FTC – First Tech Challenge
GE Aviation and Kentwood Public Schools support three FTC Middle School teams in the Kentwood district. This is our third year participating in the new middle school program. We believe providing access to and support in advanced technology for middle school students via programs like FTC provides many benefits to our students including:
- Exposure to high-tech learning
- Experience in potential career fields
- The opportunity for FRC kids to mentor FTC students
- Finding kids with passion for robotics that may want to participate in the high school FRC program, etc.
In the 2011-2012 season, FIRST in Michigan began an experimental program to start FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams at middle schools throughout the state, with the program formerly being restricted to high schools. One of the middle school FTC teams formed was at Crestwood Middle School in Kentwood. It received support from the EKHS Robotics team and the community, and, given its success, the team will definitely continue in the future.
In its first year, the team was named “The Outsiders” by its members, and attended two competitions with its simple, but effective, driver-controlled robot. The team’s first competition was held at Harbor Lights Middle School in Holland, Michigan. After a long competition, the Outsiders’ alliance ultimately won in the finals, demonstrating that the Crestwood team was certainly a talented group. The second, larger competition, held at Novi Middle School in Novi, Michigan, was also a success for Crestwood, with the team reaching the finals of the “Edison” division, and achieving second place in the finals with the help of its alliance partner. With two successful competitions completed, the team ended its first season on a positive note. It also cooperated with two FTC teams sponsored by Grandville’s Code Red FRC team to demonstrate how the FTC worked at both of Red Storm’s FRC competitions.
In 2012, Crestwood’s FTC program returned, this time with two teams, due to the amount of students interested at the school. These teams are numbered 5292 and 6482. The game for their Fall 2012 season was called “Ring It Up”, and the first competition for both was in December 2012, hosted at our own Pinewood Middle School.
2013 was another good year for the teams, this time organized for all Kentwood middle school students, not just Crestwood. Once again, Kentwood hosted a regional competition at Pinewood. One of the two teams even progressed to the next level of the competition. The game for 2013 was “Block Party”.
The game for the 2014-2015 season was “Cascade Effect“. One of the two Kentwood teams advanced to the state competition. We are proud of all our Kentwood FIRST teams!