FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Diary of an Innovator Team 6328: The Season Begins

Jan 17, 2024 Written by Team 6328, Mechanical Advantage and FIRST Robotics Competition Staff




This 2023-2024 FIRST® season, follow along as we hear from four FIRST® LEGO® League, four FIRST® Tech Challenge, and four FIRST® Robotics Competition Diary of an Innovator teams about their season experience and the culture of innovation their team has created.

This post is by Team 6328 Mechanical Advantage from Massachusetts, USA. You can read their first blog post on the FIRST Robotics Competition blog.


Q: We’ve officially released the CRESCENDOSM presented by Haas! What are your initial reactions to the game?

A: We’re excited to finally get started on the 2024 build! The single-game piece makes our approach simpler in some ways, but the variety of field elements and positions for scoring undoubtedly means designing more complex and adaptable mechanisms for different situations. It’s a great twist that this year, the lower-scoring option (the AMP) is essential for success in the high-scoring option (the SPEAKER) - this will likely allow many designs to find accomplishment in some scoring niche and will give our drive team and strategy team a lot to think about from match to match.

On the first day of kickoff weekend, we focused on ensuring everyone on the team understood the main concepts, rules, and restrictions of the game so that strategic discussions would be as productive as possible. Sunday of kickoff weekend brought a good-sized and untimely snowstorm to New England (15” at our shop!) so we pivoted to an online discussion about possible robot actions and our team’s priorities based on our goals and resources. Finally, we decided what potential subsystems we would start prototyping and jumped right in the next day once the roads were cleared.


@frc6328 Its the start of a new season for #firstroboticscompetition and we have so many thoughts on how it will play out! #first #robotics #robot #frc6328 #crescendo #roboticstiktok #firstinspires #predictions #fyp ♬ original sound - FRC 6328 Mechanical Advantage


Q: How will your team innovate for this season’s game?

A: Over the summer and fall, our newly expanded Media Team developed several comprehensive training sessions that were piloted internally and are now ready to share with all FIRST teams through Open Alliance. The training lessons include:

  • the impact of media for FIRST Robotics Competition teams
  • types of media and how to best utilize them
  • types of content and how to leverage them for different social media platforms
  • how cameras and lenses work
  • how to film events
  • guided projects
  • composition and movement
  • editing theory and how to edit
  • storytelling through video 

The slides and training videos can be accessed from our website’s Media page and the Media Team Student Lead (an award winning filmmaker in his own right) is holding twice monthly virtual “office hours” by Zoom to answer questions and discuss content with any FIRST Robotics Competition team. 

Given the arts focus in the FIRST IN SHOWSM presented by Qualcomm theme, working with other teams to develop and effectively leverage their media content feels like one exciting way to innovate this year. Let’s all work together to create more ways to share content with more people and communicate the excitement of strategic game play and engineering innovation through the language of art!




Q: How are you preparing for judging?

A: To ensure that we always have experienced students working on the FIRST Impact Award submissions and presentations, we established a  FIRST Impact Award shadow team with newer students who step up into the graduating seniors’ role in later years. This shadow team works side-by-side with the current FIRST Impact Award team on all submitted materials and helps to create the presentation. They learn everything about our team and the submission process, and gain confidence in their own skills so that they will be ready to present.

Our process starts by working on answers to each FIRST Impact Award executive summary question to get an understanding of what information would be included in each one. Once we had those in rough draft form, we switched to creating a theme and outline for the FIRST Impact Award essay, emphasizing information that wasn’t included in the executive summary questions. We hope to have a rough draft of both parts of the FIRST Impact Award submission sent to the Hall of Fame teams for review within a few weeks. We find we are most productive through online work sessions where everyone from the awards team gets together via Zoom to work on different pieces of the FIRST Impact Award submission at the same time. We will also create a document with key talking points for all of our members in the pit, providing them information to effectively engage with pit judges about our technical and business teams.

The Awards Team collaborates closely with the Media Team to create a compelling FIRST Impact Award Video. Using the information from the written submissions, we create the video script and guide the content focus. The FIRST Impact Award Video serves as a representation of our team’s achievements.

In 2022, we established the Impact Initiative, bringing together teams from around the world, fostering a platform for teams to present and receive constructive feedback in preparation for the FIRST Impact Award interview. This has proven to be a valuable resource, allowing us to refine each others’ presentations, practice Q&A, and create connections with teams worldwide. It also fits in with our overall Open Alliance team culture.



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