Babcock Supports Local High School Robotics Team on Their Road to Championship
This past spring, Babcock was delighted to support the Esquimalt Atom Smashers student robotics team throughout their 2022/2023 competition season!
Based out of Esquimalt High School in British Columbia, the Esquimalt Atom Smashers are part of a larger international organization called For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST). FIRST brings STEM inspiration, holistic skill building, and fun to classrooms in an after-school learning environment and is the world’s leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education with teams in over 110 countries. The mission of FIRST, is to inspire young people to be leaders in science and technology by engaging them in mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, while also building self-confidence, life skills, and community awareness.
At the beginning of each season, teams are given a design challenge to build a robot that will complete specific tasks. As part of the competition, teams’ robots also must abide by size restrictions and pre-assigned permitted parts. Going into the 2022/2023 season the Esquimalt Atom Smashers had one goal: to engineer, design, build, program, and operate a successful FIRST robot that met the challenge of the problem set out for them. Success was measured by each member of the team gaining the ability to problem solve individually and as a team unit while being able to explain their learning path.
“The lessons and accomplishments that these students take away from this team and project are life-long. These are the future engineers, designers, programmers, and business operators. They are continually challenged to problem solve issues on a moment’s notice, collaborate their thoughts to come up with solutions, and improvise without the necessary parts to make things work. Every student has a hand at building, marketing, and sharing what they have learned. It has been and continues to be an enriching experience for everyone involved.”– Esquimalt Atom Smashers Coach, Cheryl
To kick off the season, the team designed and programmed a small robot which they competed with at the First Tech Challenge (FTC) Victoria Qualifier. The robot went through many iterations of both its mechanical components and programming code. As a result of their efforts, the team received the Connect Award for connecting with their community and encouraging STEM. They went on to win first place and qualified for the BC/Yukon Provincial Championship!
Immediately following the FTC, the team began preparing for the First Robotics Competition (FRC). With only seven weeks to prepare their robot, the team proudly incorporated a drive train called swerve drive. The swerve drive allowed their robot to move quickly in all directions which ultimately gave the team a competitive advantage. After hours of tireless work, the team overcame all challenges and proudly placed sixth overall!
At both competitions, teams randomly match with each other to compete and play the game. During matches, teams have an autonomous session and finish with a driver-operated session. The objective of each match is to obtain the highest number of points without penalties.
Throughout the season, the Esquimalt Atom Smashers also won the Business Acumen Award at the Rainhouse Engineering Showcase, and later, the Innovation in Control Award. The Esquimalt Atom Smashers are the first high school team to win the Business Acumen Award.
To ensure all interested students can participate, Esquimalt High School does not charge students a registration fee. All funding comes through grants, sponsorships, and in-kind donations. Babcock was delighted to be a sponsor in support the Esquimalt Atom Smashers on their journey to Provincials.
Babcock, amongst other sponsors, contributed to buying parts, supplies, travel expenses, and registration fees.
“Babcock is committed to furthering the education and training of young professionals, especially those in STEM. Babcock is proud to continually support the development of Canada’s next generation of engineers, technologists, and business leaders. As an alumni of the FIRST Robotics competition myself over two decades ago, the skills and experience participating students gain, including those on the Esquimalt Atom Smashers Team, are highly valuable in future STEM careers”– Tony March, Vice President Engineering and Technology.
Notes From Students of the Esquimalt Atom Smashers:
As the season comes to an end, students on the Esquimalt Atom Smashers submitted notes to the Babcock team. See below for what some team members had to say:
When I was in grade 10, I decided to join the Esquimalt Atom Smashers because I wanted to learn more about engineering and problem-solving. When building the robot, it can be challenging when we don’t have access to the required parts and resources. Sponsors help fill that gap and give us financial aid to have access to the resources that we need. Robotics is an amazing opportunity for youth interested in engineering (like myself) to learn how to think like an engineer before we graduate. Without your sponsorship, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to problem-solve and engineer in high school. I truly believe that robotics will give the students on Esquimalt Atom Smashers a leg up in university.”– Atom Smashers Safety Captain
I joined robotics in the ninth grade following the presentation that was given to the eighth graders. I was interested in the possibility of getting to solve problems and actually build the robot I had helped design. During my first year, I learned many of the mechanical principles and components that come together to make a robot. I also, with the help of mentors, learned how to use many tools. At the beginning of my second year, we lost many essential design files and I was tasked with recreating them using the physical part. The knowledge and experience gained during my first 3 years on the team put me in a position to become the team captain for my fourth. I’m proud to say that my year as team captain has been very successful. None of this would have been possible without the loyal support of our sponsors.”– Esquimalt Atom Smashers Team Captain
At the beginning of the year, I joined robotics on a whim, I saw three members of the team show off the year 5 robot, Tower of Power. I wasn’t too interested in the team at that time, but after some research and seeing members of the team interact with students around the school, I decided to join. After meeting some pretty cool people, they showed me around, explained how the robot worked, and their process of building a new robot, and before no time I was working on the build team. After around 7 months of being on the robotics team I have helped build two robots – a smaller FTC robot which we won the provincials with, and a larger FRC robot which we placed 6th place with. Being a newer member I was worried about how I was going to fit in with the team. However, the captains, team members and mentors taught me more than I could have imagined. I have been working on the build team, however recently I took our main programmer’s programming course so hopefully I will be able to help out next year. I have enjoyed my experience so far and with your help, I am excited for what’s to come!”– Esquimalt Atom Smashers Build Team
When I arrived at Esquimalt High School I wanted to try to join as many clubs as possible, and as one of them I decided to join robotics. When I first started I found some people that helped me learn and understand what being in a robotics team means. I soon found that I was most passionate about robotics and this feeling grew after our first competitions. I know much more about robotics and engineering and am looking forward to being more self-sufficient next year and contributing more to the team.”– Esquimalt Atom Smashers Build Team