Project Lead the Way (PLTW) » 2018-2019 VEX Robotics Competition - Turning Point

2018-2019 VEX Robotics Competition - Turning Point

In the VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, teams of students are tasked with designing and building a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge. Classroom STEM concepts are put to the test as students learn lifelong skills in teamworkleadershipcommunications, and more. Tournaments are held year-round at the regional, state, and national levels and culminate at the VEX Robotics World Championship each April!
We here at Holland Robotics compete against middle school and occasionally verse high school teams in Southern California region. As the game changes each year we too will be ready for the next challenge!
2018-2019 VEX Game - Turning Point
Big Shout out to this Years Sponsors! We could not have gone anywhere without your support.
Northrop Grumman
Petroleum Solids Control, Inc.
Vulcan Materials
BC Sauder Inc.
Zavala Law Firm
Shirely Quan
Waste Management
Baldwin Park Public Safety Employees Association
WESCOM Credit Union
Carmel and Daniel Gardner
Carlos Hernandez
5/23/2019 - Team 68689 - Holland Middle School
Thank you to all our sponsors without your support all three teams would not have able to achieve any of their goals they have set for this year! Here is a highlight video of 68689 Teams year! Enjoy!
4/24/2019 to 4/27/2019 - Team 68689B - VEX World Championships - Louisville, Kentucky 
Where do I begin! Winning at San Diego California Championship was totally unexpected and being able to represent California again at the biggest event of the year has been an honor. As a second year public school program we never would have dreamed that our season will end at the World Championships again. Last year going to Worlds was a whirlwind, this year were had a game plan to execute. We knew our team 68689B and robot would have fighting chance to compete with the best in the world. We changed out their outdated underpowered cortex based system to the V5's and programmed it within roughly 3 weeks. 
It was not the smoothest transition but it got the job done in the short duration of time. They even had time to develop a "Skills" driving and autonomous program in that short time. We knew we would not win "the Skills Challenge" but we want to show the other teams at Worlds we mean business. 
At Worlds we set some benchmark for the team to achieve: 1) Have a winning record; 2) Top 50% of qualifying; 3) Top 30% in skills; 4) get into elimination rounds.
The kids hit all four goals. Ended Skills ranked #23 out of 163 teams that tried. (remember these teams are the best of the best). Ended with a 7-4 record, our stats ended up higher than our standings but that was for events out of our control but ranked 25th out of 94 teams at the end of qualifying. We did make it into elimination rounds as the 14th Team Captain and we selected 7700Y as our alliance partners. The alliance did not get beyond round of 16 but it was one good showing for 68689B, for the city of Baldwin Park, for the state of California and the good ole US of A. 
What does next year brings? Who knows?
Click on the following links for recap videos of the team's trip to VEX World Championships:
4/3/2019 to 4/6/2019 - Team 68689X - CREATE US OPEN; Council Bluff, Iowa
We always has planned on attending the CREATE US Open in Council Bluff, Iowa. We just did not know which team to send as it would be a great practice for any World team or be great to show a growing team what a multiple day competition feels like. But, when it was time to choice a team; we look into our future and took our 7th grade team to Iowa. It will give them a better idea what it would be to compete on a World type scale and being away multiple days. After 68689X team lost at their regular season tournament they spent the next 2 months redesigning and programming using the newer V5 system. During that time they have burnt out 3 motors and learned to program all of their autonomous programs. Taking a group of 7th graders to Iowa was a treat as it was the first time for all of them to travel without their parents and compete in a multiple day format. Team 68689X survived the experienced as they were not used to the format of the timer and did not adjust well to the slightly different field. They ended qualifying round 3-7-0 ranked #54 and #94 in skills. The inexperience showed during this trip but I believe they learned a lot of soft skills and what it takes to be a World Championship team.
To see their trip on YouTube click on the links below:
3/9/2019 - Team 68689 - California VEX State Championships - San Diego
68689B - This team knows that this is their second chance and will have to give it their all. But, as a filler team in this tournament they have little or no pressure other than to fill in the qualifying round. But, they knew it was destiny for them to excel, tho reality would hit them in the face the once they arrive. Apparently, 68689B programmer forgot to upload all of the autonomous program they developed onto a portable flash drive and had to reprogram as much possible for the start. But, with trial and error they made a 3 point autonomous that worked pretty effectively. They finished the day undefeated 7-0 using the older cortex based platform. Ranked #1, a position that we have never been in before and at the biggest tournament of their lives. They choice 8838B as their alliance partners as the other teams were reluctant to join them at 100%. The alliance breezes through round of 16 and quarterfinals with blow out scores as predicted, the real competition will be at the semifinals and finals. In the semifinals they faced off 3324B and 8838D a powerhouse team that could score. They did win autonomous be 68689B and 8838B squeezed out a win by out scoring them on flags and parking on both platforms. Then came the final, they knew it was for all the marbles. Red side won autonomous mode by 2 points based on the simple program 68689B wrote at the tournament itself. They lost majority of the flags of the match and looked like a defeat during finals but, the drive coach remember how they lost at their league and slowly and quietly controlled all the caps and controlled both high and red parking. The kids pulled it out a win 22-17 and became the tournament champion and will represent California at the VEX World Championships! They also won the "Judges Award" as it would be the first trophy the team won during the season. 
68689X - This team made it to the post season by winning an impossible bracket at North Hollywood. So they know they will be out gunned if they did not change their bot to be competitive. So they did, they changed their entire platform to the higher functioning V5 system. They rebuilt and learned to program the entire bot within the 2 months. This team is really my growing team as they are composed of mostly 7th graders. They performed will for what they have trained under. Ended the qualifying round not as spectacular as 68689B but 3-4-0 and ranked 10th. Still they made it to eliminations and grouped up with 91625B from Brea. Both teams had mechanical issues and was quickly eliminated early. As a growing team they did well their 1st year and I hope to see greater things from them next year.
Here is a video recap of their day: click here
2/19/2019 - Team 68689B - Holland Middle School - Season Continues
We believed that the end of the season for 68689B ended at Grace Berthen Tournament in Simi Valley. They did pretty well as another 1st year team making to every single elimination round. They even ended a tournament 3rd the highest placement we 68689 as a whole has ever finished. Just falling short by one match in our league to make it to post season play. Then we get an email from REC. Team 68689B gets invited to the California State Championships based on their Skill Score. The funny part is that they never ever focused their time on skills as it was another aspect we were not familiar with. But with that gave life back into 68689B in the post season.
2/16/2019 - Team 68689A - Rolling Robots Middle School Tournament
Girl ended the season with a record 4-2 ranked #9 with a good amount of all teams. As being the end of the season match every robot out in competition are all dialed in. They grouped up with 7700P ranked #8 and lost in the round of 16. Sadly, this is where 68689A season ends. As a first year and an all girl team, they made it to ever single elimination round which was awesome. I believe if they had one more tournament they would have everything dialed in. I hope for the best for this team next year in high school.
2/9/2019 - Team 68689 - Grace Brethren 3rd Annual Middle School Qualifier - Simi Valley
68689A - Girls continue to do well during the tournament. As they modified their autonomous programming to be ultra competitive. They ended 8th in qualify rounds with some mechanical issues with their catapult. They won their round of 16 to meet up against 68689B in the quarterfinals. With a better autonomous programming and a slightly better driving alliance the girls beat out the boys in the quarterfinals 29-10. 68689A went against 83A and 3324J and lost 8-22 in the semifinals.
68689B - The boys continued to perform well. Ended qualifying round in 3rd the highest position they have ever ended up. They also did well in skills as they never focused on that area before. They formed an alliance with 1877K which was an par alliance compared to the field. But both alliance team had a cap side autonomous so they were not able to score the max points possible going into the elimination rounds. They did get a by for the round of 16 but, they lost to their own teammates 68689A in the quarterfinals. 
2/2/2019 - Team 68689A - Sato VRC Tournament 2018 - Long Beach
I was not able to attend this tournament as I was at the PLTW conference in Anaheim the same weekend. The kids did pretty well against high school kids. I usually send one team to a high school tournament during the year to give them a taste what is to be like to compete at that level next year. The girls came in respectfully 8th in qualifying and was eliminated in the quarterfinals by a high school alliance team. The girls did make good impression as they took home the "Judges Award"!
1/26/2019 - Team 68689 -  Rio Hondo League - STEAM Academy Pico Rivera  Round 4
68689B - B Team finished 8th in qualifying but was on fire today shooting and was selected with ranked #1 4863H Irving Bears; sadly with some simple chassis and shooting issues with both bots, the alliance had a heart breaking lost at the finals.
68689X - X Team finished 12th in qualifying in their league. Riding on their high from the previous weekend win it was sub par. They did secure the "Sportsmanship Award" from the league and was quickly eliminated in the quarterfinals.
1/12/2019 - Team 68689 - North Hollywood VEX Supernova Spectacular - North Hollywood
68689A - The girl team finished strong on the day. Emie the driver was by herself for the majority of the day until Izzy showed up. We did have some mechanical issues as with the catapult exceeding the height limit of 18 inches. The team spent the remainder of the tournament fixing the issue to met the maximum specifications. Girls finished 7th 5-3-1 in qualification rounds and was paired up with 7700C for elimination rounds. A team finished the tournament as finalist as the red alliance beating out ranked #1 in semifinals.
68689B - This was B teams first 1 day tournament as they are mainly in a league for this season. The team came up against some traffic early in the day as the 5 freeway we shut down and caused a 2 hour delay for the robot to arrive on the field. After that delay B team showed some good matches and ranked high on the qualifiying list until they started to run into problems with their linear punch. The team ended qualifying 10th with a record of 5-4-0. They lost in sweet 16 due to a nut getting stuck in their ball intake and could not shot for the entire match.
68689X - X team was the surprise of the day. They are my growing team of mostly 7th graders, they basically had an untested catapult push bot at the competition. They finished 14th with a record of 4-5. But they could easily move around the field, flip caps, and get on the platforms easily. They were invited by one of the home team to be part of their alliance 3324B. They basically had a game plan with 3324B going after flags and 68689X going after caps and parking early. That simple strategy paid off as they easily qualified to the final round of elimination. They faced 68689A and 7700C in the finals and beat them by 1 point! What a crazy day having two teams in the finals and knowing only one will take it home.
1/11/2019 - Team 68689 - Holland Middle School - "Back from Vacation"
Hi my name is Leilany and I am the builder and the drive coach for the A team. This week was a hectic week because we came back from winter break. Izzy, our programmer is finishing the programming for our autonomous mode. 
Hi my name is Jezreel,this week my team and I are preparing for our comp on the 12th of this team's programmer is finishing our autonomous mode.our knocker was broken but we fixed it.we also had to move ports for some of the motors.we also have been having trouble with our ball launcher. We aren't able to find the right power for the ball launcher.
Hi my name is Jason and this week my team is trying to get our bot working for our comp on the 12th. We are starting to work on getting the ball loader working and along with our launcher. We are slowly making progress but not a lot hopefully we can get this done by Friday.
12/18/2018 - Team 68689 - Holland Middle School - "3 Day Week before Break"
Hi my name is Leilany and I am the coach and a builder. Today, we changed two of our motors that are for our catapult into torque motors. We found out it was not enough power to pull down the catapult with the full amount of rubberbands attached. Our programmer, Izzy, started to program the final things on our robot and we are also going to drive as much as we can today. After driving we found that the PTC on the motors were popping so the turbo motors will need to be switched out to high speed to keep the heat down so the PTC will not trip again. 
Hi my name is Jezreel. This week my team and I are working on our bot. We changed our ball launcher motor, before it was high speed and now we changed it to torque motor. My team and I changed the motor because our driver wanted more power on the ball launcher and it was barely able to move the launcher with the 3 rubberbands on either side. We also changed our intake motor, it was torque and now its high speed.our driver wanted the intake motor changed because he wanted the ball to go up faster to the ball launcher. But, we changed it back to a torque motor cause it was binding on the intake rollers. This week my team and I are changing a bunch of stuff on our bot before we go on Christmas break because we have a comp after our the end of our break. 
68689X-Hi my name Jared. Today we are working on the bot and motor 7 broke and we are replacing it with another motor and we have yet to finish the ball launcher, and or attach to the bot.
12/14/2018 - Team 68689 - Holland Middle School - "Week before Break"
Hi my name is Ashley. This week we finished wiring, started to program our robot and put encoders. We had issues with the encoders as they are rubbing or binding against the frame and causing friction.  Once we finish programming, our driver can start to drive the robot and get use to the controls. We're also half way finished on our GirlPower online challenge.
Hi my name is Joseph. This week we finished building the funnel for our ball intake. We finished wiring and started to program the basic movement onto our joystick controller. We had to add two plates on the ball loader so the ball wont fall off two the sides when the ball is loaded to the bot.
Hi my name is Jason. This week we are starting to work on our ball loader. We had to move our cap flipper's axle up to make a ball go through it for the ball loader. We haven't done much progress so far but hopefully we can finish it soon.

12/8/18 Team 68689B - STEAM Academy Pico Rivera League Round 3

 Our comp on Saturday 12/08/18 we won 4/5 of our matches. We had some problems with our was that our programmer didn’t want to program the bot a day before because he thought it would be easy to program the drive on the bot but instead he took 40 minutes to program the drive for our bot. The worst was that our intake (a part of our bot that brings the ball to the launcher) didn’t work properly. The ball would go to the sides of the intake and not in the middle were the path was set to go up for the launcher. We had trouble shooting the medium and high flags.

12/8/2018 Team 68689X - STEAM Academy Pico Rivera League Round 3
Hi my name is Andrew. This week's comp was an improvement from the last but, not as good as the first. We added a catapult and fixed our cap flipper. The only thing is... our controller is a bit messed up. The comp switch plug is missing the clip to hold in the wire. As a result, the wire kept on falling out which costed us most of our matches. We won 2 and lost 3. On the bright side we passed inspection on the first try.

12/7/2018 Team 68689A - Holland Middle School - "Weekly Update"

Hi my name is Ivy Molina, Welcome to Holland VEX Robotics Team A, on Team A it is all 8th grade girls and each one of us have a specific job. Ashley is our Project Manager she makes sure that we have everything ready before our competitions she packs everything the day before, Leilany and Emie are our main builders they work together to make sure our bot is perfect to prepare us for competitions. Isabella is the only Programmer in our team she programs the robot to make sure it does what we want it to do, Isabella sometimes writes in the Engineer Notebook, Samantha does a little bit of everything she helps with whatever we need to be done that day.

Today we are still building our new robot, we decided to rebuild our robot after our second competition because we saw that the robot didn’t work like how we wanted it to work, we added a new and improved ball launcher with a ball intake, we also have a new cap flipper design, and new motors.

11/10/2018 Team 68689A - El Camino College Middle School Tournament 
My name is Ivy. At our second competition was El Camino College in Torrance California. Mr Lau's car had broken down and he wasn't going to be with us until the competition was just about to start. We won a couple of the first comps, but one of the wheels on the robot wasn't working. Emie had a hard time getting up on the platform because the bot was too heavy and the wheel wasn't working properly. In the end, we made it to semi-finals and our alliance that chose us was also an all girl team.
11/10/2018 Team 68689B - STEAM Academy Pico Rivera League Round 2
Hi my name is Jezreel, and Im gonna talk about the good,the bad,the ugly at our comp 11/10/18.the good was that our cap flipper mechanism was working fine. We could flip caps using the modified roller intake mechanism. The bad, was our linear launcher could only shoot one ball because we didn't have a intake, so we only use the preload ball provided at the beginning of the match. The ugly, we came out in 22nd place out of 24 mostly because our bot did not change from the last comp and we did not have much time practice driving compare to the last time.
11/10/2018 Team 68689X - STEAM Academy Pico Rivera League Round 2
Hi my name is Max and at our second competition we all arrived on time. We walked into inspections and we had to cut and file are bots axle a bit because it was sticking out a bit. It took us a few tries but we were able to pass inspections. Unfortunately we loss most of are matches and only won a few. Probably the worst part was that we had a motor "defect". this was because in the middle of our matches one of the motor's snap'd. luckily we had a spare motor to put it on in time for our next mach. Also we decided that me and Jason would trade jobs.
10/20/2018 Team 68689A - Bishop Amat High School Tournament 
Our first competition was at Bishop Amat Memorial High School. At first we did not pass inspection because of the cap flipper we had. We had to make changes with our cap flipper which included taking a couple of the blades off. We mostly carried our alliances that we partnered up with. In the end, we were very happy because we made it to semi-finals with only a cap flipper and a low-flag hitting pole in our first competition. Record 5-0-4 with a ranking of #9 at the end of qualifying.
10/20/2018 Team 68689B - STEAM Academy Pico Rivera League Round 1
Hi my name is Emmanuel and our first competition didn't go as planed, we were doing great but out of nowhere our robot got flipped to the side. The things we need to do and build is the ball loader and ball launcher. Also, our notebook needs to be done and the our notebook person is in fact me. Our record is 1-0-5, one win and five losses, and ranked 22 out of 24. But gladly we got on the middle platform on the last second.
10/20/2018 Team 68689X - STEAM Academy Pico Rivera League Round 1
Hi my name is Jason and at our first competition we all arrived on time. Next, we started to head towards the inspection table. When we got to the inspection table we had many problems to fix, our first problem was that the cap flipper was too far out so we had to move it back in, our next problem was that for some reason the coding was off and the bot would not respond to commands from the controller, in the end we did fix the problems and eventually we were able to compete. We won most of our matches except for the last match. The score for our matches was 4 wins and 1 loss.
10/16/2018 Team 68689 - Holland Middle School - "Days before 1st Comp Gitters"
All three teams are under panic mode as their first competition is coming around the corner. Many of their bots are not ready yet as only the chassis, an intake and a flag pusher is completed. All teams have stopped building and now either testing or programming their robot for the basic task of moving and pushing the bottom flag. We did notice we could transform the intake into a temporary cap flipper by added some shaved gears to help rotate the caps around. Its ugly but gets the job done. As a coach I'm shocked as it has taking several times more than a day to wire down the entire robot which only has 5 motors on it. But, then again these kids have not built under a hard deadline in their lifetime. We will see how they fair in a couple of days. Almost forgot to mention all the STEM kids at Holland went to a field trip to visit the Sriracha Hot Sauce plant today and was floored to see how complex their robotic packing arm is.
09/26/2018 Team 68689 - Holland Middle School - "Team Photo Day"
As a month of school as passed. I (Mr. Lau) wanted to take an early team photo to document their changes into the VEX Competition family. Its hard to believe that these young men and ladies will soon join the ranks of highly skilled VEX Drivers, Builders, Programmers, Drive Coaches, Notebook Engineers, Links, Scouts and everything in between. This year I'm proud to announce that we (HMS) grew enough not only to field 1 team but a total of 3! That's correct two additional teams for 2018-2019 Turning Point Game! I hope these kids success this year.
09/24/2018 Team 68689 - Holland Middle School - "Robotic Homecoming"
A lot has happened over the past 12 months. Holland created its very first VEX Competition Team with a grant sponsored by Northrop Grumman. Learned a ton of how to run and build with a small group of 8th graders with 1 7th grader. Learn how to lose with grace and win with humility. It was tough losing 99% of my team as they go off to Baldwin Park High School and fill their team up. As a promise to keep friendly competition and the spirit of collaberation going between Holland MS and BPHS we have set up a "Homecoming" event where the high school team(s) comes back and shares a meal and spars with the middle school team. The 2 hour event started with breaking bread, then a short show and tell, then finally a battle royale with just push bots. Have to remember all teams here have not really made any progress so far. I could still feel the love in the room with all my chickies home for the short time frame. Until the next brawl!
08/10/2018 Team 68689 - Holland Middle School - "So it Begins"
A week before school starts the gathering of robot nerds begin. As a new game means new mechansims to figure out. The tough part is 99% of middle team from last year has transitioned to the high school and I'm left training a new batch of 7th and 8th graders. We spent a week researching and building several prototypes. At the end of the week we built a chassis that can go up the platform and a basic roller we could intake the balls or roll the caps over. I wish we could have more hours to finish up but there will never be enough time. I hope we could build some bots before our "Homecoming" event with our sister program from Baldwin Park High School on September 24, 2018.