished business:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lGMIqZQUwNnt_0c3MbAqK1Ev9vzGKjAXsYU-atjJ1Pc/edit?usp=sharing

May 23, 2014
Great big thanks to Miguel I for paying the team’s registration to BoB!
From Team leader Josh L [ joshlee1997@gmail.com ]:
Just set up a team text reminder for next year. Should be more efficient than email.
IF you are going to be on the team next year (i.e. not a senior this year) text @teamur to (443) 992- 7089 to subscribe
If you are Mentor or parent text @teamursa to (443) 992- 7089 to subscribe
If you are a Alumni or a 2014 graduate text @teamursaal to (443) 992- 7089 to subscribe
upcoming:
date - what (questions/more info)
  • May 28 - Tech Council Awards Dinner , JHU APL (p.hestnes@verizon.net)
  • June 5 - 8th grade visit to Hammond HS 8am to 11am (vincent_muscato@hcpss.org)
  • June 6 - volunteer breakfast at Hammond HS (maryann_mcqueen@hcpss.org)
  • June 8 - 1-3pm adults planning meeting at Adler house ( eadler756@gmail.com )
  • June 8 - STEM Fair at HCC , we’re not participating, but you may want to check it out
  • June 10 - BAA meeting, , McDonough School, Owings Mills (roveout@gmail.com)
  • Sept 20 - BoB, McDonough School, Owings Mills (roveout@gmail.com)
  • Oct 25 - Education Day at JHU APL (Thomas.Milnes@jhuapl.edu)

May 15, 2014
The BAA had a tour of the facilities at McDonough School in Owings Mills. This is the site of next fall’s Battle O Baltimore (Sept. 20). Here’s a few pictures:

opa.cig2.usa.canon.com/s/m/GhD7JmXtm32
BoB is entirely run by volunteers. If you want to help, please let me know and I’ll connect you with the right person. Thanks to Reg and Rob for stepping up already.
As I write, the website www.battleobaltimore.com still has last year’s data, but it should be updated soon. There will be a discount for registering before August 1, so, team leaders, you’ve been so notified.
upcoming:
date - what (questions/more info)

May 3, 2014

AFCEA is having an awards ceremony for those who are receiving their scholarships. This year 2 Hammond students are being honored including our own Sherri G. The AFCEA has invited us to attend. It’s Thursday, May 8. So far, Jeff, Sam, and Abhi have volunteered. Jeff can drive, but ideally we would have another adult and another student PLUS a van to transport the robot. Please respond ASAP if you can transport.

This is the information AFCEA has provided:

In past years, Hammond HS has participated in our event with a demo during our reception portion of our program. Since we have done this yearly, I always have the proper power requirements and tables set up for the Robotics team to utilize and last year we had 8+ students from your school who had set up a demo for our attendees during the reception.

The Awards Night is held at Martins Crosswinds (Greenbelt). It is next week (short timing), Thursday, May 8th. We also provide the students the opportunity for dinner and the team is welcome to stay for the meal and/or for the entire evening.

The reception runs 5-6pm whereas the demo would take place
The team can arrive anytime after 4pm
Dinner starts around 6:30 and the Awards run until to approx 9 pm.
The students do not have to stay the entire evening unless they desire to do so.

AFCEA had been sending emails to our former faculty adviser for some time, but never received a response. Eventually (yesterday) they decided to do further investigation and sent an enquiry through the team’s web page.

We would plan to leave Hammond at 4 and return whenever those going feel like returning.

Again please respond if you want to go or if you can provide a van.

thanks


The Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) Tech Council Awards Dinner is on Wed, May 28. We will need mentors/parents and students to volunteer at this event to talk about our team and show off our robot. It’s at APL, and we need to be there from about 4pm - 9pm. Since it’s the whole evening, we could take students for part of the time if they need to do homework. Please let me know if you’re willing/able to attend!


Also, I need one or more students to please make business cards (or some other kind of card, flyer, etc) for us. It should say we are always looking for corporate sponsors, have our email address and remind companies that we always need donations of spare parts/materials they may have. Who can I count on to take care of this?


Thanks,

Phyllis Hestnes

< p.hestnes@verizon.net >


April 28, 2014

Sai sent this in to the school administration. I thought you should have a copy:

“Our Robotics exhibit at the STEM festival was a great success. In the school announcements could you please thank all the students who participated in the festival, and the students who fixed up the robot to make it work smoothly.

“More details on the same, if you wish to add to your announcement --

“It was an honor for HHS Robotics team, UrsaMajor, to be one of 3 Robotics teams asked to be part of the Lockheed Martin Robotics Exhibit. There were over 5 thousand exhibits at the STEM Festival Expo, and over 3 hundred thousand people visited during the 3 days. HHS Robotics students operated their robot almost continuously from 9am to 6pm for 3 days, without any failures. And, they answered questions from thousands of elementary, middle, high school kids, parents, and grand parents, about Robotics and STEM . For all their commitment and hard work during the festival, Lockheed Martin is giving the team $2,000. This was a different type of achievement for our students, on par with winning a competition.“

The few people who participated in putting this on for the Team did astoundingly great work. This tiny handful of team members, mentors, and parents worked extremely hard over 3 very long days and made our Team, our school, and our program look really good. The visitors I talked to were absolutely blown away by our robot’s sophistication and efficiency and could hardly believe that it was designed and built by high school students in 6 weeks without some professional organization providing a kit or plans. Plus the little kids loved rolling the ball to the robot until parents literally dragged them away.

next planning meeting:
Reminder, please take a moment to indicate your time preference for the next parents/mentors meeting. Just go to:__whenisgood.net/mmd29is__ and follow the instructions on the screen.

So far it looks like NONE of the times is good for even half of the respondents.... so let me know if you think I should look at times at the end of May or after June 20.

Note: these people have already replied: Sai , Phyllis, Lynette, Bev, Holly, Brady, Steve, Johana, Reggie, Judi (Hammond’s AP)

day camp
Only 2 people have added thoughts to the “robotics for little kids __document”__
docs.google.com/document/d/1UCjZEZcWNbXDnZQYwF_vONibWP2N-uoX4KiWcwO6Goc/edit?usp=sharing
Maybe you have another way to raise money that you’re ready to implement. If so, please share.

coming events
Scouts tech day - May 10 (Miguel)
Tech Council Awards dinner - May 28 (Phyllis, Kevin)
It’s time to recruit team members and get firm commitments.

grants
Vince - are we up-to-date on the Army Research Lab grant?
Phyllis, Reg, and Lynette - you guys volunteered to handle grant research and applications, it’s time to take the next step. If anyone else wants to help, please contact those 3 directly.
thanks
Jeff
April 25, 2014
Sai’s pictures from the Sciencefestival today
pogoplug.com/s/9x80rK-QWlA/
Reminder, please take a moment to indicate your time preference for the next parents/mentors meeting. Just go to: whenisgood.net/mmd29is and follow the instructions on the screen.
April 23, 2014

Minutes from Monday night’s parents meeting:

docs.google.com/document/d/1lGMIqZQUwNnt_0c3MbAqK1Ev9vzGKjAXsYU-atjJ1Pc/edit?usp=sharing

Please take a moment to indicate your time preference for the next parents/mentors meeting. Just go to: http://whenisgood.net/mmd29is and follow the instructions on the screen. (NOTE: you only need to do this once - just once - if you’ve already indicated your preferences, please please please ignore future requests to indicate your preferences.)

April 22, 2014
We had a very productive meeting last night. I’m going to try and get draft minutes to those who attended something this evening. After they’ve all had a shot at fixing the draft, I’ll send it out to the group FYI.
While you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for the minutes, please take a moment to indicate your time preference for the next parents/mentors meeting. Just go to: http://whenisgood.net/mmd29is and follow the instructions on the screen.
Thanks to everyone who attended last night and brought refreshments and firewood.

April 17, 2014
Did you know that most of the team's money the last few years has been due to the efforts of our mentors - not parents. Isn't it nice that our mentors are taking better care of our kids than we are?
FYI
In your next email could you include this link to the FIRST Fundraising Toolkit http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/first-fundraising-toolkit. It may be helpful for those attending the planning meeting.
Reg
reminder
The planning meeting for 2014-2015 is Monday evening - 7 p.m. at the Wilson house – 7502 New Grace Mews – Cathy Wilson <harperwilson@verizon.net or 410-309-3188> is providing drinks and snacks. It will be helpful for her to know (1) that you’re coming, and (2) if you’re bringing a drink or snack. The agenda is still open for editing:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CVIl5yqVk_rGwbjzsEKkL01KbJwtAR9svZYJNB_b2d0/edit Please bring a copy with you, or if you are not attending but have thoughts, notions, ideas, or demands, please send them along. Note: this is an adults only event.
Thanks

April 16, 2014
The planning meeting for 2014-2015 is Monday evening - 7 p.m. at the Wilson house –.
Cathy Wilson is providing drinks and snacks. It will be helpful for her to know (1) that you’re coming, and (2) if you’re bringing a drink or snack.
The agenda is still open for editing:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CVIl5yqVk_rGwbjzsEKkL01KbJwtAR9svZYJNB_b2d0/edit
Please bring a copy with you, or if you are not attending but have thoughts, notions, ideas, or demands, please send them along.
Note: this is an adults only event.

April 15, 2014
FIRST Scholarship newsletter - April__
SpaceX internships for FIRST alumni__ - preference for those with a couple of years of college done. SpaceX has intern housing that is partially subsidized by the company and offers relocation benefits to California.
upcoming (who’s updating the team calendar?)
  • April 21, 2014-15 planning meeting @ Wilson home
  • April 22, team meeting after school
  • April 25-27, DC STEM Fair, Sai
  • May 10, Scout STEM day, Miguel
  • May 28, Tech Council Dinner, Kevin & Phyllis
  • 2014 Battle o Baltimore, Saturday Sept. 20.
Who is updating the wiki? there’s a mess of obsolete stuff on the home page

April 14, 2014
The team will be meeting 1 week from tomorrow, April 22, after school in the tech ed room. The robot needs a few repairs before the STEM Festival.

April 13, 2014
From Maryland FIRST
7000+ photos down to 1000+ but they are all tagged. Thank you to the Chesapeake Regional photographers!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/122681157@N06/tags/
The Chesapeake Regional Planning Committee
===========
The parents meeting to plan for next year is scheduled for the evening of April 21. There was no date that worked for everyone, but I hope that you can attend.
Cathy Wilson is hosting. Thanks!
Agenda: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CVIl5yqVk_rGwbjzsEKkL01KbJwtAR9svZYJNB_b2d0/edit?usp=docslist_api
Other Upcoming events - make sure your children are informed:
April 25-27 - Stemfest in DC, Sai has put a lot of information on the wiki, check it out, doing well puts us in line for a nice donation from Lockheed Martin
May 10 - Scout STEM day at FT Meade, volunteers from the team are helping teach the robotics merit badge, Miguel is coordinating
May 28 - tech council awards dinner, Phyllis and Kevin are coordinating the demo

April 8, 2014
URGENT: Daniel and/or another robotics team member need a ride from HHS to Gorman Crossing Elementary on Wednesday 9th (tomorrow) at 3:45pm. One or both students need to be picked up at the robotics entrance at HHS at 3:45pm and dropped off at Gorman before 4pm. They may need a ride back to Hammond at 5pm. Anyone who can help should contact Daniel at imjoemilk227@gmail.com
RoboSpectrum, team 3389 (Parkside HS, Wicomico County, Salisbury MD), created videos from the stop motion footage from their Raspberry Pi mounted in the pits at Chesapeake, the videos look down the aisle that includes our pit
4/3/14 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymnAJY-WYoA
4/4/14 Morning - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sCxlLsGSYI
4/4/14 Afternoon - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynG-OqHVzlc
So far, 27 adults indicated an interest in attending a planning meeting for next year. This web page is the way to help pick a date: http://whenisgood.net/4je2mi8
If you want to see the draft consensus agenda, let me know.
UMD scholarship application for FIRST team members
https://futureumdengr.wufoo.com/forms/clark-school-first-scholarship-application/
due by Monday, April 28, 2014
Maryland FIRST photos from Chesapeake (1,976 photos)
https://plus.google.com/photos/108190054093203635971/albums/5999342828565772193


April 6, 2014
from Phyllis
link to my pics (and videos) from today. I’ve got more and will put them in the same spot once my computer starts behaving...
https://picasaweb.google.com/dhestnes925/ChesapeakeRegional2014?authkey=Gv1sRgCImS8o2Bgt7swAE
Nice to see our principal and vice-principal, some parents, siblings, and a bear
corrections from Bev
Sorry we were 7th
Only us atholton, river hill and glenelg made finals... that's 4. WL and Hebron didn't
The official stats from Chesapeake are here:
http://www.usfirst.org/whats-going-on/event/10777/
Howard County Teams are:
  1. Atholton 2537
  2. Hammond 2849
  3. Mt Hebron 3748
  4. River Hill 4067
  5. Wilde Lake 4137
  6. Glenelg 888
I’ve received a few emails about Thursday night’s demo at Gorman Crossing. I don’t have any more info to share at this time. As soon as any more info is shared with me, I’ll get it out to you.
April 5, 2014
The team finished the qualification rounds as the number 7 seed (out of 54). This finish meant that the team was one of the 8 alliance captains for the elimination rounds. The team was eliminated in the quarter-finals. This was among the best finishes ever in the team’s history. Our kids did really well after a difficult build season with many obstacles. Of note, 5 Howard County teams (of 6) made it into the elimination rounds, a strong showing that represents the realization at the grass roots of the value of the program.
Here’s my few pictures from today; http://1drv.ms/1kdnL4B
Holly’s pictures https://plus.google.com/photos/113483413186673180837/albums/5998992019516546129
https://plus.google.com/photos/113483413186673180837/albums/5998992190640931233
a number of people have posted pictures on the team’s facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/groups/57062864576/
Big thanks to Tony M for providing the team (and Atholton) with a truck to bring everything home.
Reminder: Thursday the team is doing a demo at the Gorrman Crossing STEM Fair. Sai is the organizer, Holly is transporting the robot. http://stemgces.weebly.com/stem-expo.html
Thanks to all the parents that made the journey to Fairfax and to College Park, who fed us and moved us, and read most of the emails, and who were a vital and great support to the team, thanks to the team members who transformed into bears, thanks to our supportive and tireless mentors, and thanks to Vince Muscato for supporting the team despite the insanity and aggravation. But more than anything, thanks to our kids for showing us how to do great things in spite of our meddling.

April 5, 2014 bus passengers should be at Hamond at 7:15 this morning Diane’s pictures: https://www.dropbox.com/l/ ggehrSB2HNHcdLsT2Rbeuf ?
April 4, 2014
8th seed (of 54) at the end of today, seeding rounds end at lunchtime tomorrow
a few pictures
https://picasaweb.google.com/113483413186673180837/20140404?authkey=Gv1sRgCJjE44fz2-fflAE
Sai’s pictures from this morning
http://ppl.ug/3fSR6OJyCXE/

April 3, 2014
I was busy today and only took a few pictures: http://1drv.ms/1fPGMm1
The venue is way better than last week - plenty of good seats - I hope to see you there
Mr. Muscato has issued these bus times for Chesapeake:
- Friday - leave Hammond at 6:45 a.m, return at 8:30 (but might be later)
- Saturday - leave Hammond at 6:45, return at 8:30 (but might be earlier)
Thanks to Kevin for volunteering to take the lead for the Tech Council Awards Dinner 5/28.

April 2, 2014
NOTE: the bus is basically full on Friday and Saturday, parents should arrange for their own transportation, carpools are encouraged. Directions, parking, etc. information is on the __wiki__. Since everyone has edit rights to the wiki, you may use the wiki to say that you have space, want space, or otherwise arrange carpools.
If you want to ride the bus on Thursday (tomorrow), contact Mr. Muscato ASAP Vincent_Muscato@hcpss.org__
Mr. Muscato has issued these bus times for Chesapeake:
- Thursday - leave Hammond at 7:15 a.m, return at 7 p.m.
- Friday - leave Hammond at 6:45 a.m, return at 8:30 (but might be later)
- Saturday - leave Hammond at 6:45, return at 8:30 (but might be earlier)
Thanks to Miguel for volunteering for the Scout robotics merit badge day 5/10.
We still need an adult for the Tech Council Awards Dinner 5/28 - this should be the parent of a team member who is not a senior. This involves moving kids and the robot to JHU APL and back for an evening event. You will probably get dinner and you’ll get a chance to meet the rising entrepreneurs of Howard County’s tech community. Tickets for this event start at $120 - but for you - free! __http://www.hceda.org/maryland-center-for-entrepreneurship/howard-tech-council.aspx__ The keynote speaker is Christine Furstoss, the Technical Director for Manufacturing and Materials Technologies at GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY. Here’s the pictures from last year’s event __https://plus.google.com/photos/113483413186673180837/albums/5888401081904926241__
Please volunteer.

April 1, 2014
Thanks to Insaf for driving the unloading crew on Wednesday.
Thanks to Sai for heading up the demo at Gorman Crossing 4/10.
We still need an adult for the Scout robotics merit badge day 5/10 - this only involves sorting out the roster and transporting the kids, I don’t think we’re taking any gear. Please volunteer.
We still need an adult for the Tech Council Awards Dinner 5/28 - this should be the parent of a team member who is not a senior. This involves moving kids and the robot to JHU APL and back for an evening event. You will probably get dinner and you’ll get a chance to meet the rising entrepreneurs of Howard County’s tech community. Tickets for this event start at $120 - but for you - free! http://www.hceda.org/maryland-center-for-entrepreneurship/howard-tech-council.aspx The keynote speaker is Christine Furstoss, the Technical Director for Manufacturing and Materials Technologies at GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY. Here’s the pictures from last year’s event https://plus.google.com/photos/113483413186673180837/albums/5888401081904926241
Please volunteer.
Thanks to Howard W, a longtime team supporter and good friend, for pictures from DC:
https://plus.google.com/_/notifications/emlink?emr=14626018974892458502&emid=CPiT1Jasvr0CFY5pTAodcE8AAA&path=%2Fphotos%2F110146096227037269171%2Falbums%2F5997160470343958673&dt=1396322906503&ub=21
Mr. Muscato has issued these bus times for Chesapeake:
Thursday - leave Hammond at 7:15 a.m, return at 7 p.m.
Friday - leave Hammond at 6:45 a.m, return at 8:30 (but might be later)
Saturday - leave Hammond at 6:45, return at 8:30 (but might be earlier)
March 30, 2014
Holly’s pictures: https://plus.google.com/photos/107855735363454308204/albums/5996680116934205329
Message from Holly:
Out to the team, mentors, and parents ... YAY!! I got us the use of the Golden Bear mascot costume for the Chesapeake Regionals. Connor, get ready for cranking up our team spirit and participating in the mascot dance off ; ) Holly M.
Phyllis added pictures to her album: https://picasaweb.google.com/dhestnes925/UrsaMajor2014?authkey=Gv1sRgCIKHj-aN_7jzNA
reminders:

  1. team meeting tomorrow
  2. permission slips for Chesapeake are due ($5 for Friday night meal)
  3. release forms for STEM Festival go to Sai (ask your child)
Imagine the hit our robot took to bend this axle bolt: http://pbrd.co/1rUqgtq

March 29, 2014
Wow, what an emotional roller coaster - the team made it to the quarterfinals, then we had some things break, forcing us to withdraw, most of those things have been fixed, so we should be good to go for Chesapeake. If you want to see the ⅜ inch steel bolt that was bent during competition, see Sam. It was brutal out there!
pictures https://picasaweb.google.com/113483413186673180837/20140329?authkey=Gv1sRgCLbqo7OqvsmFwwE
If you have pictures to share, please send along a link to them.
For Chesapeake, Mr. Muscato had distributed permission slips. Note - these should be returned with $5 to cover Friday night’s dinner at the team social. See Mr. Muscato if you need a permission slip.
Everything you need to know is available on the wiki: http://ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/
Mr. Muscato will be finalizing the bus times on Monday and we’ll update the wiki if necessary.
The team is meeting Monday after school to finish repairs.
March 28, 2014

Bus passengers - do not be late to Hammond, the bus will not wait.
  • Saturday: team to report to Hammond at 6:30, Bus at HaHS at 6:45am, return 8:30pm (estimate, but it could be up to an hour earlier)
For Friday and Saturday (this week and next), you can follow the match results by webstream, app, or webpage. All of the details are here: http://1drv.ms/1ePz12t
excellent day - broke another wheel, broke a wire, bent a rod - but everything got fixed between matches, so the team never missed a match (is this a first for Ursa Major?)
when the team had decent alliance partners, the team won, when the team how ineffective alliance partners, the team lost … with one exception - that 50 to 49 loss, where the other team got all its points by penalties against our alliance partner - boo
the kids did great - in the pits, in the stands, on the field
Friday pictures: http://1drv.ms/1gL7VMi
Thursday pictures: http://1drv.ms/1eWSs9A
tomorrow seeding rounds until lunchtime, then, after lunch, half the teams make it to the elimination rounds
If you were there and took pictures, please put them someplace where others can see them - I’ll be glad to let everyone else know where they are
finally, some kids have forms to be submitted to Sai, she can collect them tomorrow
March 27, 2014
Bus passengers - do not be late to Hammond, the bus will not wait.
  • team to report at 6:30, Friday: Bus at HAHS at 6:45am, return about 8:30pm
  • Saturday: Bus at HaHS at 6:45am, return 8:30pm
For Friday and Saturday (this week and next), you can follow the match results by webstream, app, or webpage. All of the details are here: __http://1drv.ms/1ePz12t__
pretty good day - 2 mechanical failures: gear box and broken wheel, gear box fixed, wheel replacement almost complete, but team was able to practice almost all day - well done, very happy crew on the ride home
pit areas are smaller than anticipated, only 9 feet square per team, so not much room for people in the pits
pictures: __http://1drv.ms/1eWSs9A__
March 26, 2014
Bus passengers - do not be late to Hammond, the bus will not wait.
Thursday: Bus at HaHS at 7:15am, return 7pm
Friday: Bus at HAHS at 6:45am, return 8:30pm
Saturday: Bus at HaHS at 6:45am, return 8:30pm
For Friday and Saturday (this week and next), you can follow the match results by webstream, app, or webpage. All of the details are here: http://1drv.ms/1ePz12t
Everyone on the team, including all the adults, has completed the on-line consent form for FIRST with 2 exceptions: Holly N and Stephen W.
For Chesapeake next week, the University of Maryland is requiring photo releases from all participants. Please download the appropriate one for your circumstance, print, and return to Mr. Muscato.
(under 18) https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1WANII4ekDRUENmNTNzQTI2bkotcVRuMER5ZF9XVXRkbm1R/edit?usp=sharing
(18 and older) https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1WANII4ekDRYUw4YXdfRVplc0djQ0s5bUw3MVZvaTJVSExv/edit?usp=sharing
We are going to demo our Robot at the STEM festival in Washington DC on April 25th, 26th and 27th. If you wish to be part of the team on any of these days, please have the permission filled and signed by a parent, and return it to Mr. Muscato or Mrs.Vallurupalli by Friday morning before the bus leaves for the DC competition.
permission slip:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1WANII4ekDRV29wTDlwOUNMaHN1ZE1oUDlwdXBtckJITGZV/edit?usp=sharing
Lunch will be provided for the students attending the festival, and you might get a t-shirt too, but you need to sign up by Friday.
Thanks,
Sai Vallurupalli
email questions or responses to: spkv1999@yahoo.com

March 25, 2014 - part 2 - please share with your child
This is what our new $92 flag looks like: http://bit.ly/1fgEOL6
DC Info:
This weekend’s bus schedule:
Thursday: Bus at HaHS at 7:15am, return 7pm
Friday: Bus at HAHS at 6:45am, return 8:30pm
Saturday: Bus at HaHS at 6:45am, return 8:30pm
I’ve confirmed that the return times are the estimates of pulling into Hammond at the end of the day. I would not be surprised if the Saturday bus in particular was earlier than that. Be prepared -- these return times are estimates.
It’s a long bus ride, so passengers should be suitably prepared with reading materials etc. Also, there will be no food stops, so consider packing something to eat for the ride home.
Every team member and mentor should have long since created an account with FIRST. Participants at the competition should double check that they have completed the consent and release forms. Students and their parents access the electronic form in STIMS ; adult mentors in TIMS .
Updated Chesapeake Info:
If you volunteered to work at Chesapeake, by Wednesday evening (tomorrow) you should have heard from the event volunteer coordinator. If you haven’t, let me know and I’ll get you connected.
Maryland FIRST has a special program for visitors to Chesapeake:
http://www.mdfirst.org/programs/first-robotics-competition/chesapeake-regional/visitors-first-stop.html
Please invite family, friends, coworkers, sponsors, potential sponsors, etc. to register for a tour guide.
Tour guides are high school students, college students, and adult volunteers and will be assigned as appropriate to the visitor. If you, or your child, would like to volunteer, let me know and I’ll connect you to the coordinator.
UMD engineering is expected to be doing some kind of tour of their facilities on Saturday highlighting their work in robotics.
The University of Maryland will announce at Chesapeake a new scholarship for FIRST kids. If you might go to UMD, be sure to find their scholarship table and Chesapeake and get the details.
Did you know that Chesapeake will cost Maryland FIRST about $195,000 and that we saved $60,000 over last year because we didn’t need to rent bleachers. Did you know the event is run by about 160 volunteers and 4 paid staff?

March 25, 2014
Forwarded from Mr. Muscato -
This weekend’s bus schedule:
Thursday: Bus at HaHS at 7:15am, return 7pm
Friday: Bus at HAHS at 6:45am, return 8:30pm
Saturday: Bus at HaHS at 6:45am, return 8:30pm

March 24, 2014
I still don’t have bus information for you. Mr. Muscato is working on it.
Thanks to Sai V. for taking the lead on the USA Science Festival Demo April 25 to 27. I understand that our enthusiastic participation in the event may generate a donation of up to $2,000 from Lockheed and they’ve agree to feed the team members that participate. Sai will be providing more information soon.
Thanks to Team founder / alum / mentor Rob O. for handling the robot & gear delivery to GMU Wednesday night. Diane G. will need some help in getting the truck unloaded on April 5 when it returns to Hammond (estimated 6:30 p.m.). Please let Diane know if you can help. diandyg@gmail.com
The Chesapeake Regional is recruiting Student Ambassadors to be guides for visitors at the competition. As this is our second competition, your child may want a break from the bleachers and this is an excellent opportunity. No experience required – FIRST will have a short training session. Please register prospective Student Ambassadors here . Please encourage your child to sign up.

March 22, 2014:
Hi All,
I posted the food items I ordered for the DC Regional on the wiki and linked it to the DC Regional page. This is for people wondering what happened to their orders and money. After I place the Chesapeake order on Monday, I will post that list as well.
I have received a few lunch orders for Chesapeake (see attached list). I will be placing the order by noon Monday. A few people are still thinking about whether to order. Please email me your orders by Sunday. You can pay me on Monday at Robotics.
Please note the order will be placed well before I see you at Robotics on Monday, so I cannot accept orders at Robotics, only money for orders sent to me by Sunday.
Thanks,
sai vallurupalli <spkv1999@yahoo.com>

March 22, 2014:
Thanks to Sheila and her crew for an excellent event. Thanks to everyone for the kind words and thoughtful gifts. You’re the best.
Pictures from today
__https://plus.google.com/photos/113483413186673180837/albums/5993677257263157057__
Everything you need to know about the competitions is on the wiki

__http://ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/__
recap of announcements:
1. bus - Mr Muscato is working on it, more soon - times are on the wiki
2. food at competitions - Sai has collected forms, the deadlines to order have passed
3. truck - we are sharing a truck with Atholton, Diane is handling the logistics, I think we’re solid with everything except perhaps unloading at Hammond after Chesapeake on April 5 around 6:30. Contact Diane if you can help.
4. Demo - Maryland FIRST offerred our team the opportunity to exhibit at __http://www.usasciencefestival.org/__ April 25 (Friday), April 26 (Saturday), and April 27 (Sunday). The kids want to do this. We are to be there 9am to 6pm, so we’re going to try and sort our shifts. I’m looking for a parent or mentor to be the lead person in planning and logistics. Please respond promptly if you can handle it.
5. Demo -The Maryland Tech Council is holding its annual awards dinner Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, Kossiakoff Center, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel, MD 20723. We did this last year and it was good for the kids who participated - they got fed, listened to the keynote (founder of Priceline), and met a lot of local tech business people. The kids want to do this again, so I’ll contact the organizers, meanwhile I’m looking for a parent or mentor to be the lead person in planning and logistics. Please respond promptly if you can handle it. NOTE: this is the night before Hammond’s graduation, so I’m guessing seniors may be otherwise occupied.
6. Gorman Crossing - the team mentors the robotics club on Tuesdays at Gorman Crossing. Sometimes we have trouble with transportation. Student Daniel G. is the organizer and he’s reluctant to reach out for help with transport. Please email him if you can help <__imjoemilk227@gmail.com__>
We are demo-ing our robot at Gorman Crossing’s STEM fair on April 10. Thanks to Holly for offering to transport the robot there and back.
March 21, 2014
After some negotiation and coordination with Atholton and Tony Miremadi, here’s the Trucking Plan for this year’s competitions:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IfdQ27_excJ-CTBCNP29ERHB2kiLXbtbaMI0gO8Dt8s/edit?usp=sharing
You’ll note that we need someone to step up and be the “point of contact” for truck matters. No lifting is required, just coordination.
The mentor appreciation lunch is tomorrow - 11:30 a.m. in the tech ed room.
The DC competition is just a week away. Be sure that your kids have turned in their permission slips .
Chesapeake food orders are due tomorrow . Forms available on the wiki .
March 20, 2014
Mr. Muscato wanted you to know that he has received many emails from parents who want to be on the bus and he’s working on getting that sorted. At the direction of HCPSS Central Office, we are sharing the bus with another school so the process is a bit more convoluted. Please be patient.
It would help if you could ensure that your child’s permission slip is submitted ASAP.
Thanks
March 18, 2014
DEADLINE TOMORROW
The deadline to turn in DC lunch order forms is tomorrow.
You may print a blank form from the wiki -
http://ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/
The form includes instructions.
Reminders
  • Mentor lunch is Saturday
  • due soon: DC Permission slips
  • Chesapeake food order form due by Saturday, print from the wiki
  • coming soon: Chesapeake permission slips
March 16, 2014
Reminders
  • students: turn in permission slips ASAP.
  • adults: Mr. Muscato needs to know ASAP which days you would like to be on the team bus. [Vincent_Muscato@hcpss.org]
  • everyone: turn in DC food order forms ASAP (extra forms may be printed from the wiki).
  • Mentor lunch is Saturday, forms to Sheila or Josh Lee NOW (extra forms may be printed from the wiki).
Notes
For competitions, students who are participating with the team must ride the team bus coming and going. For school field trip purposes, students who are not on the bus are not considered to be on trip.
Please act PROMPTLY.
Unless the weather intervenes, there’s a team meeting tomorrow afternoon.
March 15, 2014
from students:
This year we are looking into getting a flag for the announcer to wave around at competitions. Unfortunately we do not have the ability to use the team funds we have right now but are looking to get the flag before competition. If there's any way you could help out with funds (around $100) or have a way to get us a flag that would be wonderful.
Sam M smeyers7373@gmail.com
(the flag would have the same logo as what’s on the back of the team t-shirts)
March 14, 2014
Permission slips are now available from Mr. Muscato. They must be returned to him by the end of the school day on March 24. That’s a firm deadline .
Please ensure that your student sees Mr. Muscato and gets a permission slip.
Adults do not need to turn in permission slips, but adults MUST let Mr. Muscato know if they plan to ride the bus. As were sharing the bus with another team, space is limited, so let him know ASAP.
Note: food order forms are stapled to the permission slip, but you can print out extra copies from the wiki.
Turn this stuff in promptly!
March 13, 2014
PLEASE respond promptly
from Sheila:
Hi Ursa Major Parents,
The Mentors Lunch is next Saturday, March 22 at 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM at the Hammond HS Tech Ed Room.
Please send in your lunch slips by Monday, 3/17.
We really hope you make the time to come enjoy the lunch and meet the Ursa Major mentors and your son’s/daughter’s teammates and their families. There will be a videonand also a time of Seniors recognition. Most importantly is the mentor tributes and gifts. If you cannot attend the lunch, but would still like to contribute to the gift, you can mail a check to Sheila Lee at 8609 Sassafras Ct., Columbia, MD 21046. Josh will be at the team meeting on Friday (3/14) and Monday (3/17), so you can also just pass it to him.
Thanks to the following who have RSVP: DesPortes, Meyers, Adler, Hestnes, Counts, Oehrli, Iraola, Vallurupalli, Palmer, Lee, Baker, Green, Hong, Shaffer, Loefffler, Miremadi, Sinnott/SanAntonio.
Hope more people are coming - please let us know soon so we’ll have food for you!
and this is for you to share with your child:
All,
The March 22 Lunch is primarily the mentor appreciation event, but we will also set aside some time to have a Seniors Salute. Other teams at Hammond have a Seniors Night, so we would like to have one, too! It’s like our final home game.
Please help by fillingreplying back to steve.sheila.lee@gmail.com. I’d like you to write one way the Senior has helped you while at Hammond and at Ursa Major, something you like about him/her, a memory of something you did together, or an inside joke, or anything that you would like to say in appreciation or wishing them well in college. A simple phrase will do. Here are some examples:
“Thanks for helping me with my Physics homework.”
“Thanks for showing me how to use AutoDesk.”
“Thanks for saving my hand from the saw.”
“You gave the last slice of pizza to me."
I will compile these as part of a gift. Sorry that it is not a surprise for the seniors as they are on the mailing list, because I would like them to comment on their fellow seniors. Do not feel you have to write something for all the seniors - just if you can think of something. There are 7 seniors listed below. Please write next to their name.
Thank You,
Mrs. Lee
seniors
  • Ameer Mohammed
  • Faith Chung
  • Jacob Moffit
  • Kyle Iraola
  • Rainor Dale
  • Sam Meyers
  • Sherri Green

March 12, 2014
March Scholarships News:
There are over 170 FIRST Scholarship Providers making over $19 MILLION available for 2014.
Please visit the March FIRST Scholarship Newsletter for more information.
here: http://www.usfirst.org/sites/default/files/uploadedFiles/About_Us/Scholarships/2014_Assets/2014_FIRST_Scholarship_News_March_2014.pdf
from Maryland FIRST:

We are still looking for volunteers for the Chesapeake Regional on April 3-5. Specifically we are still looking for:
- Safety Advisors
- Field Reset/Repair (specifically for Thursday)
- Team queuing
- Crowd control
- Safety Glasses Attendant
If you know anyone who may be interested, please have them sign up here . [ my.usfirst.org/FIRSTPortal/Login/VIMS_Login.aspx ]

Note: several of these jobs require NO experience or special expertise. If you volunteer, you’ll get a nice FIRST t-shirt, probably a meal, and a chance to work with some other nice people. Also, the jobs are typically in manageable shifts. I’ve found that volunteering is fun, so I’m signed up.
Please forward this request to any adults who might be interested. Thanks.
March 10, 2014
out to the parents list...
The travel plans for the competitions are now set and all of the information, including departure times, is on the wiki:
ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/Wiki+Home
Permissions slips will be available later this week.
There will be some room on the bus to DC. Mr. Muscato will let parents and mentors know how they can sign up for that space.
Outside food is prohibited at the competitions. Our food committee has collected information about the options. You'll find that info for DC linked on the wiki. I recommend that you sign up for the box lunch option, unless you prefer standing in line. Information about Chesapeake will be available soon and will be available in the same manner. Thanks to Sai, Phyllis, and Diane.
NOTE: Be sure that permission slips and lunch orders are turned in promptly.
Please let me know if the wiki needs to be clarified or if additional information is needed.
Thanks
Jeff
March 6, 2014
from Sheila L:
Mentor Lunch 3/22 Update
Hi Ursa Major Parents,
The mentor appreciation lunch is 2 weeks away. Please remember to send in your slips and checks on Fridays and Mondays at team meetings. There are a limited number of days to get this in (3/7, 3/10, 3/14, 3/17). The food order will go out on the Wed. before the lunch. Thank you to the people who have already responded. I will send out updates to let you know that the envelope has made it to school, to Josh, to my home, to me!
If you have a special diet, please let me know what we could pick up for you. I plan on getting a variety of sandwiches and salads. In general, if you do have a preference for a sandwich, go ahead and let me know by email or on your slip. Here are some choices: Smoked Turkey Breast, Bacon Turkey Bravo, Ham & Swiss, Tuna Salad, Italian Combo, Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT, Napa Almond Chicken Salad, Asiago Steak, Sierra Turkey, Mediterranean Veggie.
Thanks to Charmian, Diane, and Lynette who will be helping with the lunch, too!
Please get your orders in soon!
Sheila
from Diane G:
Thank-you to all those who contributed to the Robotics Basket for the Hammond Boosters Bear Gala! Our team as a group was very generous and we put together a great "Bar Basics" basket with a variety of bar/wine tools, martini and shot glasses, a variety of premium liquor bottles, and more! This basket, valued to at least $250, was donated by our team and will be auctioned off to benefit Boosters!
In addition, thanks to Jen Larrson & her employer H & R Block, Dobbin Center location, for donating a Tablet to the Booster Gala! H & R Block will be recognized as a sponsor as well as the Robotics Team!
Boosters helps teams and clubs at Hammond and has been particularly generous to Robotics! So we are happy to have shown our support back at them!
other matters:
Thank you to everyone who printed copies of the button design.
Sai V. has agreed to take the lead on Friday lunches for the competitions. If you wish to help her in research, planning, or implementation, please email her directly spkv1999@yahoo.com
The transportation plans for the competitions are almost set. FYI, we will be busing to D.C. (GMU in Fairfax) all 3 days. We will busing to Chesapeake (UMD in College Park) Thursday and Friday and carpooling on Saturday. We are sharing the Chesapeake bus with the Wilde Lake team. The exact times will be fixed soon. Expect long days! We are moving cargo to both by truck, which we are sharing with the Atholton team. Permission slips will be distributed shortly.
Jeff
March 3, 2014
this went out to you twice:
"DC Regional - March 27 to March 29 at George Mason Univ in Fairfax. We need a parent to investigate lunch options - volunteer by replying. Holly is handling the bus arrangements. Thanks.
Chesapeake Regional - April 3 to 5 at UM College Park. We need a parent to handle lunch options - I have some information that will help - volunteer by replying. Holly is handling carpools and bus arrangements. Thanks.
Gorman Crossing Elementary STEM Fair - the team is demonstrating the robot on April 10, 6 to 8 p.m. We need a parent with a suitable van or truck to transport the robot there and back. Reply to volunteer. Thanks."
Thanks to Holly M for volunteering to handle the transport to Gorman Crossing ES.
Thanks to Diane and David for taking some steps to investigate lunch options.
Now we need a parent to volunteer to coordinate lunch options. Or two parents.
I would do it, but I'm over-committed already.
Thanks.
Here are the preliminary details on transportation to the competitions:
docs.google.com/document/d/1PSysD20IWmYSp9KpojVxTKTtdrWvwZ0aOqhSGSKLQXA/edit?usp=sharing
Permission slips should come home this week.
Jeff
March 1, 2014
Scholarship for students at community colleges in STEM fields
[static.grainger.com/images/TFT-Brochure.pdf]
Reminder: mentor appreciation lunch, March 22, return forms to S. Lee ASAP.
The bus company estimates our cost for buses this year at $3,000. That’s for 3 days of buses to the competition in Fairfax and 2 days of buses to the competition in College Park. Some of that will be covered by the County, some by our principal (thanks!). Details on transportation are on this document: [goo.gl/3ttlg6] Note, it’s an evolving document, so expect changes.
Twelve Regionals in other areas started yesterday. If you are interested in seeing what all the fuss is about, live streams are often available, check:
[www.theredalliance.com/livefeeds.html]
[www.thebluealliance.com/events]
Regionals continue until mid-April.
Constellation Energy awarded the team $500 (thanks Leigh!). We also received a small tool donation from Apex Tools and from Micro Fasteners, Inc. and DSR, Inc. is ordering a laptop battery for us. Every little bit helps. The team needs 3/16 inch drill bits. Please toss one or two in your shopping cart for us. The other needs are listed here [goo.gl/0LQth4].
The team is fabricating and giving away buttons at competitions. The team would like to make about 1,000. We need your help in the printing step. If you have a quality color printer, please download and print a few copies of this document [jmp.sh/s5obuTJ] or [1drv.ms/1i1jjEM] The goal is to get 150 copies printed.
No one responded to these requests that went to you on February 23:
"DC Regional - March 27 to March 29 at George Mason Univ in Fairfax. We need a parent to investigate lunch options - volunteer by replying. Holly is handling the bus arrangements. Thanks.
Chesapeake Regional - April 3 to 5 at UM College Park. We need a parent to handle lunch options - I have some information that will help - volunteer by replying. Holly is handling carpools and bus arrangements. Thanks.
Gorman Crossing Elementary STEM Fair - the team is demonstrating the robot on April 10, 6 to 8 p.m. We need a parent with a suitable van or truck to transport the robot there and back. Reply to volunteer. Thanks."
So, if you thought someone else would handle these, well, you thought wrong. Please volunteer.
thanks
Jeff
February 28, 2014
out to the parents list....
Ursa Major Mentor Appreciation Lunch 3/22
Hi Ursa Major Parents,
The Mentor Appreciation luncheon has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM. The previously announced date conflicted with members' scheduled HHS Band Adjudication and college visit. Please come out to the event to express your gratitude to the mentors who have sacrificed much personal time to teach and help the students plan and execute the build of a complex robot. Sometimes I think the Ursa Major experience is more valuable than school! They certainly learned a lot and formed good friendships through the club and over the delicious meals provided by you.
Many of you deserve thanks as well for all you've done to support the club. This event is really a celebration of a great build season and all the work that led up to it as well, including the Fall training. And through it all, we had mentors that gave up their Saturdays and late afternoons and evenings (until 8 PM) and holidays to help the students.
We will be honoring the following mentors: David Desportes, Reggie Counts, Charlie Crews, Eric Adler, Robbie Oehrli, Bobby Nanan, Miguel Iraola, Vince Muscato, Phyllis Hestnes, Sai Vallurupalli, Jeff Meyers. In addition to collecting money to cover the lunch of Panera sandwiches & salads, I am also collecting money to purchase gift cards that will be presented with handwritten notes from the students. We may also try to get frames for a team picture. The niceness of the gifts depends on your generosity.
It would be great to see you at the lunch, so I hope it's on your calendar now. The event is meant for the whole family.
If you have any questions, you can contact me at steve.sheila.lee@gmail.com.
Thanks,
Sheila Lee (Josh’s Mom)
http://eepurl.us4.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=3cb477919010a8dbe52e9b7cb&id=c605d70f1b&e=5cd6dcc0ac
February 23, 2014
Mentor appreciation event -
Sheila L is the organizer. Plan to attend. You are welcome to bring family and siblings.
At this event, students and parents express their appreciation to our generous mentors for their time and talent in teaching lifelong skills that will benefit our kids in their college studies and careers.
The Mentor Appreciation event will be a lunch on Saturday, March 15, 2014, 11:30-1:00 PM at the HHS Tech Ed Room. Mark your calendar.
Though it’s not a special location, we will make it a special event with good food and thanks and celebration of an excellent year.
If you want to help Sheila with the event, please contact her directly:steve.sheila.lee@gmail.com
Reminders:
Post-build team meetings Mondays and Fridays after school until 6/6:30ish. There's still plenty to do and the team needs all team members to help.
Boosters Gala - March 14. You can still join us. You can still contribute towards the team's basket. You can still participate in the cost of Mr. Muscato's ticket.
DC Regional - March 27 to March 29 at George Mason Univ in Fairfax. We need a parent to investigate lunch options - volunteer by replying. Holly is handling the bus arrangements. Thanks.
Chesapeake Regional - April 3 to 5 at UM College Park. We need a parent to handle lunch options - I have some information that will help - volunteer by replying. Holly is handling carpools and bus arrangements. Thanks.
Gorman Crossing Elementary STEM Fair - the team is demonstrating the robot on April 10, 6 to 8 p.m. We need a parent with a suitable van or truck to transport the robot there and back. Reply to volunteer. Thanks.
Jeff
February 21, 2014
out to the parents list...
Maryland FIRST, which operates the Chesapeake Regional robotics competition (4/3 to 4/5/14) in College Park, needs volunteers. I'm volunteering, but there are other more interesting volunteers - it's good fun and you get a nice t-shirt and meals ... Please volunteer or pass this along to anyone else who might be interested:
Chesapeake Regional - Volunteers
We are still looking for volunteers for the Chesapeake Regional on April 3-5. Specifically we are still looking for:
- Safety Advisors
- Field Reset/Repair (specifically for Thursday)
- Team queuing
- Crowd control
- Safety Glasses Attendant
If you know anyone who may be interested, please have them sign up here:
my.usfirst.org/FIRSTPortal/Login/VIMS_Login.aspx
Thanks
Jeff
February 19, 2014
out to the parents list ...
The next team meeting will be Monday, February 24 from right after school until about 6pm. No meal, but feel free to send in snacks.
Build season recap
The team had a great build season. This is the first time in the team's history that a fully functional robot was bagged on StopBuild. Please make sure that your child knows what a terrific accomplishment this is. Many teams, including our generous weekend hosts at Atholton, just didn't finish.
Thanks to those parents who helped feed the team. This was the first year in team history that the kids and mentors were fed every single session without charge to them. Well done! And some of the meals were superb!
This is the first year in team history that we have even bothered to try and sign up for the DC Scrimmage. In previous years, we didn't have a finished robot and we required every available minute to work on it. Sadly the weather intervened and the Scrimmage was cancelled, but we were ready.
This year's team learned to use sophisticated planning tools to ensure that the robot would be built timely. The team also thoughtfully divided and delegated tasks so that work progressed on multiple systems simultaneously. Team and subsystem leaders showed extraordinary dedication, perseverance, and diligence. They have done extraordinarily difficult work under challenging circumstances with amazing and unfailing good humor and patience.
Team members, with very few exceptions, worked harmoniously, cooperatively, and industriously. This would be impressive in the adult world, to find it amongst children is astonishing. And this year more was expected of student leaders because our faculty adviser was not only new to FIRST robotics, but was new to teaching. Plus we had the matter of the broken pipe, the move over MLK weekend, the move over President's Day weekend, and the weather issues -- all of which the team handled with more grace and forbearance than I had.
Not only did our kids tackle the difficult engineering and programming challenges, but they worked hard to get a handle on budgeting and accounting, on inventory and scheduling, on graphics, PR, and web page design, on fundraising, on outreach, and on chronicling their efforts. Unfortunately, given the lack of mentor expertise and support in non-engineering matters, the team was less successful in those areas.
The team would greatly benefit from adult mentoring in those non-engineering areas by adults who are as committed and reliable as our engineering and programming mentors have been. There is clearly a place for business, math, and physics teachers and mentors to play a role. This would be a rewarding activity for them that they could do on their own schedule and terms. It is a mistake to narrowly pigeonhole our team as just a tech ed function as the school system seems to want to do.
The team benefited greatly from the hard work of a few of the team's mentors in securing the vast majority of the team's funding. The kids and parents did raise some funds, but only a tiny fraction of what is needed to run this program. The team also benefited from donations by the Boosters and the principal, but the bulk of the money came to us because of mentors. We need to step up in this area. It is not reasonable to expect kids solely on their own to raise upwards of $25,000 a year, year after year. It's not realistic and it's not right. Our kids deserve better support.
The post-build team meeting schedule will be Monday and Friday afternoons. There is plenty for the team to do for the six weeks until the competitions. The team was able to build a practice chassis from spare parts (another first in our team's history), so they can test programming and strategies. Also, work continues on the Plan B ball control system. If Plan A fails (Plan A is what's on the robot now), Plan B should be able to be swapped in.
As you know, StopBuild was yesterday. At the end of the evening, the robot was placed in a large bag that is sealed and counter-signed by 2 adults. It will be opened at the competition. FIRST allows teams to reserve 45 pounds of stuff that may be added to the robot at the competition. That should accommodate Plan B if it is needed. This bag and tag was a well-earned celebratory moment for the team. Pictures are linked from the Pictures page in the wiki.
ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/Wiki+Home
I hope that your kids get as much out of the team as mine clearly have. Uniquely the program allows students (to the degree that they desire) to work shoulder to shoulder with industry professionals as they together craft solutions to difficult challenges. My kids have grown and learned tremendously thanks to our mentors. I hope that your kids have had similarly rewarding experiences.
As my youngest child is a senior at Hammond, I am now beginning to wind down my involvement with the team. I'€™m looking forward to helping someone else transition into this role. No one is going to recruit anyone - you'€™ll need to nominate yourself.
Reminders
Several parents are chipping in to buy Mr. Muscato a ticket to the Gala. If you want to chip in, get your donation to Miguel Iraola or put in in an envelope marked "€œIraola - Gala"€ that should be given to his son Kyle.
The Gala, which is an adults-only catered meal with great food (beer and wine included) and fun activities, will be held on Friday, March 14, 6pm at The Great Room, Savage Mill.
Buy tickets online: www.hammondboosters.org
or send in the paper form: bit.ly/KPIStG
Diane still needs contributions for the robotics basket that will be auctioned at the Gala. Please get your contributions to her promptly. Questions to diandyg@gmail.com, h-301-604-4435, c 240-644-4583
Jeff
Februrary 17, 2014
Atholton was a very accommodating and friendly host. We wish them good luck as they were still hard at it when we packed up and left.
Pictures, videos, and progress reports on the wiki:
ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/
Jeff
February 15, 2014
out to the parents list....
The programmers are having a productive day in my garage.
pictures:
http://eepurl.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=3cb477919010a8dbe52e9b7cb&id=bfc11879e7&e=5cd6dcc0ac
Atholton tells me that they plan on working in the school from 7:30a.m. to possibly 9p.m.. Fortunately we're in much better shape. So we're sticking with our original plan for tomorrow of 1p.m. to 4:30ish p.m. per this document:
http://eepurl.us4.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=3cb477919010a8dbe52e9b7cb&id=75d051d135&e=5cd6dcc0ac
All of the gear and the robot are at my house. If you want to do anything before 1p.m. tomorrow, please contact Sam directly.
Big thanks to Charlie for spending his Saturday with the kids in a cold garage! Our mentors are the best.
Jeff
February 14, 2014
out to the parents list...
Howard County Schools have decided to cancel anything that would take place in a school. That means that Atholton High is not available to their team or ours. I understand that some lobbying is going on, but given the school system's track record...
Anyhow, if anything changes I'll let you know, but for now, there is no meeting at Atholton tomorrow.
Sam is measuring our garage, so for those who like working on robots in unheated spaces, that's what we may be doing tomorrow.
Jeff

please share with your child:
1. There is NO meeting tonight. There is NO loading of gear tonight.
2. The DC scrimmage is cancelled. So, report to Atholton HS at 9a.m. tomorrow until 4pm per this document:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IvVD6ti-eQZYFqZ5JEg57bIBNWn_ocvSbrrUX8eEBA0/edit?usp=sharing
3. Reminder:
IMPORTANT: Team members are reminded that we are guests of Atholton. Any team members who cannot hold themselves to the very highest standards should NOT attend.
thanks
Jeff
February 12, 2014
out to the parents list …
Schedule for the next few days:
Thursday:
We expect school to be closed and that everyone will be safe at home.
Friday:
Hammond is not allowing the team to work in the school on Friday, however, Atholton is. So we we will be at Atholton from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. At the end of the day, the Miremadi and Desportes vehicles should be loaded with robot and gear for the scrimmage.
Saturday:
Cargo vehicles can go straight to D.C.
Carpools meet at Hammond at 7:45 for the scrimmage. Carpool information is on the wiki:
ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/DC+Scrimmage+2-15-14
Each person attending MUST be on the list.
NOTE: carpools lists have changed a little.
After the scrimmage, we’ll be returning to Atholton until 4/4:30 p..m.
Sunday:
The team will be working at Atholton from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., though we may quit earlier depending on how things go.
Monday:
The team will be working at Atholton from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. -- the ending time may extend depending on how things are going.
We must load up the robot and all supplies into vehicles that can deliver them to Hammond at the end of the school day on Tuesday so that the team can work Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Tuesday is back to our original plan: We will unload at Hammond right after school and work until the team is done. The robot must be bagged Tuesday night.
FOOD Friday through Monday
Friday evening: no plans, eat before and after on our own.
Saturday: Chowdhary providing lunch. Plan to have lunch at Atholton at 1 p.m.
Sunday: no meal.
Monday: no plans.
IMPORTANT: Team members are reminded that we are guests of Atholton. Any team members who cannot hold themselves to the highest standards should not attend.
Specific information - directions etc. - about Atholton will be sent out separately within the next day.
Thanks for your patience and cooperation.
Jeff


All,
Saturday's FRC Scrimmage is still on at this time. That may change due to weather. I will try and notify people of changes. Please check your e-mail and the DC FIRST Webpage for updates.
McKinley Technology High School
151 T St NE
Washington, DC 20002
Doors will open on or about 8:00 am
AM session 8:30 - 12:00 and PM session 12:30 - 4:00.
All registered teams will have a table and work space. It will not be a Regional type pit.
Park in the rear of the school and enter the Gym Doors on the lower right side as you face the large steps.
The plan is for McKInley H.S. to sell snacks but I am not sure how weather will change that plan.
Please standby and look for updates.
Don
Don Brobst
Senior Mentor, Washington, DC, FIRST®
V (703) 585 1275 (C)
E dbrobst@usfirst.org
W www.usfirst.org
February 7, 2014
Out to the parents list....
The team is participating in a scrimmage with 14 other teams next Saturday, February 15, 2014. All of the details are on this page:
ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/DC+Scrimmage+2-15-14
or
http://tinyurl.com/kslzrwq
(or go to the wiki and look for he DC Scrimmage link, bottom left)
As you can see we need drivers both for cargo and for people.
For cargo, we will either load Friday evening or early Saturday.
For people, we wil load at Hammond at 7:45 a.m. and return about 1:15.
Please either add your info to that page, which any wiki member may edit, or let me know and I'll add it for you.
Of course, you are welcome to come along as a spectator.
Thanks.
Please act promptly.
Jeff
February 6, 2014
out to the parents list … We have a lot to do and the missed time this week hurts.
FIRST announced today that there will NOT be adjustments to the deadline, which is midnight local time on February 18.
Here is the schedule through StopBuild:
Tomorrow (Friday 2/7) the team will be working until 8pm.
Saturday the team will work from 8am to 3pm. We have been told the building closes at 3pm and we cannot be there beyond that time.
Monday through Thursday of next week are normal sessions - after school until 8ish.
Next Thursday, February 13, (half-day of school) the team will meet from right after school until 8pm.
Next Friday the team is prohibited from working in school at all because conferences may be scheduled for the tech ed rooms.
Next Saturday, February 15, a scrimmage will take place at Phelps High, right off of 295 in NE DC. We are scheduled to play from 8:30 to 12:30. We will need help with transportation.
The following Monday, February 17, is Presidents’ Day. We don’t know yet whether we will be allowed in the school, but we sure hope we are. This will be nearly the only opportunity to respond to what is learned from the scrimmage as the next day is StopBuild. The schedule for the time between StopBuild and the competitions should be settled soon. During this time, the team will work on the Plan B robot, pit fitting out, bumpers, software, competition plans, etc.
Reminder: check the often amusing wiki Everyday Update which the kids are writing. ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/Wiki+Home
Several parents are chipping in to buy Mr. Muscato a ticket to the Gala. If you want to chip in, get your donation to Miguel Iraola or put in in an envelope marked “Iraola - Gala” that should be given to his son Kyle. The Gala, which is an adults-only catered meal (Putting on the Ritz) with great food (beer and wine included) and fun activities, will be held on Friday, March 14, 6pm at The Great Room, Savage Mill. Buy tickets online: www.hammondboosters.org or send in the paper form: bit.ly/KPIStG
Diane still needs contributions for the robotics basket that will be auctioned at the Gala. Please get your contributions to her promptly. Questions to diandyg@gmail.com, h-301-604-4435, c 240-644-4583
Jeff
February 5, 2014
My notes after a meeting with FIRST folks in College Park today about the Chesapeake Regional to be held at the Comcast Center: docs.google.com/document/d/1ZNhJ1Ii8eS_Aga0_vT-8Jd9H1Upd7hsFsHp15b5P4rM/edit?usp=sharing
or
http://bit.ly/1au8R5f
Jeff
February 1, 2014
Video of our robot first thing this morning:
drive.google.com/file/d/0B1WANII4ekDRUkdhOFBKc3hCZ1E/edit?usp=sharing
Things are going really well.
17 days to StopBuild . . .
No meal slots left! Thanks to everyone who signed up.
bit.ly/IRVHCU
This week’s food:
- Monday: Vallurupalli: Chicken biryani, palaak paneer, veg korma, okra & Indian sweets (except for the one chicken dish the others are vegetarian dishes)
- Tuesday: Lee:Meatballs & Rolls, Mac & Cheese, Yummy Broccoli
- Wednesday: Garvey
- Thursday: On The Border taco buffet, picked up by Shaffer
- Friday: Miremadi
- Saturday: Wilson
  • We have a huge supply of plastic forks, knives and napkins. We have ample quantities of plates, cups, and spoons. *
I need your help in picking up a donated meal: Friday, 2/14, (time tbd) Greene Turtle, Columbia. Please let me know
Great and inspiring story about Moriah Counts, team alum and daughter of our mentor Reg Counts:
www.usfirst.org/aboutus/nljan14/first-alum-moriah-counts-helps-bridge-the-stem-gender-gap
The work schedule for the period of Feb. 13 to 17 is not yet determined, but there will be a "scrimmage" in D.C. on the 15th that we would like to enter. Also, there will be a reduced schedule after February 18, maybe 2 or 3 times a week as the team prepares for the competitions. I think it would be useful to plan on a parents meeting this spring to plan for next year. A number of seniors and their parents will be moving on and there are torches to be passed.
The D.C. regional (George Mason Uni Patriot Center, Fairfax) info page is here:
www.dc-first.org/dc-regional
and the list of the 51 participating teams is here:
www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/regional-events
There's a lot of good information about the Chesapeake regional here:
www.mdfirst.org/programs/first-robotics-competition/chesapeake-regional.html
including the schedule, info about the venue (Comcast Ctr College Park), and the 54 teams participating (a lot of out of town teams).
In addition to what’s on the schedule, the Baltimore Area Alliance will be hosting a team social on the Friday evening. Our kids have indicated an interest in participating.
Mentor David reminds you that attendance is critical, so please help your child attend. I would add that students REALLY need to stay to the end of the session so that cleaning up isn't dumped on just a few. Also, we're out of bottled water, but I'm not asking you to send in any more. Rather your kids should bring in refillable containers for personal use. I’ve become disgusted by the number of almost full water bottles that we've been throwing out. We still have plenty of small bags of chips and pretzels, but snacks of other types are gone.
Student leaders say "Hi" and "Have a Happy Saturday".
Reminder: check the often amusing wiki Everyday Update, which the kids are writing:
ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/Wiki+Home
Boosters Gala - March 14
Several parents are chipping in to buy Mr. Muscato a ticket to the Gala. If you want to chip in, get your donation to Miguel Iraola or put in in an envelope marked “Iraola - Gala” that should be given to his son Kyle.
The Gala, which is an adults-only catered meal (Putting on the Ritz) with great food (beer and wine included) and fun activities, will be held at The Great Room, Savage Mill.
Buy tickets online: www.hammondboosters.org
or send in the paper form: bit.ly/KPIStG
Diane still needs contributions for the robotics basket that will be auctioned at the Gala. Please get your contributions to her promptly. Questions to diandyg@gmail.com, h-301-604-4435, c 240-644-4583
Get your tickets now!
Student coordinator Daniel reports that he has been contacted by a few parents to help transport team members to Gorman Crossing E.S. The team mentors the robotics club there. If you wish to help, or if you have questions, contact Daniel via the team email: teamursamajor@gmail.com with Gorman Crossing in he subject line.
Sheila L has volunteered to spearhead the mentor appreciation event. Please contact her if you wish to help plan or carry it out. steve.sheila.lee@gmail.com
Thanks for your support.
Jeff
January 29, 2014
out to the parents list...
Our team has committed to mentoring a robotics club at Gorman Crossing Elementary. We need a little of your help in facilitating this valuable activity.
Message from the team:

=

Gorman Crossing Mentoring
Mentoring will occur Tuesday and Wednesday, 4:00-5:00. Two volunteers must go each day. Daniel Garvey's mom can drive on Wednesdays, but another parent must drive on Tuesday. Exact dates will be added later. For more information, please contact Daniel Garvey at danielgarvey227@gmail.com

=

If you can drive either to Gorman Crossing or from Gorman Crossing, or both ways, please email Daniel ASAP.
Thanks
Jeff
January 27, 2014
out to the parents list... I hope that your kids are keeping you informed about the great progress the team has made this year but you may want to stop in and see for yourself.
Attendance is critical this week, M-F 2:30 - 8ish, Sat 8 - 3:30ish. There are only 22 calendar days left to StopBuild.
Recent emails to you contained a lot of information and several requests. Please take note and respond... You can review those emails here: bit.ly/1mOmmNp I'd like to highlight: if you or your company can donate anything at all for the basket, please get that to Diane G promptly.
This week's meal schedule: 1/27/2014 (Mon) - Sinnott - Baked ziti 1/28/2014 (Tue) - Meyers - pizza 1/29/2014 (Wed) - Garvey 1/30/2014 (Thu) - meal donated by Taco Bell, Patty D to pick up 1/31/2014 (Fri) - Loeffler - Taco meat, totillas, chips and fixins 2/1/2014 (Sat) - Chowdhary There is only 1 slot still open during Build: 2/13/14 - bit.ly/IRVHCU Thanks, the kids and mentors really benefit from the meals!
I noticed that several folks were taking pictures at team sessions. It would be great to share - you can add links to them on the wiki pictures page ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/Pictures or post them to the team's Facebook www.facebook.com/groups/57062864576/
If you have any suggestions about what should be updated on the team webpage, please let me know and I'll pass them along to Cameron, who's doing a great job on it - hammondursamajor.webs.com
Let me know if I forgot anything or if you have questions.
Thanks Jeff
January 26, 2014
Hello parents!
HCC has graciously offered us two cabinets to replace ours that were destroyed with the sprinkler. We need your help to pick them up! They're giving us two cabinets: one 59" high, 36" wide, and 18" deep, and another 65" high, 36" wide, and 18" deep. If you have a vehicle that you'd be willing to offer to help move them, please email me at sherrigreen24@gmail.com or teamursamajor@gmail.com. One should be able to fit in a minivan with the seats down. The manager at HCC that is coordinating this would prefer to do it on Tuesday or Thursday afternoon, so let me know which day you would prefer as well. (If you are unavailable either of these two days, but available on a different day, please let me know which day would work better for you.) Please let me know ASAP.
Thank you so much,
Sherri
January 25, 2014
out to the parents list …
Great progress today, we should be very proud our our kids’ hard work and our mentors’ and teacher’s reliability and guidance.
23 days to StopBuild ….
video of first test of this year’s robot: http://eepurl.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=3cb477919010a8dbe52e9b7cb&id=085e8392c1&e=5cd6dcc0ac
pictures linked from wiki
There are only 2 meal slots left, please volunteer:
bit.ly/IRVHCU
I need your help in picking up donated meals:
- Friday, 2/14, (time tbd) Greene Turtle
Please let me know if you can handle this pick up for the team.
Generally, the Monday through Friday meetings go until about 8p.m. Saturday meetings are 8a.m. to 3p.m.or 4. If there are changes, they should be posted on the wiki and I’ll try and send them out by email.
Mentor David reminds you that attendance is critical this time of year, so please help your child attend. I would add that students need to stay to the end of the session so that cleaning up isn’t dumped on just a few.
Reminder: check the wiki Everyday Update which the kids are writing.
ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/Wiki+Home
Boosters Gala
The Boosters Gala, which is an adults-only catered meal (Putting on the Ritz) with great food (beer and wine included) and fun activities, will be held on Friday, March 14, 6pm at The Great Room, Savage Mill.
Buy tickets online: www.hammondboosters.org
or send in the paper form: bit.ly/KPIStG
Get your tickets now!
Several of you have already sent envelopes to Diane - thanks!
Jeff

=

Robotics Team Parents!
This is Diane Green, Sherri's mom, writing to ask for your HELP right away!
The Robotics Team donates an auction basket every year to the annual Bear Gala (formerly known as the Bull Roast) for Hammond High School, which is on March 14 this year.
If each of us can make a donation, big or small, we will be able to put together an auction basket or auction item for the Gala from the Robotics Team!!
You can donate $10, 20, 30 or more -- (any amount is great, even $5 ) and we will purchase item(s) to go into the basket OR one large auction item. Let me know if you have any ideas. You can mail the donation to me (or have your child give an envelope to Sherri at school, marked "Robotics basket"). We would also be pleased to include in the basket any products or certificates for services that you, your employer, or anyone else can provide. The donor gets recognition and we benefit as well.
The team appreciates all the that team families are doing to support the Robotics Team this year --your support has been terrific!
Go Bears!!
Diane Green
diandyg@gmail.com
h-301-604-4435
c 240-644-4583
9501 Footprint Place
Columbia, MD 21046
January 23, 2014
out to the parents list ...
25 days to StopBuild ...
The move back from the warehouse went smoothly - a big thanks to everyone who helped! A a big thanks to Tony Miremadi and VMW Express for the generosity and flexibility in letting us use the warehouse. VMW sent me a note to thank everyone for the quick move and thorough clean-up.
There are only 2 meal slots left, please volunteer:
bit.ly/IRVHCU
I need your help in picking up donated meals:
- Thursday, 1/30, 4:45pm, Taco Bell
- Thursday, 2/6, 5pm, On the Border
- Friday, 2/14, (time tbd) Greene Turtle
Please let me know if you can handle one of these pick ups for the team.
Mr. Muscato reminds you that we're back on a regular schedule. He will be having a budget review session Friday (tomorrow) evening. If you're interested, please join us.
Mentor David reminds you that student attendance is critical this time of year, so please help your child attend.
Reminder: check the wiki Everyday Update which the kids are writing.
ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/Wiki+Home
Boosters Gala
The Boosters Gala, which is an adults-only catered meal (Putting on the Ritz) with great food (beer and wine included) and fun activities, will be held on Friday, March 14, 6p.m. at The Great Room, Savage Mill.
Over the years, the Boosters have been very good to us, so for that reason, you should attend. You should also attend because it is a great, good time. I was skeptical too about how much fun it might be, but now, after several years of going, I have no hesitation. Last year, there were 6 or 8 robotics parents there, we can do better!
One feature of the event is a silent auction of baskets that contain certificates for services or goods put together by various school organizations. The baskets on auction generally turn out to be great deals, so the event might pay for itself. It has for me for several years. Plus there are door prizes, so pretty much everyone goes home a winner.
Buy tickets online: www.hammondboosters.org
or send in the paper form: bit.ly/KPIStG
Get your tickets now!
Jeff

==

Robotics Team Parents!
This is Diane Green, Sherri's mom, writing to ask for your HELP right away!
The Robotics Team donates an auction basket every year to the annual Bear Gala (formerly known as the Bull Roast) for Hammond High School, which is on March 14 this year.
The Bear Gala, as you may know, is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the school and helps ALL clubs and sports areas at the school! So we definitely want to give back!
If each of us can make a donation, big or small, we will be able to put together an auction basket or auction item for the Gala from the Robotics Team!!
You can donate $10, 20, 30 or more -- (any amount is great, even $5 ) and we will purchase item(s) to go into the basket OR one large auction item. Let me know if you have any ideas.
BECAUSE Time is of the essence, please get in touch with me right away about your plans to donate. Please let me know how much you will be contributing. You can mail the donation to me (or have your child give an envelope to Sherri at school, marked "Robotics basket").
We would also be pleased to include in the basket any products or certificates for services that you, your employer, or anyone else can provide. The donor gets recognition and we benefit as well.
The team appreciates all the that team families are doing to support the Robotics Team this year --your support has been terrific!
Go Bears!!
Diane Green
diandyg@gmail.com
h-301-604-4435
c 240-644-4583
9501 Footprint Place
Columbia, MD 21046
January 22, 2014
out to the parents list...
So far, only 1 parent responded to the team's request for help with transportation tomorrow.
No matter what kind of vehicle you have, our kids would very grateful if you would turn up at the tech ed room about 2:40 tomorrow. The plan is to take some students and vehicles to the warehouse and move everything back to Hammond by 3:30 or so. Please let the team know teamursamajor@gmail.com if you can help.
Please help.
There will be a full team session tomorrow from after school until 7:30 / 8ish.
Only 26 days to StopBuild.
Thanks
Jeff

out to the parents list...
neither the school nor the warehouse are available to us today
we will need transport help tomorrow after school to go and retrieve everything and bring it back to Hammond, please email teamursamajor@gmail.com if you can help
thanks
note: 27 days to StopBuild
January 21, 2014
WEATHER/ Meeting UPDATE for Tuesday 1/21/14 -We are canceling today's Robotics meeting at the warehouse. A tentative plan to finish packing up (items are not completely packed) and moving back to Hammond is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon 3 or 330pm. This is dependent on road conditions, access to the warehouse, and access to Hammond. Anyone who has a van and is available, please email teamursamajor@gmail.com Another update will be posted when we finalize finalize plans for moving.
from David D & Diane G.
January 20, 2014
message from Diane
WEATHER ISSUE -WILL IT SNOW?: Tomorrow Robotics is scheduled for 9am to 7pm at the warehouse, including moving all of our "stuff" back to Hammond.
In case there are weather issues tomorrow and we need to make changes/cancel our Robotics schedule, please check the Wiki for updates. THERE MIGHT NOT BE ANOTHER EMAIL TO PARENTS -- you will need to check the Wiki - should post something between 730am and 8am Tuesday morning 1/21. You can call Diane Green if you have questions -cell 240-644-4583.
January 17, 2014
out to the parents list...
reminder: tonight is the move to the warehouse, we'll need your help - all the details are here:
docs.google.com/document/d/1D0PneluW0K0VPbn-bDCkSWGA1d_OH-lpGvBoJX4y0AI/edit?usp=sharing
or, shortened, bit.ly/1dyAGEX
Also, it's time to buy your tickets to the Boosters Gala
www.hammondboosters.org
It would be nice to continue our tradition of putting together a Robotics basket for the auction - please let me know if you're willing to handle that either alone or with someone else.
Thanks
Jeff
January 13, 2014
out to the parents list ...
Reminders
Tonight is the regional mentor meeting, so we will need parents to be present in the tech ed room after 6 p.m. until cleanup (around 7 / 7:30).
The schedule for the next week, etc. is all being collected in this document:
bit.ly/1c4gEBc
The document is updated from time to time, so check it periodically.
Parents - we need your help in providing transportation on Tuesday, January 21 in the 7 / 7:30 p.m. time frame.
Let me know of your availability.
Budget
The Superintendent's budget proposal is now before the Board of Education. The Board will act on it then send it along to the County. First the County Executive then the County Council will act on it before it becomes law. The proposal contains some language about FIRST robotics. On page 101, under "Engineering and Technology Education", the budget says:
"Co ‐ Curricular Activity
"The optional co ‐ curricular activities available to students who are interested in engineering include the FIRST Tech Challenge and the FIRST Robotics Competition which are sponsored by the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) organization. The FIRST mission statement is:
"'to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor ‐ based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well ‐ rounded life capabilities including self ‐ confidence, communication, and leadership.'
"Preparation for the FIRST competition is offered through an extended day and extended week timeframe. Community mentors work with the students and teachers to prepare for this engineering competition."
And proposes this funding:
28 substitute days @ $85 per day ($2,380)
and
$7,350 for bus transportation
That money, I think, somehow will be allocated by the Career & Technology Education Office. I do not know how, or even if, it will be divided among the 6 or 7 FIRST teams in County high schools. I also do not know how many FIRST Tech Challenge teams are in the County.
If you wish to express an opinion to the decision makers, the ways to do so are on these pages:
www.hcpss.org/aboutus/budget.shtml
howardcountymd.gov/departments.aspx?ID=499
cc.howardcountymd.gov/displayprimary.aspx?id=6442462205
Jeff
January 11, 2014
out to the parents list . . .
As you know, mid-terms, the MLK holiday, and the Professional Staff Day, will have a profound affect on the team schedule between January 14 and January 22. We need to comply with school requirements and deal with the need to move forward during this critical segment of the 6-week build season that ends on February 18. We also need to accommodate the schedules of our adviser, mentors, parents, and team members.
Team parent Tony M. has graciously and generously offered the team space in his warehouse in Elkridge, 8.3 miles from Hammond. We are taking him up on the offer.
The schedule for that period and the information about the site, meals, transportation, etc. is all being collected in this document:
bit.ly/1c4gEBc
We will update that document as new information arrives, so be sure to check it periodically.
Parents - we desperately need your help in providing transportation.
Right now, we need to know if you are available to drive gear & students from Hammond on Friday, January 17 and back to Hammond on Tuesday, January 22. Both moves are planned for the 7 / 7:30 p.m. time frame.
Let me know of your availability and I will add that to the document. If you have already let me know, please check the document to ensure that it is correct.
Note: if you signed up to provide a meal between January 14 and 22, please pay careful attention to that aspect of the linked document. Let me know ASAP of any issues.
Reminder: to keep up with what is going on at team sessions, check the wiki Everyday Update.
bit.ly/1h8x6pl
The kids are hard at work and making good progress. Or even better than reading the wiki, stop in.
Reminder: Monday January 13 is the regional mentor meeting, so we will need parents to be present in the tech ed room after 6 p.m. until cleanup (around 7 / 7:30).
Please help by turning up.
It is a busy and exciting time. There is a lot to do and very little time to get it done -- but this is the time of peak learning. Your support is vital to the team and beneficial to your child. Thank you.
Jeff
January 9, 2014
The availability of the school for team use is limited or non-existent from January 15 through January 22 inclusive. As you know, those days are vital for the team.
Team parent, Tony M., is allowing students and mentors to use his warehouse space in Elkridge (8 miles from Hammond) during that time at the schedule we choose. However, mentors and adult leaders have decided that we must have a minimum of 2 responsible adults on-site during those times. Team members generally work at school without close supervision and students are carefully and thoroughly trained in proper and safe tool use (and it shows); nevertheless, in Tony's warehouse, the adults must keep a close watch to ensure that the team's high standards of safe practices are consistently followed.
Before we publish a schedule for use of the warehouse, we must first get firm commitments from responsible adults to be there for particular times. If you are willing to help with this responsibility, and if you are available during the afternoons/evenings of January 15 through 17 or during the days of January 18 through 22, please let me know now -- ASAP.
If you do offer some time, please consider this offer to be an iron-clad commitment. We might not need you for all of the hours you are available, but we need to be able to count on you to be there when you say you can be.
As soon as we know the adult coverage, we can decide on the hours the warehouse will be open to students.
Once we fix a schedule, we will work on the logistics of transporting kids and gear. But the critical first step is to determine the availability of responsible adults.
Note: to be crystal clear, studying and schoolwork take priority over robotics. Also, working at the warehouse is entirely optional and is not a school activity or function and is not being supervised by the school.
For those of you who have generously volunteered to provide meals during those days, we will probably ask you to bring the meals to the warehouse, but meal times may need to be adjusted depending on how the schedule pans out.
Our kids have been working hard over the last few days and have coped extremely well with dealing with their soaked parts and supplies, their rusty tools and tool boxes, emptying and refilling the storage closet and bins, and tonight, the loss of internet connectivity on the school's computers. Each evening as I've arrived, I found almost everyone focused and busy. This is an astonishing educational experience for them of the highest order.
Our kids are a really great group. Let's give them the support they deserve.
Jeff
January 7, 2014
out to the parents list...
Hello!!
To whom it May Concern:
Wao!! Hooray!! Thank you all for all of your donations and contributions!! On behalf of me Johana Shaffer, Connor and my family, thank you.... Thank you!! We know all those people in need are going to appreciate it with all of their heart!!
Thank you all please pass the words!!
Mrs . Johana Shaffer
Holly asked me to send this out to everyone:
bit.ly/1iRf4Lq
It is a list of those who she has received donations from.
Jeff
out to the parents list...
I received this email and thought you would be interested:
Hi Jeff. I'm happy to report that we collected $400 in donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of Jereme Shaffer. It will go out in tomorrow's mail. There were a few people who emailed saying they would like to contribute, but I have not received those donations yet. For those of you who would still like to be a part of this, you can send it personally on behalf of Ursa Major, or get it to me quick (but it will need to go in a separate mailing). Thanks to all for your thoughtfulness and generosity in remembering Connor's dad through your kind donation on behalf of Team Ursa Major.
Holly Miremadi
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
P.O. Box 4072
Pittsfield, MA 01202
Thanks to Holly for taking the lead on this project.
Jeff
out to the parents list...
Herr's Snacks is donating a mess of snacks to us. We need someone to pick them up in Elkridge on Friday (January 9). Ideally this will be someone with a minivan or similar vehicle. There will a number of large but light boxes. I'm not sure of the box count, but it will probably be between 6 and 10. Let me know if you can do the pickup.
The build season, other than the pipe burst, has started off well. You can keep up with progress by checking the wiki updates and discussions [ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/]. As for the water damage, A lot of people helped out by emptying the storage room and drying and reboxing parts, tools, and supplies. The losses don't look too bad, but the electronics will need to be tested. We had to discard most of the cabinets that were in the room though.
Reminder to mentors: Register for the BAA mentor Back to Build event www.eventbrite.com/e/2014-back-to-build-mentor-dinner-registration-9624044777 It's Monday evening.
Reminder to parents: Please help provide adult coverage Monday evening while the mentors are meeting with FIRST officials.
Sheila set a high standard for team meals ... 6 meal slots left: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C094CA4AB2DA3FD0-build
Jeff
January 6, 2014
out to the parents list...
quick recap:
Kickoff was Saturday. The team sent 2 car loads of people to the regional kickoff event at Capital College. Everyone else met at Hammond to watch the web-stream. After the usual speeches, the game was released.
The game animation is here: youtu.be/f5zWzICG5to
The game involves manipulating giant balls and cooperating with alliance partners. As there are many ways to gain and lose points in the game, the team's first task is to develop a strategy, which will inform the robot design. Just as the team and mentors began to discuss strategy, a sprinkler pipe burst in the ceiling above the robotics storage room at Hammond. [YouTube: youtu.be/Ooxxw7xoBbw] I don't know the extent of the damage to the team's stuff, but the added task of dealing with tools, parts, and equipment that was soaked by the fetid water complicates the team's already difficult challenge.
The team moved in good order from Hammond to my house where the discussion continued until early evening. Team members were tasked with (1) studying the game rules [//www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/2014-game]; (2) getting ahead on homework; and (3) banking some extra sleep. A few photos: bit.ly/1efmbaO
On Sunday, team leaders and some mentors again met at my house to refine a strategy and set an agenda for today. [YouTube: youtu.be/q-s-dax4QAk (30 seconds)]
Today students are fine-tuning their strategy and beginning to design the robot. Students will also begin to work on a driver's station, field mock up, pit equipment, and gear drying and restoration.
coming up:
Although our first competition is not until March 27, the stop-build day is February 18. The wiki [ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com/Wiki+Home] has a countdown timer to that day plus on-going discussions and summaries of student activities. Have a look and poke around. A full list of all the competitions is here:
www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/regional-events
Thanks to everyone who has signed up to provide meals. There a just a few openings left [www.signupgenius.com/go/10C094CA4AB2DA3FD0-build]
Note: we could use some extra adult presence the night of Monday, January 13 because several mentors will be going to the BAA Back to Build mentor event. If you're available, just show up from about 5:30pm until clean up.
Tomorrow through Friday, the team will be meeting daily from right after school until about 7:30. Dinner will be provided. Saturday, the team will meet from 8am to about 3pm. Lunch will be provided. Parents, feel free to drop off snacks & bottled water.
This is an intense and exciting time. You are always welcome to stop in and observe or participate.
Jeff
January 4, 2014
out to the parents list....
Most of you already know that a sprinkler pipe burst in the tech ed ceiling late this morning. The break occurred above the robotics storage closet while the team was meeting. It remains to seen how much damage was done to our tools, parts, and supplies. In a way, it's good that we were there when it happened because we were quickly able to report the exact location of the break; I don't know how long it would have taken for staff to locate it otherwise.
The team moved in relatively good order to my house and got a good bit of work done, but all team members have assignments between now and Monday. There should be a lot of activity on the team wiki.
ursamajor2849.wikispaces.com
Note: someone left a VISA gift card at my house. It has "Vanilla" logo. Let me know if it's yours.
Youtube of the waterfall:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooxxw7xoBbw
A few pictures:
bit.ly/KqpfYr
animation of the 2014 game:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxp4dkMQ1Vo
Thanks to everyone who helped out driving, feeding, etc.
Jeff
January 3, 2014
out to the parents list....
this went to students, I thought you might be interested:
Hi everyone,
If Howard County buildings are closed tomorrow, we will be meeting at Sam's house to watch the livestream and talk about the game together. His address is 10112 Roveout Lane, Columbia. We are still meeting 10am-4pm. (Both mentors and students)
If we can get into school, we will meet there instead (but I doubt we'll be able to get in).
Please check hcpss.org in the morning to check closings. I'll also try to send out an email tomorrow morning.
Monday, come straight to the tech ed rooms for the in-school field trip. Mr. Muscato is sending out an email to the staff to excuse you, so don't worry about a permission slip. I'd recommend bringing your lunch, but if you normally buy lunch, you will still be able to go to the cafeteria and buy it and come back.
We will be staying after until about 7pm.
Attendance is super important for understanding what is going on, especially for the beginning of build season. Saturday and Monday are two of the most important days in build season for you to show up. Just FYI.
Also, a word to the wise -- get all your homework done. All of it. As much as you possibly can. And get a ton of sleep.
Sherri
January 2, 2014
out to the parents list...
Thanks to Lynette's foresight, the team has ample plates and forks for the time being. When you send in meals, do NOT send in plates or forks until further notice.
If you wish to donate bowls, spoons, knives, or napkins, you can send those in on Saturday and I'll pass along the results to the list.
Students also appreciate snacks like granola bars, chips, etc. You may send those in at any time.
Feel free to send in bottled water too. We're NOT seeking sodas or juices because they make a sticky mess when spilled plus some students have not been really all that good about cleaning up after themselves.
Thanks
Jeff