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  • The Nano Ninjas building Robots – an all-girls FIRST Tech Challenge team #STEM4Girls

    Posted on February 9, 2016
    The Nano Ninjas team!

    #9774 Nano Ninjas is an all-girls rookie FIRST Tech Challenge team with 15 passionate 7th and 8th graders. In support of the non-profit organization STEM4Girls, Overleaf was delighted to sponsor them with a free enterprise account for their team! They used the Overleaf account to create their engineering notebook, a way to record their team and robot's journey throughout the season. Here's how they got on...

    Building Robots and using Overleaf

    In the FIRST Tech Challenge, teams of middle and high school-aged students have to design, build, and program a robot to play a floor game against other teams’ creations. The 2015-2016 game, FIRST® RES-QSM, is modeled after rescue situations faced by mountain explorers all over the globe. Here's our game in action!

    The Nano Ninjas robot in action, competing in an alliance against two other allied teams

    The Nano Ninjas robot in action, competing in an alliance against two other allied teams!

    Although the rules were fairly straightforward, it took a lot of concentration during the games to score points!

    The Nano Ninjas team concentrating during one of the heats

    Concentration was required at all times.

    The Nano Ninjas robot in action on a slope

    Our robot rose to the challenge, and we won trophies in January!

    Our Experience Using Overleaf

    "The Nano Ninjas experience using Overleaf couldn’t have been easier! Even as middle school students, using LaTeX documentation was simple and easy to learn thanks to all the easy-to-follow instructions from the site. They were able to create a professional engineering notebook with added components like footnotes, chapter images etc. that they could not achieve through any ordinary document creating tool.

    They began with a simple template that gave them a reference point of how to move forward. When they had finished, they had more than 300 pages of intricate writing for their engineering notebook. One great component they loved about using Overleaf was that it was capable of real time collaboration between users, which came in handy for such a big team."

    – Nixon Xavier, Nano Ninja Team Coach

    Nano Ninjas engineering notebook on display

    Here's our engineering notebook which we wrote and produced on Overleaf!

    Our Future Goals With Overleaf

    The Nano Ninjas hope that after using Overleaf they will inspire other teams in the FIRST programs to use this wonderful tool for their engineering notebooks and other documents. They would love to see Overleaf create a FIRST template for all teams to start working on!

    The Nano Ninjas team!

    Smiles all round with our trophies from the League Qualifier Championships in January :-)

    All photos provided by Nixon Xavier, Nano Ninjas Team Coach. All rights reserved.

    About FIRST

    FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting Mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

    “At FIRST we work to create a pipeline for the next generation of STEM problem-solvers,” – Donald E. Bossi, president, FIRST, speaking here.

    Find out more at

    About Overleaf

    Founded in 2012 and with over 350,000 registered users from institutions worldwide, Overleaf is an academic authorship tool that aims to make science and research faster, more open and more transparent by bringing the whole scientific process into one place in the cloud, from idea to writing to review to publication.

    “Seriously, you guys do an awesome job. Overleaf is one of the most helpful services in my life! Keep up the good work!" – Roland Sipos, PhD student at CERN

    Find out more at or follow @overleaf on twitter.

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