SPORK

Students Providing Outreach in Robotic Kinship



Team SPORK strives to support FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and involve high school students in their communities. The team creates these opportunities for students to explore science and technology through annual robotics competitions.

Structure

Team SPORK is operated like a small business, and is comprised of different divisions specializing in diverse areas.

The Engineering divisions include Mechanical, Electrical, Programming, Design & Build. The Operations divisions include Media, which creates promotional items, handles the social media, writes press releases and programs/maintains our website; Finance, which raises funds; Public Relations/Outreach, which spreads FIRSTs message of Gracious Professionalism; and Documentation, which documents the teams efforts.

Team SPORK requires its members to join one Engineering and one Operations division each year so members experience the many sides of the robotics team. As a well-rounded team, SPORK’s multi-faceted members give back to the community by organizing demonstrations of the team’s robot at local school events that develop the interest in science and technology in young minds by showing them its innovations.

To learn more about how our team is structured, please visit our Team Structure page.

 

Team SPORK members working on building the chassis of our 2018-2019 competition robot.
A few of our members, along with a mentor, celebrating Team SPORK’s success at THOR.

 

Team SPORK working with VEX robots for STEAM Day at Ada Jenkins.
A few Team SPORK members showing young kids our outreach robot at STEAMfest in South Carolina.

 

Outreach

Team SPORK prioritizes outreach as the most important aspect of our team. We often host or attend events that endorse the FIRST message of Gracious Professionalism. We also promote FIRST® and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in our school, the community and even around the globe. Encouraging students to pursue fields in STEM allows our team to also highlight opportunities to get involved with our team and FIRST®. Some of our most recent events have been teaching children in India about programming a Lego MindStorm robot and creating a resource area on our website to help new FRC teams. To learn a bit more about our outreach program visit our outreach page here.

Operations Subteams 

Marketing and Public Relations

The Marketing Team focuses on updating Team SPORK’s website, and social media. They manage the website with the goal of informing the public of what we do and to gain a wider awareness of our team and FIRST. In addition, they constantly update our social media to keep in touch with our sponsors and other FIRST teams. This team also focuses on developing our brand and team image.  

Finance

The Finance Team is responsible for all of the funds that Team SPORK receives, and is in charge of deciding the best ways for our team to use those funds effectively. Members will look at old spending patterns and will budget based on past years. They work with the Sponsorship Team to secure grants and new sponsors, they hold fundraisers to raise money, and send out solicitation letters for future donors.

Scheduling and Project Management

The Project Management and Scheduling Team helps to support, plan, organize, and manage team tasks in order to complete them efficiently in a timely manner. The team uses a Gantt chart to produce a schedule outlining future and past tasks along with completion percentages. The Project Management and Scheduling Team ensures we will be able to complete tasks throughout the year and our robot in the six week period.

Awards

The Awards Team is responsible for writing essays, summaries, and a business plan with the goal to win awards for our team. This team spends time during the off-season to complete awards submissions that elaborate on our outreach and community efforts. This team also designs a business plan for our team that explains how the team is run and our mission.  

Engineering Subteams 

Safety 

The Safety Team dedicates themselves to keeping all SPORK members safe and ensures that each member uses proper protection while using machines and power tools. Members of The Safety Team take responsibility for all actions of our team and encourage all students to abide by the FIRST safety rules. Every meeting, The Safety Team starts with a “safety talk” reminding everybody of the safety rules and observes members through the duration of the meeting to make sure they are being safe.

Electrical

The Electrical Team designs and implements the control systems for the robot. Members design the electrical and pneumatic systems and draw schematics using AutoCAD LT. The team works with the other sub-teams to design the location of components and sensors on the robot, install the components, wire everything together, then test the systems to make sure it all works.

CAD

The CAD team is responsible for designing the robot on CAD software to help the team when it comes to building the competition robot. These members use Autodesk Fusion 360 to design the chassis and mechanisms. They then assemble each part to create a fully designed robot and aid in the physical build of the robot.

Software

The Programming Team is responsible for writing the code for our robot and ensuring that it runs efficiently during competition. Members develop control code in Java and program the robot upon its completion to allow it to operate the various functions needed for that year’s game. They use vision systems to assist with autonomous and input joystick controls to allow our drivers to manipulate the robot once on the field.

Mechanical

The Mechanical Team works in unison with the CAD and design team to manufacture the skeleton of the robot. Members use power tools and machines that they have in the workshop to measure, cut, prototype, and build the robot and its mechanisms. After the design process, The Mechanical Team will use purchased materials to assemble the completed chassis with its mechanisms and create the robot that the team has envisioned.

 

History

Founded in 2009, Team SPORK saw great success in our rookie year. With our robot, Bubbles, we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the FRC World Championship in Atlanta, G.A. Since our debut, our team has participated in six other FRC challenges varying from FIRST Ultimate Ascent to the most recent game, FIRST STEAMworks.

Bubbles, 2010
Bubbles, Rookie Year of 2010