Build Season Underway For IHS Code Red Robotics

Ithaca High School’s Code Red Robotics on January 9 began its six-week-long, intensive build season.
Code Red Robotics is a FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology - Robotics club. In addition to building robots for FIRST, Code Red Robotics is committed to doing frequent community service. The club also helps to promote STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, in local elementary and middle schools.
Each year, FIRST releases a game demonstration video to its more than 3,100 teams, outlining the season's goal. Each season brings a new, complex game for the robots to play driven by high school students. The game may be reminiscent of sports -  like soccer or basketball – or the game may be completely original. Every season, however, these games have one thing in common: they must be played with the large robots built from scratch by high school students.
This year the game is known as FIRST Stronghold.
Points can be scored in several ways. Basketball-sized foam balls can be shot through either high or low goals at either end of the "field." Between the sides are any six of eight “defenses.” These could include anything from a five-pound portcullis to three small teeter-toters side by side, or swinging gates. Robots must be used to traverse the defenses, scoring the team additional points, before shooting on the goals. At the end of the match, the robots must also be able to raise themselves off the ground by attaching to a bar, which is positioned just over six feet high. These details are a taste of the complexity in this year’s medieval-themed game.
For more information, watch the official game release video by clicking a photo.

In order to complete this year's robot, Code Red’s 59 members will be working in IHS’s technology wing from 4:30 - 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday. As mandated by FIRST, all robot building must stop by February 23, at which time the completed robot will be sealed in a bag and prepared to be shipped to competitions. This year, Code Red will compete in Rochester, NY, and Cleveland, OH.
On kickoff day, team members began to create initial strategy ideas based on the 111-page game manual FIRST released about the game. Simultaneously, other students began to build a life-sized wooden "field" with many of the game’s key elements. They did this to better visualize and practice the game. The following day, team members met to finalize the major strategic priorities of the year. This was done to allow design to begin in earnest on Monday. While Code Red Robotics works as a whole, the team is divided into sub-teams for the first few meetings in order to design basic robot ideas. By Wednesday, these ideas were reviewed and finalized so that detailed design and prototyping could commence just a few days after the game was released.
While the long hours are difficult and exhausting for the team's students, teachers, and mentors, everyone wholeheartedly agrees that every minute is worth it. Through Code Red, students are provided with a community of like-minded, motivated peers.
"Each individual has an opportunity to develop new talents everyday, and to make a palpable difference. Code Red helps you find a place in your school and your community, helps you impact not just yourself but those around you. And it’s just super fun,” says Victoria Greenberg, Code Red’s media team co-head.

Code Red Robotics receives generous support from the community and local companies. FIRST Code Red Robotics, an IHS student organization, is an associate member of Ithaca STEM Advocates, an affiliate of Ithaca Public Education Initiative. IPEI is a not-for-profit organization that believes the education of every ICSD student is enhanced through community connections and support facilitated by IPEI for students and teachers through engagement, collaboration, gifts, and grants.
For further information about FIRST, Jr. FIRST Lego League, and Code Red Robotics, please email or visit