This is the place to come if you are a parent of a Team 340 member, or if your student is thinking about joining.
Joining Team 340
Students in grades 9 -12 are eligible to join our team, and Team 340 is open to students outside of the Churchville-Chili school district (if the student’s home district does not have a team). We are one of the only local teams that accepts students from other school districts and also home-schooled students; we feel that all students should have the opportunity to participate in FIRST.
To join, send us a note, or you and your student can come to one of our weekly meetings. We also hold a kick-off meeting at the beginning of each school-year.
What Does a Team 340 Student Do?
While on Team 340, your student will learn, experience, and participate in many different activities. They will attend weekly meetings, and we typically attend two regional competitions, plus additional competitions based on how well we perform at the regional competitions. Additionally, we participate in off-season competitions and perform local volunteering and demonstration activities.
For example, our 2017 activities have included:
- Students built our 2017 robot in six weeks by participating on one or more sub-teams: mechanical, electrical, programming, marketing, etc.
- Competed at the Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in Rochester, NY. (Finalists & Industrial Design Award Winners)
- Competed at the Buckeye Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in Cleveland, OH. (Competition Winners & Excellence in Engineering Award Winners)
- Competed at the Northern World Championships FIRST Robotics Competition in St. Louis, MO. (Divisional Quarter-Finalists)
- Competed at the Indiana Robotics Invitational, an off-season FIRST Robotics Competition, in Indianapolis, IN. (Semi-Finalists)
- Mentored several junior robotics summer camps held at Churchville-Chili Senior High School.
- Volunteered in our schools Garden of the Saints multiple times and at the George Eastman Museum’s gardens as part of RIT’s Global Day of Service.
- Demonstrated our robots at the Churchville Country Fair, Fallone’s Funtime Center, the George Eastman Museum, Waste Management, and Ford Farm Market’s pumpkin season kick-off.
- Assisted with creating four FIRST LEGO League teams and four FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams.
- Will be competing at Rah Cha Cha Ruckus, an off-season FIRST Robotics Competition, in Rochester, NY. During this event, we’ll also be holding our the 7th annual Make a Difference Day FIRST Mega Drive, partnering with Penfield’s FRC Team 1511, collecting children’s books, non-perishable goods, and electronics for local children in need.
- Will be hosting a FIRST Lego League event at Churchville-Chili Middle School. All Team 340 team members will be volunteering to help run this event.
- Held fundraisers, such as Celebrate Churchville-Chili’s food truck initiative.
In addition to the above activities, Team 340 meets year-round, but the number of meetings we have each week depends on the time of year. We meet in the tech wing of Churchville-Chili Senior High School.
- During build season (January through mid-February): Two nights each week, Saturdays, and sometimes Sundays. If February Break falls during build season, we will leverage this time, as well.
- During competition season (mid-february through April): Usually two nights per week.
- During the off-season (May through December): Usually one night per week, possibly more depending on the preparation needed for team activities, such as off-season competitions, community demonstrations, volunteering activities, and fundraisers.
During the off-season meetings, our team members help each other out by:
- Skill refreshers and new learning. For example, programming kids participate in refreshing their skills and learning new skills; new members begin learning coding skills based on the guidance of older team members and mentors.
- Peer tutoring each other for school work during meetings. If anyone is struggling with their school work and needs help with a certain subject, they just need to ask!
Team 340 uses several methods to communicate:
- Team members: We use a platform called Slack that can be accessed via the web and also by a smartphone app. Parent mentors also use this platform.
- Parents: Check out our calendar on this web site.
- Parents: Join our Greater Rochester Robotics Parent and Family Facebook page.
- Parents: Also sign up for parent emails.
To keep the world informed about our activities and accomplishments (in addition to this web site), we use the following social media platforms:
Some of our competitions are held outside of the Rochester, NY area, and when this occurs, we travel to the competition.
In order to travel, team members must have earned enough participation hours to qualify. Participation starts the summer before each season. (For instance, logging of participation hours for the 2018 competition season started in July 2017.) The students earn hours via robotics summer camp mentoring, community demonstrations, and community volunteering they perform, and they need to lead at least one of these events. Additionally, all students are required to participate in a fundraiser or acquire team sponsorship. Team members need to earn at least 80% of the maximum available hours to travel.
Note: first-year team members are not required to meet these requirements in full as we realize that they haven’t had the opportunity to participate as much as the existing team members. With that said, we implore first-year team members to participate in as many events and meetings as possible.
When a student is allowed to travel based on our team rules, you and they must register with FIRST ahead of time:
First, register your student on STIMS>>>
- Go to https://my.firstinspires.org/AccountManager/Account/Register.
- A Register your new FIRST account page displays.
- Enter all required information to create an account, and click Register.
- A confirmation email is sent to you.
- Click the link in the email to confirm.
- Sign in to your new FIRST account.
- Click Go Back.
- Click Complete My Youth Member Registration.
- Select User Profile > Edit/View.
- Complete all parent information.
- A confirmation email is sent to your parent’s email address.
Next, register as a parent >>>
- Click the link in the email mentioned above to confirm the parent registration.
- Follow the steps provided to create a new account.
- An additional email is sent to you.
- Confirm the newest email.
- Once in the web site again, click Add Youth.
- Enter your student’s email address.
- Click apply to a team and select team(340).
- Complete the consent form.
In addition to participating in meetings, demonstration events, fundraisers, and volunteering, to stay on the team, students need to remain in good standing academically based on our district’s requirements. School counselors send quarterly reports to our team leader.
How Can Parents Help?
If you have expertise in any of the areas required to build a robot, please let us know! Our team is student-led but mentor-guided. Students work side-by-side with volunteer mentors — real-life mechanics, engineers, and programmers — who teach via hands-on learning. Our robots are designed and built by our students, but we need mentors to teach, give suggestions, and provide knowledge from their fields of work.
If you don’t feel you can help out that way, parents can still assist by helping organize fundraisers, demonstrations, and volunteering activities. Also, during build season, we are at school a lot with many long days, and during this time we rely on parents to “feed the team.” Parents sign up to provide meals, drinks, and dessert to the team to ensure they are eating healthy during crunch time.
Watch Our Competitions From Home
If you can’t come to our competitions, you can easily watch from home! Competitions are live-streamed, and you can watch them from the following links:
- Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics Competition: to be determined
- Additional Regional FIRST Robotics Competition: to be determined
- World Championships: to be determined
The Benefits of Joining Team 340?
In addition to joining a historically-successful team, GRR students garner experiences that absolutely benefit them in various ways.
Volunteering: Students learn the importance of giving back to their community.
Hands-On, Real-World Experience: Team members gain hands-on experience with designing and building hardware, mechanical, and electrical systems, software development / coding, and marketing while still in high school. This is invaluable experience that helps students post-graduation with obtaining college acceptance and/or employment.
Life Skills: Participating on this team helps students develop skills in gracious professionalism; project management; leadership; time management; the ability to commit to a project; positive learning habits; attendance, punctuality, and dependability; social interaction, and experience with becoming responsible for themselves away from home.
- Students are eligible to apply for numerous scholarships offered by FIRST.
- Students are eligible to apply for numerous scholarships offered at competitions.
- Students are eligible to apply for numerous scholarships offered by colleges that are specific to FIRST participation. (Click this link, and scroll down the page. You can then search colleges.)
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost for a student to be involved with FIRST and GRR?
Membership in FIRST and Team 340 are free.
Costs that arise while participating on our team generally include:
- Two t-shirts to be worn to competitions, demonstrations, and volunteering events. (Cost usually less than $20.)
- Costs to travel to competitions to cover hotel and bus, plus food costs.
- Costs incurred by family members when they prepare meals to feed the team during build season.
- Costs of team-branded swag that you may choose to purchase.
How is your robotics team funded?
Though we do fundraisers, we rely heavily on sponsors to support our team. If you know any businesses or individuals who may be willing to sponsor Team 340, please give them our sponsor packet. All donations are tax deductible.
Does a student need to attend Churchville-Chili to be a team member?
No. Students from other school districts can join Team 340 if their school doesn’t have a team. In the past, we have had students join our team from Gates-Chili, Wheatland-Chili, and Aquinas.
Do I need to fill anything out to send my student to competitions?
Yes. In addition to registering with FIRST (see above), for each competition held during the school year where a student takes transportation provided by GRR / Churchville-Chili Central School District, whether a Churchville-Chili school bus or a rented bus, parents must complete two forms for permission to travel and also health. These are handed out at the pre-competition parents’ meetings.
How many FIRST leagues are there?
FIRST offers four distinct programs:
- FIRST Lego League Jr. (grades K-4).
- FIRST Lego League (grades 4-8).
- FIRST TECH Challenge grades (7-12).
- FIRST Robotics Competition (grades 9-12). Greater Rochester Robotics Team 340 is a FIRST Robotics Competition team.
There’s a lot to learn about FIRST. For more information, go to: https://www.firstinspires.org.
Glossary of Terms
We may use some words and terminology that you aren’t familiar with. The following list of definitions should help.
- Blue Alliance: When competing, our robot will be part of a three-robot alliance. During a match, there are two alliance teams: the red alliance and the blue alliance. The color team we will be on will vary throughout a competition. Additionally, The Blue Alliance also refers to the web site where competition information is hosted.
- Bot: Slang term for robot.
- Buckeye: Refers to the Buckeye Regional competition held annually in Cleveland, OH.
- Coopertition®: Per the FIRST web site, “Coopertition® produces innovation. At FIRST, Coopertition is displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition. Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete. Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from mentors. And it is managing and being managed. Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.”
- FIRST: For Inspiration & Recognition In Technology, FIRST is the organization that runs all FIRST Robotics programs.
- FLL: First Lego League, a robotics league for middle school kids. Every fall, GRR hosts a FLL competition in the Churchville-Chili Middle School.
- FLR: Finger Lakes Regional is an annual FIRST Robotics Competition held in the Rochester, NY area. Teams from across the northeastern United States and Canada usually attend.
- FRC: FIRST Robotics Competition, the level of FIRST competition in which GRR competes.
- Gracious Professionalism: Gracious Professionalism is at the core of FIRST. It’s central to our very identity. It’s the element of FIRST that clearly states ‘Character’ is what matters, in FIRST and in life.
- GRR: Our team, Greater Rochester Robotics FIRST Robotics Competition Team 340.
- GRRLS: An abbreviation used to represent the female members of the GRR.
- IRI: Indiana Robotics Invitational is an off-season robotics competition held every July in Indianapolis. This competition features the “best-of-the-best” of the most recent season’s competitors.
- Kick-Off: Annually on the first Saturday in January after school starts, FIRST simultaneously-holds kick-off meetings around the world to announce the new season’s theme, playing field, competition rules and requirements, robot specifications, robot function and scoring requirements, etc. This ensures that every new season is very exciting and challenging! We attend our kick-off at Spencerport High School.
- Rah Cha Cha Ruckus: Held every October, this is an annual, off-season competition held in Rochester, NY featuring the previous season’s playing field.
- Red Alliance: When competing, our robot will be part of a three-robot alliance. During a match, there are two alliance teams: the red alliance and the blue alliance. The color team we will be on will vary throughout a competition.
- Slack: The platform used by the team for easy communication. It can be used from a web browser and there is also a smartphone app.