Chisago County 4-H robotics team qualifies for FTC state robotics competition

Members of the Chisago County 4-H Team 8962 TimeCrafters robotics team include (from left) Luke Badger, Thomas Harkey, Cayden Erdman, Aidan Jensen, Faith Earley, Nathaniel Palme, Olivia Palme, Gabriel Wurdemann and “The Rebel” (robot). The team earned the “Inspire Award” at a Nov. 16 competition for embodying the challenge of the FIRST robotics program. 

The Chisago County 4-H robotics team 8962 TimeCrafters took part in a FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) qualifier tournament on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Eagan High School. The event hosted 27 of the 204 Minnesota robotics teams (third largest robotics league in America). 

FIRST Tech Challenge teams (in grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program and operate robots to play a floor game in an alliance format. Participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have!” 

Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students develop STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills and practice engineering principles (like keeping an engineering notebook), while realizing the value of hard work, innovation and sharing ideas.

The TimeCrafters have met since September for 2-4 hours a day three days a week – and every day for the last week – to fine-tune their design. They designed, prototyped, programmed and built a 30.5-pound aluminum robot measuring 18”x18”x18”.

 Their robot drives around a 12’ x 12’ field, stacks 4”x6”x6” blocks into a seven-layer tower and places a team marker on top.  

The robot has 3,588 parts including: 61 3-D printed parts, eight motors, seven servos, eight sprockets with chains, 22 linear slides, and two smart phones to control it (custom programmed in Java).

Awards and a state berth

At the Nov. 16 event, the team were finalists for four of the nine awards presented at the competition. 

They achieved first place for the Promote Award, given to the team that is most successful in creating a compelling video message for the public designed to change the culture and celebrate science, technology, engineering and math. 

The subject for this public service announcement is: “How has FIRST changed you.” The TimeCrafters wrote, recorded, edited and released a video to win this award.

The team also won first place for the Inspire Award (the top award of the competition), given to the team that embodied the “challenge” of the FIRST Tech Challenge program. The team that receives this award is a strong ambassador for FIRST programs and a role model FIRST Team. This team is a top contender for many other judged awards and is a gracious competitor.

The TimeCrafters plan on improving their design and programming during December and January as they prepare for the State Competition on Feb. 7-8 at Washington Technology Magnet in St. Paul. Forty-eight teams will participate in the state event.   

The TimeCrafters would like to thank their sponsors, Chisago County 4-H, the coaches and all the adult volunteers who helped to make this success possible.

Anyone interested in volunteering or contributing financially to the team can contact Jeremy Freeman, Extension Educator, Chisago County 4-H, at or 651-277-0150. 

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