2024 – 2025 Season Information

🚨 UPDATE on 6/27/24: We only have one spot left on our entry-level team called Gigabytes of Guac. Gigabytes of Guac is ideal for those who are currently taking Algebra 1, possess a deep curiosity in science, comfortable with public speaking, and willing to dedicate 10 hours per week to learning skills needed for competitive robotics.

Microchips and Queso is open for interviews with students who have experience in FTC or FRC robotics.

If this sounds like you, please fill out our contact form and get in touch!


👋 Hey there! Welcome to Microchips & Queso Robotics! We’re a FIRST Tech Challenge Christian homeschool robotics team based in San Antonio, TX, and we’re excited for the 2024-2025 season!

Below, you’ll find some answers to our Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out using our contact form!

Competition Information

Q: What is Microchips & Queso FTC Team 23350?

A: We are a Christian homeschool robotics team participating in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics competition. Robotics teams are often identified by their unique number assigned during registration. Our team number is 23350.

Q: What is FIRST Tech Challenge or FTC?

A: FIRST®(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit that gets kids excited about STEM through competitive robotics. There are 4 competition levels and our team competes in FIRST Tech Challenge (grades 7-12). There are about 800 FTC teams in Texas and over 7,000 teams in the world.

Each September FIRST Tech Challenge releases a new game challenge. After the game announcement teams design, build, and code robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams.

Robots are built from a reusable platform, powered by Android technology, and can be coded using a variety of levels of Java-based programming. At the the League Tournament each team gives a 15 minute presentation and presents a 15 page portfolio describing outreach events and their robot for a chance to win judged awards.

This is the announcement video for the 2023-2024 season’s game, “Centerstage!”

Q: Why are we competing in FIRST Tech Challenge?

FIRST is More Than Robots®FIRST participants are guided by a signature set of Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build, market, and showcase their achievements. Our team prioritizes gracious professionalism, fostering essential communication skills that empower students to excel in both business and personal interactions.

Through FTC robotics, students gain proficiency in areas such as: 

  • Team work
  • Engineering design process
  • Material design
  • Electrical engineering
  • Technical writing
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
  • Programming and website development
  • Manufacturing (3D printing, laser cutting, CNC)
  • Outreach and marketing
  • Video production
  • Public speaking
  • Professional communication (email, phone calls, in person)
  • Fundraising
  • Project management

Q: What does an FTC robotics team do?

Competition

Understand the rules and objectives of the current season’s game by reading and memorizing game book. Design and build a robot that will score maximum points within the rules.

Communicate and work with other teams as part of a two-team alliance at competitions. Mentor other teams in design, build, and programming.

Fundraising

Robot parts are expensive. The team will set a budget target to be able to pay for robot components and meet registrations. Each team member will have a fundraising goal to contribute to the overall budget. Our goal is to finish fundraising before September so the team can focus on design and build once the game details are announced.

Outreach and Motivate

A big part of FIRST is connecting team members with industry professionals to learn about future careers and sharing STEAM knowledge with others. Teams will also attend science festivals or lead workshops at schools to motivate other students to be interested in STEAM. FIRST Teams have the opportunity to win judged awards through their outreach events.  

Q: What does a match look like?

Here is one of our matches at the Texas FTC State Championship.

Q: What does a robot look like?

A: Every robot is unique to each team. However, the game manual lists size and parts requirements. This is our robot, Queso, which we used for the Texas Area, Texas State, and World Championships.


2024 – 2025 Season Information

Q: Who are the team coaches?

Daniel Espinoza and Amanda Espinoza. Daniel is a software engineer and entrepreneur. Amanda manages the San Antonio Homeschool Robotics nonprofit.

Q: What ages can participate?

Microchips & Queso is for homeschooled teens, age 13-18 who love STEM and robots! Students must be age 13 before kickoff on September 7, 2024.

Q: Where does the team meet?

Team mentor’s home in north central San Antonio near 1604 and 281.

Q: When does the team meet?

2024 Summer Practice Times

  • July 6th
  • July 20th
  • August 10th
  • August 17th
  • August 24th

FTC Kickoff Event

The FTC Kickoff Event will be on Saturday September 7th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m . This is an all day event with education sessions to attend and the game reveal video. It is a lot of fun to be around all the other FTC teams to start the season.

Practice Times

We will meet twice a week for practice. Attendance for the entire practice time is required. Practices may go long and extra meetings may occasionally be needed to complete a specific task.

Beginning on September 3, 2024 we will meet every Tuesday evening and Saturday afternoon until the season ends in February, March, or April. The season ends when we do not qualify to advance to the next level.

  • Tuesdays 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturdays 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Q: What does a competition season include?

The competition season includes scrimmage meets, 3 regular season competition meets, 1 League Tournament, and possible advancement to Semi-Area Championship, Area Championship, State Championship, and World Championship.

Throughout the season we also participate in outreaches to demo our robots to teach STEM to the San Antonio community.

Approximate Meet Schedule

The official league schedule is released in September or October so we don’t have the specific dates now. FTC Kickoff is normally the first Saturday of September. This is a full day event at a local high school.

League meets are on Saturdays and are usually once per month November through February for a total of 4 guaranteed meets.  Last year our league meets were at Judson Middle School from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

If the team qualifies for playoffs then extra meets will be in March and April.

Outside of official competition meets we participate in scrimmages with other teams to prepare for competition. In the 2023-2024 season we participated in 3 scrimmages in San Antonio and 2 scrimmages in Austin.

Approximate Outreach Schedule

We are currently looking for outreach opportunities and these will be scheduled at a later date. We hope to do at least two events or workshops at a festival, science fair, or school.

Example Season:

  • July – Begin meetings for fundraising
  • August – Team Building meetings
  • September – Kickoff! Design and building begins
  • October – Building and programming
  • November – Meet 1
  • December – Meet 2
  • January – Meet 3 and League Tournament
  • February – Semi-Area Championship or Area Championship
  • March – Texas State Championship (2 day travel competition)
  • April – World Championship (5 day travel competition)
  • May – Fun off-season events like BUC Days in Corpus Christi, TX or JSTEM Mascot Mayhem.

Q: What is the cost to join the team?

The cost to register for the 2024-2025 season is $900 per student. Siblings receive a $200 discount.

Payment can be made via check made out to “San Antonio Homeschool Robotics.”

Students have the opportunity to fundraise and be reimbursed the registration fee. The registration fee is not refundable.

Students will be required to purchase a team t-shirt and khaki pants. Team hoodies will be available, but are optional.

Q: What does the cost include?

These are examples of what the registration fee is used for:

  • Robot parts
  • Team practice
  • Competition fees
  • Tools
  • Nonprofit corporation expenses
  • Marketing materials
  • Professional printing for competition judging
  • Practice game field and elements
  • 3D printer filament and other consumables

Q: What does the cost NOT include?

Students will be required to purchase a team t-shirt and khaki pants. Team hoodies will be available, but are optional.

  • Travel to competitions
  • Hotel costs for out of city competitions for multiple nights
  • Food and snacks
  • T-shirts
  • Personal computers

Q: What is the time commitment level for team members?

FTC Robotics requires a high level of time commitment. Time requirement is approximately 8 – 10 hours per week for practice, online meetings, and self-guided study.

Competitive robotics is like being involved in a varsity team sport or a business startup. Each team member will fill a specific role that is vital to the team’s success.

Student involvement might include the following:

  • Summer meetings in July and August
  • Twice a week meetings (September – March).
  • Slack and video conferencing time outside of practice time.
  • Outreaches at a science festival, schools, or business to be determined.
  • Possible sponsorship meetings with companies.
  • Saturday meets – 3 league meets, 1 league tournament, and a possible Central Area Championship or Texas State Championship.

Q: What is the time commitment level for parents?

This team will need lots of parent involvement and support especially if the student is brand new to FTC.

Parent involvement includes the following:

  • Subscribe to a shared calendar and keep up with the schedule
  • Get students to meetings on time
  • Volunteer at FTC competitions (will include online and in-person training)
  • Provide snacks and lunch for the competitions
  • Provide computer access for your student
  • Sign up to be present at practices and assist team coaches

Q: Does my student need their own computer?

Students can share a computer with a family member. Each student is required to use email, participate in a Slack channel, and access GitHub. Parents are required to be in the Slack channel as this is how information is communicated.

If a team member is a programmer, then they will need a computer that can run Android Studio.

Q: Is there a Code of Conduct?

YES! Both parents and students will be required to sign a Code of Conduct during the selection process. One of the main tenets of FIRST is Gracious Professionalism.

Gracious Professionalism is doing things that encourage high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individual and community.

Q: Can I visit the team?

Yes! Please fill out our contact form to ask about available times.

Q: This sounds incredible! How do I join?

Fill out the contact form below to start a conversation with the team coaches.

An interview and application is required for every student. After the interview team coaches will let parents know if the student is invited to the team.

Q: When is the deadline to sign up?

The last day to fill out the application is June 30, 2024.

Q: We’re not ready to join this season. How do I stay connected for more information?

You can sign up for our newsletter for communication about future events here.

Newsletter Subscribe

Start the conversation by sending us a message.

We’d love to hear from you. Please fill out our contact form below to get in touch!

Contact

Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Questions?

Get in touch, we will be happy to help!

News

Our latest articles

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Contact