It all started in a basement with the Nelson family and the Matthews family. They were in the process of completing an overly complicated machine to, drum roll please, unzip a zipper. These two families had decided to complete the 2014 rube Goldberg machine challenge over a couple of weekends, for fun. After a few hours, one industrial shelf, and a ton of tape later, it finally worked. Then we went on hiatus for a few months before starting FLL. The team choose to “dominate” with education as LED (Lego Education Domination). The final robot didn’t do so well but at least our name was cool.
Year two of our team’s engineering adventure to becoming the Tech Ninja Team we are now brought some changes. A lot of changes. A few of the older team mates (Calvin, Kate, and Lauren) pushed the coaches to offer FTC after seeing the robots built for this competition online. They managed to convince the FLL coaches to start a FTC team. We unpackaged our first kit to build a robot in the basement of Coach Matthews. All of the team members were excited to begin building. Our team name came from a joke when we were unpacking the boxes of robot parts. We were all pretty excited about the cool parts that we unpacked and thought they were really cool, when someone said “Just wait until we unpack the ninjas”. Thus the Tech Ninja Team was born, along with a cool acronym (T.N.T). after beginning work on the robot we moved to coach Nelson’s garage for more space. The name for our robot, Skittlebot, came from an exercise we did to better understand programing. Shortly before the team’s first qualifier we got a new space to practice in at the to be Homewood Science Center. Little did the team know at the time how lucky we were to have the space. We would end up 11thplace with a Control Award when the season was over.
During our first off season we moved into our own room in the science center that is often referred to as the robot room. This space would allow us to expand more and start to learn more advanced techniques for building our robot. We are also started using Slack (a communication platform) and GitHub (a program storage platform) to better our team’s communication. We researched prior seasons and worked on building mechanisms we noticed were used throughout the challenges. Later, we moved into the garage at the Science Center which gave us more space and the ability to add more power tools to use when building our robots. The team and our workshop have evolved over time to become more capable.