The RoboRangers are a neighborhood team of 9 classmates and friends from Katy, Texas. They competed in FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics for 4 seasons. The RoboRangers were invited to the North American Open Championship in Legoland in 2013 for the Senior Solutions season and to the FIRST LEGO League International Open Championship in Toronto in 2014 for Nature's Fury.
For our project, we needed to find an expert that was familiar with the threat of hurricanes on Texas and their impact on our communities. Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon responded to our email and offered our team help with our project. Dr. Nielsen-Gammon is a Professor of Meteorology at Texas A&M and the current Texas State Climatologist. We were lucky to have Dr. Nielsen-Gammon come to one of our team meetings to talk with us. He said that the biggest unsolved problems with hurricanes are :
The rapid formation of storms
The strength of hurricane winds
storm surge on barrier islands, like Galveston.
people not evacuating. Over 140,000 Galveston residents did not follow mandatory evacuation orders before Hurricane IKE made landfall, despite dire warnings of storm surge and certain death from forecasters.
He also talked a lot about traffic and its impact on hurricane evacuations.
This year, the game theme is “Nature’s Fury”. Teams are tasked with identifying a community that can be impacted by a natural disaster, identifying a problem that the community faces when the natural disaster strikes, and then coming up with an innovative solution to that problem. The thematic playing field for the robot game is full of lego missions that simulate natural disasters that they autonomous robot needs to navigate through. It’s a pretty neat robot game this year.
The RoboRangers had an amazing experience at LEGOLAND. We met new friends from Canada, teams from all over the continental US, teams from Hawaii and Mexico, and teams from Korea! Our favorite moments are too numerous to count. We put together a little video documenting our time at LEGOLAND. Enjoy!
This afternoon was our official practice round on the competition tables. The Flying Monkey seems to be performing well. Tomorrow is project judging and Sunday are the official robot rounds and core values judging. We can’t wait!
The RoboRangers have been busy getting ready for the south Texas Championship. They’ve made some additions to their research project and skit, as well as preparing a core values poster and executive summary. The robot handlers have been busy practicing at getting faster achieving their missions. The team has also had fun doing more teamwork challenges. Damian challenged the team to take paint sticks and tape to spell out the word robot.
The team added on to that and spelled “ROBORANGERS”. Awesome.
And to get out all the extra energy on a Friday night, the kids did pushups, even honorary little roboranger Conley. Note Morgan finding her center…doing the “child’s” yoga pose. Namaste Morgan.
After the teamwork challenge, Fiona took over the camera and captured a few gems.
The RoboRangers had a fantastic day at their qualifier. The team was easily spotted with their crazy rainbow mohawk hair!
Marcus and Aidan ran the first robot run of the day and scored the team’s highest score.
Bobby and Evan were the handlers for the second match and worked awesome together! Alex and Ray had a fantastic third run with the buzzer beating race to the ramp! Everyone cheered when it balanced just as the timer rang. Phew!
The team gave their project presentation and completed their team work challenge between matches. Their skit was hilarious! So much fun was had by all!
After their final match, the team sat down with a technical judge and went over all the aspects to their robot, the “Flying Monkey.”
At the end of the day, the RoboRangers received an advancement ticket to the Lone Star South Texas regional. Their day was highlighted by receiving the 1st place award in Strategy & Innovation for robot performance and the 2nd place Champion’s Award!!!! Way to go RoboRangers!!!
When we arrived back home, Duncan and Conley, along with their babysitter Ashley, made this awesome banner for Aidan, Fiona, and the rest of the RoboRangers!
The RoboRangers met 24 new friends at Carriage Inn. They told them about their team and all about this year’s FLL theme, Senior Solutions. As part of the team’s research, they surveyed residents at the Carriage Inn about their mobility problems, specifically the dangerous issue a lot of seniors face, falling. After they interviewed the seniors, they shared with them their new medical device idea. Most of the residents were enthusiastic about it’s possibilities but they raised some very good questions to the team about cost, longevity, and timeframe for availability. All great questions that they team will research further. It was a fun experience for everyone!
Today’s meeting was all about building. The team broke down into subgroups and built different prototypes of a robot to use in this year’s robot game. Each were different in size, different wheels, some were geared up, some weren’t, crazy steering system, no steering system… After the crude assembly, the team tested out their designs, keeping record of what worked and what didn’t work. From their, they will take the best of all the designs and hopefully combine them into one awesome machine!
The team had a fun teamwork challenge this week. Damian gave them each a box of paint sticks and told them to make a bridge that could stand using only the paint sticks.
They completed the challenge and built a bridge that could stand on its own. Then Damian built “DaVinci’s Bridge”. He went over the history and neat mechanics of how the bridge was designed and constructed. Cool!
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