What Is FIRST?

FIRST, which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” is a nonprofit organization designed to inspire students in science and technology. Click on the logo to learn more.    

 

What is FIRST

Who We Are

The Aluminum Falcons are a team of dedicated students from Fitch High School in Groton, CT who make an impact in their community with the support of their teachers and mentors from local engineering companies. Click the image below to learn more.

 

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Our Mission

Our mission is to cultivate interest, understanding, and skill in the fields of engineering and technology. We are determined to promote STEM as a fun and engaging pathway to a brighter future. Click on the image below to learn more.

 

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Get Involved

It takes students, teachers, parents, and mentors of all backgrounds and professions to make a solid team. With over $14 million in scholarships open to student team members, it pays to be involved. Click on the image below to learn more.

 

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Check Out Our School


Robert E. Fitch High School, located in Groton, CT, USA is the home of FIRST Robotics Competition Team 2168, the Aluminum Falcons. We are happy to say our school is ranked among the top in the country and we are honored to contribute to its continued success. Please take some time to check out our school's website by clicking on our school's crest below.

Fitch High School

Newsweek 2010

 

Enewsletter

 

 

mainAmong a field of 42 teams from New York, New England--and even one from Old England--a field that included three prior world champion teams, the Fitch Robotics team took their sixth-seeded alliance through a series of upsets from the quarter-finals all the way to the 3rd-game in the best of 3 finals to win the WPI Regional FIRST Robotics competition.

This video will explain this year's game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itHNW2OFr4Y

In short, the robots had to be designed to shoot Frisbees into various goals valued at 1 to 5 points depending on their difficulty. During a competition match, a "red" alliance of three teams competes against a "blue" alliance. Alliances are randomly assigned during qualification matches and are given seeding points according to their success. Subsequently, the top eight robots select the alliance partners they will have during the final elimination rounds.

It was an "Epic Tale," winning this event.  

On the Thursday "set-up" day, the team found out that, at 123 lbs, the robot was 3 pounds overweight. The next few hours were tense as the team tried to figure out how to “lighten up” an already pared-down robot.

 

One of the pieces that had to be removed was a chute that was necessary for loading the robot with more Frisbees during the matches. After cutting off every piece of metal that was not crucial, the robot was re-weighed and finally passed inspection at 120.0 lbs.

Friday's matches began with difficulty when a snow-storm prevented the team from getting to the competition on time. A disqualification was prevented when a student from another team agreed to drive our robot for us. The remaining 4 matches of the day went very well, leaving the Aluminum Falcons in 5th place overall, but the team was not satisfied with the control of the shooter arm which seemed to get sloppier as the day went on.

Saturday morning the team took a huge gamble in completely changing the mechanism for controlling the arm. We took out the motors, gears and chains, and swapped in a pneumatic piston, tubes, and an air compressor.

In this time we missed 3 of our last 4 qualification matches. But what we gained was better precision in scoring the crucial "autonomous" points (scored during the first 15 seconds of the game, when the robot is only responding to it's per-programmed code.)

The real reason we won is not due to what we scored, but how we managed to stop some of the best teams in New England from being able to score. Emma Stark,  driver of the Fitch robot, is a sophomore but has already been spoken of by some as "One of the best drivers in FIRST Robotics."

Finals match 2 video

Emma showed an unmatchable talent at taking defense as far as it can go without incurring fouls (at least not too many fouls). By pushing the corner of an opponent's robot, Emma would rotate them 90 degrees sending them in the wrong direction or making them waste time in realigning their shots. Alliances that expected to score 70 points or more were lucky to score 20 during the 2-minute "teleoperated" (or remote-controlled) period.

Finals match 3 video 

With this win, the Aluminum Falcons have qualified to attend the Championship event in St Louis this April. In order to go we will have to raise several thousand dollars.

There is another regional event coming up in Hartford on March 28, 29, & 30. The Connecticut Regional FIRST Robotics Competition will be slightly more competitive, with 54 teams attending, including teams from Ledyard, New London, Bacon Academy,  Lyme-Old Lyme, Guilford, and nearly 40 others from around the state.

People's initial response to "robotics team" is often to imagine table-top robots, maybe made of LEGOs. We are talking about the 120lb robots that are designed and built in 6 weeks. This is the "varsity" robotics program. This is no "club." We are talking the single most significant STEM activity at American high schools.

This is a huge win of huger significance for Fitchand the Groton community. Families already have located by choice in Groton to be part of this team.  

We have a real chance at making it to the finals of the championship, and that's out of 400 of the best teams from across the continent. This is in the face of having a budget and resources as little as 1/3 to 1/4 of our big competitors.  

We are not just building robots, we are building engineers here, the most important and in-demand field of employment. Families with an understanding of STEM education know what they are looking for, and one of the most-significant indicators of a school's commitment to STEM is a strong robotics team. This is it. We are going to the championships, and that's an eye-opener.

 

 

 

Welcome To Our Website

  • Innovation: Team accepting the Innovation in Control Award at NYC Regional
  •  Drive Coach and Student Robot Drivers discuss strategy pre-match.
  • WPI 2013: Accepting our first regional title.
  • The Aluminum Falcons: Climbing to new heights!
  • WPI 2013: Playing tough defense.
  • WPI 2013: Accepting our first regional title.
  • WPI 2013: Let the force be with you.
  • The Aluminum Falcons: Inspiring the engineers of tomorrow, today!
  • Winners of the 2013 WPI regional event.

 

Welcome to the official website of the Aluminum Falcons, a FIRST robotics team composed of students and teachers from Robert E. Fitch High School, engineers from General Dynamics Electric Boat and professionals from other local companies in Groton, CT. Each year through the FIRST Robotics Competition, volunteer engineers, high school students, and members from the community partner together to build a robot in a time period of six weeks. Through this building process, engineers mentor students in brainstorming, prototyping, design, and creation of the robot and its functions. This enables the students to take classroom concepts from the math and science fields and apply them to a real world situation. Please explore our website to learn more about the team.

Aluminum Partner Sponsors of the 2017 Season

 

 

DoDSTEM logo

pfizer logogroton education foundation

Week Zero

Suffield Shakedown

Suffield High School

February 20

 

 

 

 


 

New England District Championship

 

April 5, 6, 7 & 8, 2017

Whitmore Arena, University of New Hampshire

The Aluminum Falcons are attending this event thanks to the sponsorship of Pfizer

Week 2

SouthEast Massachusetts District Event

March 10, 11 & 12, 2017

Bridgewater-Raynham High School

The Aluminum Falcons are attending this event thanks to the sponsorship of Hubble Inc.


 

World Championship

April 26, 27, 28, & 29 2017

Edward Jones Dome St. Louis, MO

Pending qualification, The Aluminum Falcons are attending this event thanks to the sponsorship of DoDSTEM

Week 3

Bridgewater-Raritan District Event

March 17, 18, & 19, 2017

Bridgewater, NJ

The Aluminum Falcons are attending this event thanks to the sponsorship of Google

 

 


 

CIAC Connecticut State Championship

Early March, 2017

Date and Location TBA

The Aluminum Falcons are attending this event thanks to the sponsorship from Groton Education Foundation

Week 4

Rhode Island District Event

March 24, 25 & 26

Bryant University

The Aluminum Falcons are attending this event thanks to the sponsorship of Groton Utilities

 


 

BattleCry @WPI

Harrington Auditorium

Worcester Polytechnic Institution

Date TBA

 
 
 

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