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November 2014

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From:
Curt Tran <[log in to unmask]>
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Date:
Mon, 10 Nov 2014 15:38:35 -0500
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Hi Everyone,

 

What a novel idea.  We could use some new tables, but not to serve the purpose of building a “perfect” table (or a mouse trap)!  After several years, these tables do have wear and tear, but I have to say the situation was not much different 5+ years ago when the kids were still competing in FLL.  The robot would run perfect on their home table, but at competition, it was just not running right.  The kids would make some adjustment for the table, but the next round they would be on a different table and experienced other quirks.  

 

So in conclusion, they are “accidental” in design to mimic the real world!  What we need to teach our kids is that the world is not perfect, and they will need to adapt to different situation.  As such, their robot design must be flexible enough to accommodate these real world environments.  If the world were perfect, there would be no 2008 financial crisis and housing price would keep going up and up!  What if there was no WWII, no WWI, or no Columbus’s discovery of America?  Would the world be any different?  Instead, ask them what if they were building that first NASA’s Spirit rover, how could they anticipate all those unknown conditions on Mars? 

 

As coaches and parents, sometime no matter how painful, you need to let the kids make those mistakes and let them learn from their mistakes.  They might not win at regional their first year or second year, but it is important that they learn from their mistakes and keep trying.  I have seen kids that did not win at their first competition, but didn’t give up and are now study engineering at school like MIT and GeorgiaTech and even pursuing other career fields at school like Harvard and PennState.  I’m not saying FLL got them into these schools, but the fact that they have recovered from their mistakes early in life help them to not making those critical slipups later in life.  We need to encourage them and let them know that it is okay if they didn’t win at this year competition, just try harder next season.  Recognize the competition table has flaws, and try not to let them solely place blame on the table quality/design.  This is why FLL also has the Project, Robot Design, and Core Values Judging sessions.  Even if they don’t have the highest table score, they can still advance to State if they do well in these three areas.

 

For those coaches and parents that could not understand the judging process, please consider volunteering this and the following weekends.  We need judges, referee, and so many volunteers to make the season successful.  So if your team is not competing and there is no potential conflict of interest with other teams competing at one of these tournaments coming up, please reach out to one of the tournament directors in your area and volunteer!

 

I will be at the Falls Church tournaments this Saturday and Sunday, so if you want to see what it’s like being a judge or a referee, please e-mail me.  Or if you cannot get in touch with your local site to volunteer, also e-mail me or just drop a message on this list server.

 

Best wishes,

T. (Curt) Tran

Judges Advisor, MEH Falls Church Regional ’14

Judges Advisor, GMU Regional ’11, ’12 & ’13

Judges Advisor, TJHSST Regional ’09

Mentor Team #5390, Kilmer-I ’09

Mentor Team #8941, Kilmer-II ’09

Coach Team #324, Scitobor ’08

Coach Team #3563, Rabid Llama Lords ’07

 

 

 

From: First Lego League in Virginia and DC [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Michael Brown
Sent: Monday, November 10, 2014 10:49 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] Table required for testing of missions in Fairfax or Ashburn.

 

"This problem could easily be solved in the short term if every one of the 525 VA-DC FLL teams sent in $10 for a new set of high quality competition tables..."

Fabulous idea, Kickstarter?

On Nov 10, 2014 10:30 AM, "Anant Narayanan" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Niketa:

On average, most team tables are better than the competition tables (the public property vs private property syndrome).  While it is good of you to try your approach, please don't rely on this too much.  You may want to coach your kids to be flexible and adapt to the circumstances quickly.  If they do this well, they will generally be able to improve their score from round to round during the competition day.

If you need realistic tables, you would need to age relatively inexpensive competition tables in storage trailers for about 5 years, a process almost as hard as producing fine whiskey, especially if you want to replicate the microclimate of the parking lots, and the delicate warping produced by leaning tables at an angle against the wall for 11 months.

None of this is the fault of the hardworking VA-DC FLL volunteers and organizers -- it is just competition reality.  FLL HQ in Manchester is seized of this problem and is currently collecting ideas for better tables.

I haven't met many coaches who love the competition tables over their own.  This problem could easily be solved in the short term if every one of the 525 VA-DC FLL teams sent in $10 for a new set of high quality competition tables of standard design (preferably designed under the supervision of a committee of experienced coaches).  That is just $1 a child.  It is a pity that kids (especially beginner teams) must suffer for want of a nail ...

One additional tip that may help this year is that the bounce characteristics of MDF is considerably different than gourmet plywood - important for the sports mission.  Is your team prepared to team adapt?  I think it would be legal to use the 1-min setup time before the round to test this characteristic on your specific table( if your team is using a bounce strategy) and adjust your program.

Best of luck,
Anant Narayanan

Sent from my iPad

> On Nov 9, 2014, at 5:59 PM, niketa ganju <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> Hello,
>
> I would like to see if any team can allow us to tryout our robot to perform some missions for testing. This is our first time to participate in FLL and the kids wanted to make sure their robot works on someone's else table.
> We would really appreciate if someone can help us.
> Thanks in advance for your help.
> Niketa- The Master Builders team.
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
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