Administrative

Message from IIF on equal educational opportunities for transgender students

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Triple Helix head coach Nate Laverdure sent the following message on behalf of the Intentional Innovation Foundation Board of Directors.

Intentional Innovation Foundation, the nonprofit operating sponsor of Triple Helix Robotics, strives to provide a safe, affirming, and professional environment for learners to explore tough, exciting problems in STEM.

We are disappointed by Tuesday’s [August 17, 2021] vote of the Newport News School Board to reject proposed revisions to Policy JB, Equal Educational Opportunities, which would have expanded the district’s existing anti-discrimination protection to the reasons of gender and gender identity. This change would have also enabled schools to implement policies consistent with the Virginia Department of Education’s “Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools” as required by law.

Adopting the proposed policy changes will make the school environment more reflective of the professional working environments of our employers and sponsors. This environment is one where contributions to the team matter more than identity based discriminatory factors, and it is an environment which we seek to provide to our participants. Adopting the policy changes enhances our ability to provide, at no cost to Newport News Public Schools, the high-energy competition robotics experiences which inspire our young people to become science and technology leaders.

Intentional Innovation Foundation advocates for the passage, without delay, of the proposed revisions to the Equal Educational Opportunities policy at the next Special Meeting of the Newport News School Board scheduled for Thursday, August 26, 2021, at 5 p.m. in the School Administration Building.

Nate Laverdure
President, Intentional Innovation Foundation
Head coach, Triple Helix Robotics

Administrative

Be a mentor for Triple Helix Robotics!

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Triple Helix Robotics is seeking mentors to help us level up our program!

Triple Helix is located in industrial Newport News, Virginia, a city where real people make real things. Ships, space vehicles, fuel injectors, photocopiers, particle accelerators– these things are conceived, built, and improved by rockstar designers, engineers, scientists, and technicians who live and work in our hometown. Our team aims to create the STEM experiences that transform students into these future rockstars.

Our team is distinguished by our two major passions: the iterative engineering design process, and good documentation. Together these two interests make us a constant and effective force in building a stronger youth STEM competition community. Our Peninsula STEM Gym, as well as the pre-season scrimmage event we run with partner teams 1610 and 5957, both provide unique opportunities for local teams to iterate on their solutions so they can be at their strongest at competition.

Our mentoring philosophies

Our team is relatively small, but our mission is large. Our core belief is that the most powerful way to engage our students in STEM is to provide a safe environment where they can experience complex problems in the form of a thrilling, challenging competition. We see our mentors as equal partners with our students as together we co-investigate those tough problems, forming awesome relationships along the way.

Desired areas of expertise

New Triple Helix mentors are not expected to know how to design and build an FRC robot– we can teach that! However, we are aiming to recruit mentors with the following expertise.

Math and physics

  • Multivariable calculus
  • Linear algebra
  • Ordinary differential equations
  • Classical mechanics

Control theory

  • Modeling of dynamic systems
  • Linear–quadratic regulator (LQR)
  • Model predictive control (MPC)
  • Kalman filtering

Engineering and design

  • Mechatronics
  • 3D CAD (we primarily use PTC Creo and Onshape)
  • 2D and 2.5D CAM

Additional focus areas

  • Web development
  • Graphic design
  • Project management
  • Technical writing
  • Marketing

If this sounds like a group that you would like to join, please reach out to us at contact@team2363.org. Come build real cool stuff with us!

Administrative

Triple Helix returns to flight with a FPV drone competition

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As Triple Helix Robotics begins a new school year, our team leaders have been thinking about how we’ll accomplish the goals of the team– inspiring students with STEM– within the restrictions placed on us by the pandemic we’re all living through. In these slides, senior mentor Todd Ferrante explains the team’s current thinking in response to the continued public health crisis: this season, it’s up to us to create the spark of inspiration that will draw people– students and mentors– to participate in the team this year.

Triple Helix returns to flight by coming together to create the Tele Operated Robotics Competition– an internal tech challenge involving small bots which can be built by students at home and at the Peninsula STEM Gym, using the tools and techniques that are available to us.

Responding to the realities of the Coronavirus slide deck, last updated 28 Apr 2021

FPV Quad Build Guide slide deck, last updated 28 Apr 2021

Administrative

How lead mentor transitions happen

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One of the most critical existential risks for sustainable-minded teams (and the biggest single reason that teams “retire”) is the loss of their champion– the 1 or 2 key lead individuals who hold the whole thing together. In this presentation, head coach Nate Laverdure discusses how the outgoing lead mentors, the incoming lead mentors, the rest of the team, and the team’s stakeholder community can plan and execute a successful leadership change.

Video presentation

Administrative

In-kind donation most wanted list

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Triple Helix and our operating nonprofit sponsor Intentional Innovation Foundation seek the donation of the following products and services to support our award-winning youth STEM programs. (Last updated 14 April 2021)

Services

  • Catering
  • Screenprinting, embroidery, sewing
  • Vinyl graphics, heat pressing
  • Audiovisual, DJ
  • Woodworking
  • Waterjet cutting, laser cutting
  • CNC machining and engraving
  • Web development, web hosting
  • Reselling surplus equipment
  • Accounting, tax preparation, legal & insurance advice
  • Grantwriting

Workshop equipment

  • Wilton 5A vise
  • CNC engraver/router
  • 8-10 foot stepladder
  • Precision machine tools
  • Power tools
  • Hand tools
  • 6061 aluminum and certain other metals
  • Polycarbonate, acetal copolymer, and certain other plastics
  • Laser cutter ventilation & filter system

Competitive robotics equipment

  • MK Battery ES17-12 rechargeable sealed lead-acid battery
  • 205/75D15 trailer tires

Peninsula STEM Gym equiment

  • Portable jobsite table saw
  • One or more large industrial ceiling fans
  • Whiteboards (QTY 3 size 4′ x 3′ ft, QTY 1 size 6′ x 3′)
  • Lumber (3/4″ and 1/2″ plywood sheets, 2x4s)
  • Polyurethane to finish tabletops
  • Industrial scale (500 lb capacity, 30″ or 36″ square platform) similar to Arlyn 320D-36
  • Safety glasses rack/cubbies
  • Gaffer tape

Large-scale storage solutions

An immediate goal for Triple Helix is take over a small closet which adjoins our workshop. The closet currently stores JROTC uniforms and other supplies, so to acquire the closet we’d need to come up with another location to store these items. One possibility is an in-kind donation of metal wardrobe storage cabinets or lockers.

Menchville High School currently stores equipment in 7 sheds and shipping containers located around the campus and in various states of repair. Summed together these storage spaces provide about 2000 sq ft of storage for school groups including band, drama, and athletics. Triple Helix seeks to consolidate this storage into a large engineered steel storage building, which would provide enough clean dry storage for all school activities.

Miscellaneous

  • Prepaid fuel cards
  • Gift cards to our common vendors (Lowe’s, Home Depot, Amazon, etc.)