Getting there!

I’ve been remiss at updating our team’s blog.  The team is just 2 weeks away from their qualifying competition.  The programmers and robot designers have been hard at work.  After a complete rebuild of their robot, the team has a good handle on some of the missions.  It’s exciting to see how excited the kids get when they execute their program flawlessly.  Cheers abound!  The researchers have been busy gathering all the information for their project and will be finalizing their skit tomorrow.

At one of our team meetings, the kids were fortunate to have Brandon Hamilton as a guest speaker and give the kids a peek into his world of orthopedics.  He brought along plastic models of the hand and foot, along with a titanium external fixator,  He showed a ton of xrays and some pictures of actual surgeries which garnered a few “ewwwws” and “that’s gross!” from the kids.  The kids came away with a lot of great information that they have applied to their research project.

Here is the RoboRanger tshirt design, artwork by Alex.  The shirts will arrive just in time for the tournament!

The past 2 weeks meetings have been focused on getting 1-2 mission challenges complete.  The team decided together that achieving the Patent/Claw mission was high priority as only one team can score the points from it in the head-to-head match.  The programmers and robot designers worked to get the robot to it, following the objectives of the strategic designers.  

 And this is what happens after 3 hours of intense programming…

Big thank yous for the Simmons, Shurtz, and Zapalac families for the dinners you have provided the team!

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Lots of progress!

Last weeks meeting was a productive one.  First the team headed over to the field table. Coach Damian spent quite a bit of time going over each mission and the points associated with each one. The team was already strategizing about which ones they wanted to tackle first and which ones, given the low point amount, were not worth trying. They may adjust their strategy as they go along but it was great to see all the ideas already.

Next item on the agenda was choosing the research topic. The team members had the chance to present their research ideas to the group. There were some really great ideas and a lot of effort put into them. The team ultimately voted on an idea presented by McKay. His idea is to create a pill that would make bones so strong that they will never break and skin so strong, it will never bleed. INVINCIBLE! A lot of research lies ahead but I think they are starting with a pretty neat subject.

Next it was time to vote for the teams t-shirt design. Again, there were some great designs and the team had a tough choice. But in the end, Alex had the winning design. Once I get it scanned in, I will post it here. Great job Alex!

The team building challenge for this week was a fun one.  Each team was given 25 straws, 3 feet of tape, scissors, and an egg.  The objective was to build a protective housing for the egg, which was to be dropped from a height of 8 feet, after the 8 minute construction time period.  Each team had a similar design and after all the testing and dropping, every egg broke.  They might not have protected the egg, but they sure had fun watching the eggs smash on the concrete!!

LEGO Mission Models complete

Our second meeting was busy, busy, busy. We started the meeting with a team building challenge. The group was divided into 3 teams and each team had the task of building the tallest and sturdiest structure they could using only spaghetti noodles and marshmallows. It was interesting to see what the teams came up with. The ultimate winning structure was created by Ray, Alex, Aidan, and McKay. Their design started out as a cube but morphed into a geodesic design that was solidly built.

After the team build exercise, the team had a round table meeting and shared their ideas about a body part, system, or function that interested them. Their assignment for the week is to expand on that idea and bring to the group more detailed information. The team votes at the next meeting which topic will be their research project.

The remainder of the meeting was spent building all the LEGO mission modules for the field table course. Each team member was paired up and worked to complete these tasks. It was great to see all the pieces on the table so that they can now visualize the tasks that they can complete with their robot. They were already strategizing the motions that the robot will have to do to complete the missions. We will expand on that at the next meeting as well as going over the rules and scoring for each mission task.

At the next meeting, the team will also be voting on and finalizing the RoboRanger logo and t-shirt design.

A huge thank you to Mrs. Fundora for the yummy fried chicken dinner, complete with mashed potatoes, corn, and rolls. They kids devoured it!

First meeting!

When we first started putting the framework together for a team, we had just one team member. Despite a few snafus with the school, we now have a 10 member team and all are excited at the challenges ahead. It was great to meet all of them on Friday.

I introduced the team and parents to the world of FLL by showing the promo video for team Zoom. After getting to know the team a little and doing a team building exercise, it was time for pizza! It was after this, that we got down to some serious learning. Not only about the robot and programming, but the importance of working as a team. When it was time for the kids to build their first test robot, 20 hands dived into the parts bucket and it was a chaotic free for all. I gave them 5 minutes to brainstorm a basic design and at the end of the initial 5 minutes, they realized that their approach wasn’t working. Then something great happened. There was talking, not shouting, there was sharing, not grabbing, and some really great ideas came out.

With a basic robot constructed, the team members each had a chance to tell the robot what to do. The task at first was simple. Go forwards. go backwards. Then, they learned about the touch sensor and added that to the robot. Now the robot had even more potential. They were eager to figure out how to get the robot to turn and that will be tackled next meeting.

Next weeks tasks:

  • Brainstorm team name and logo
  • Each team member will share with the team what body part/ailment/solution they thought about over the week.
  • Build Mission Models
  • Introduction to missions and scoring
  • More robot design and programming
  • For kids that have had limited exposure to robotics and programming, they all picked up on the concepts pretty quick. We are starting a few weeks behind other established teams, but at the rate that they are learning and if they continue working as a team, then I know this is going to be a fun season!

    See you all at the next meeting!

    Important Parent Meeting Friday 10/8 – Team Practice 4:30-7:30pm

    Hello parents!  We will have a quick parent meeting on Friday 10/8, followed by the first official team meeting.  I will be introducing this years First Lego League Challenge and the team will begin constructing the Lego mission competition models.  The team will also be coming up with their 2010-2011 team name and begin brainstorming for the research portion of the competition.  See you there!