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First Lego League in Virginia and DC


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First Lego League Discussion <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 20 Sep 2008 13:33:18 -0400
Michael Blanpied <[log in to unmask]>
Michael Blanpied <[log in to unmask]>
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Dear Nick,

I've read and re-read the Project instructions, and nowhere do I see 
a requirement that the project must deal with climate CHANGE. By my 
reading, it has to do with climate, period.

Changing climate is mentioned once in the Introduction, and there are 
several Resources about climate change, but not in the instructions 
themselves. The project has to do with climate and the problems that 
it may cause to a community, and ways that communities may act to 
mitigate those effects. The project may be about climate change, if 
changing climate is causing problems.

Perhaps the climate is changing in your community (getting warmer, or 
colder, or drier, or windier, or cloudier, or whatever), and perhaps 
that change is causing problems; that's certainly true in some 

But perhaps your community is simply dry, such that finding enough 
clean water is a perpetual issue. Or perhaps it gets yards of snow 
each winter, making it hard to drive. Or perhaps it's prone to 
hurricanes. Certainly climate is a challenge to the residents of New 
Orleans, or Needles, in the California desert, or Fargo, with its 
deep winters. I can think of many possible research topics on 
problems having to do with climate change, and many that simply have 
to do with climate.

I also disagree with your interpretation that teams may not think up 
ways to combat climate change. For example, a team may conclude that 
CO2 emissions are causing warming and that warming is a problem in 
their community. A method of reducing CO2 emissions might be argued 
to reduce warming, thereby having a mitigative affect on the problem. 
That, to me, is exactly "what a community is doing about" the 
problem--attacking the root cause!

On a side note, it's interesting that your team has looked at climate 
data and possible correlations with natural disasters. I'd think that 
project judges would be impressed with this sort of analysis, 
assuming that the kids did it themselves and present it clearly.

Mike Blanpied
Reston, VA

At 12:05 PM -0400 9/20/08, Nicholas Duan wrote:
>Our team is experiencing some difficulty in identifying the right 
>research topic.  This is the dilemma we are facing:
>This year's project is to "Research how climate affects your own 
>community. Identify a problem caused by climate in your area, 
>analyze climate data about the problem, and discover what your 
>community is doing about it".  So the assumption made here is that 
>the climate change is already taking place and we need to find some 
>solution to adopt it, rather than some ways to combat or change it. 
>So the problems to be identified would be some damages caused by the 
>climate (like drought or flood), not some thing that may cause 
>climate changes.  So any topic that deals with CO2 and global 
>warming would be out of scope. 
>Another issue is that after analyzing the local weather data for the 
>past 30 years, we found none variation of climate conditions at all. 
>It is hard (if not impossible) statistically to correlate local 
>weather with flood or drought. In another words, it is very 
>difficult to establish any scientific evidence that the natural 
>disasters were caused by climate changes.  Even the scientists 
>couldn't agree among themselves on the right causes. So the 
>"Connection" part may not be there at all.
>I'm not sure if other teams were facing the same problem.  Any 
>suggestions to help us back on the right track would be highly 

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