Thursday, March 9, 2017

An Intro to the Bearded Pineapples & Call for Mentors

Guest Contributor: The Bearded Pineapples

Hi! We are the Bearded Pineapples. We are an all-girls FTC robotics team. In FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge), teams of students in 7-12th grade build robots that are 18” by 18” by 18” to compete in a game that is different every season. (In the 2016/17 season, the game was Velocity Vortex:, and you can watch some matches played here: Additionally, teams can win judged awards, which are based off of the technical documentation in the team’s Engineering Notebook, or on what the team has done to grow the program.

FTC is part of a larger program, FIRST robotics. Over the last two years, we were part of FIRST LEGO League, the program for kids ages 9-14, and were one of 15 teams sponsored by Girl Scouts of Western Washington. One year ago, we outgrew this program. We were looking to continue on to FTC, but Girl Scouts of Western Washington did not sponsor teams at this level. We decided to help Girl Scouts of Western Washington explore what was needed to sponsor FTC teams, and now we are ready to create several more teams!

To do this, we would love to find more (preferably female) mentors who can help teams learn skills like programming, technical documentation, and mechanical engineering. Our team owes a lot to our female mentor, Toni Carlstrom. We submitted a video to nominate her for the Compass Award, an award given out to an outstanding mentor, which she won.

Mentors would ideally be working with teams around twice a week for around 2-4 hours each, though this number varies considerably from team to team and from mentor to mentor. The FTC season runs from September to mid-January, but can extend until March or April for teams that advance.

Students who participate in the program benefit greatly and learn many important life skills – and have tons of fun. Talulla, a member of our team, has discovered her love for mechanical engineering, and will attend Tesla STEM High School next year. She wouldn’t have known how much she enjoys mechanical engineering without FTC.

Are you interested in learning more about FTC? We are hosting an open house at the Girl Scout of Western Washington Bellevue Office (13029 NE 20th Street Bellevue, WA 98005). We will play some matches with some other teams and answer any questions. Please join us! Find the flyer on our website:
Interested in mentoring, either regularly or just occasionally? Please contact us at!

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