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Charles Aldridge <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 22 Sep 2008 13:32:35 -0400
text/plain (125 lines)
In the FLL challenge of 2001 (Arctic Impact), participants were told that 
global warming existed and they were challenged to research whether the 
phenomenon was due to natural climatic change or human interference (AGW). 
It was an academic challenge.  The Power Puzzle challenge put a fine point 
on decisions and actions that participants could take to reduce utility 
consumption and costs at a specific building.  The challenge also encouraged 
larger thinking about alternative energy sources.  The Climate Connections 
challenge parallels this approach without requiring or denying a team to 
present their findings with rational sterility or wrapped in emotional 
appeal.  I conclude that the flexibility given to participants in this 
challenge is deliberate and remarkable and the discussion raised at an FLL 
partner conference is an encouraging event.

Participants focusing on a local, community issue is consistent with recent 
FLL challenges.  Emissions inspections on cars and trucks are a fact of life 
in some Virginia communities but not in others.  You could argue a public 
health, pollution, and an overarching climate connection that is quite clear 
to students.  Take them on a field trip to an inspection station where they 
can see the emissions from their own family's car.  The most conspicuous 
climate event for many Virginia communities is lack of precipitation 
(whether it be snow or rain is another distinction).

What I'm suggesting is that if your team plans to focus on polar bears there 
should be some in their local community.  There is plenty of latitude to 
extend a discussion of what is happening in their local community to include 
the arctic but the starting point is intended to be their local community.

A panel of judges that includes folks that are as well versed in the 
position of Bjorn Lomborg as they are in Al Gore's is not necessary for fair 
judging but it wouldn't hurt either.  If the judging rubric is followed I 
think the rankings that emerge have a very good chance of being 
politically-neutral and will be merit based.

Charlie Aldridge

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stuart Roll" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 11:52 AM
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] Project Dilemma

> Phil -
> Considering the emotional and politicized nature of the Anthropogenic
> Global Warming (AGW) debate, I was actually gratified to see that the
> theme and project this year were worded in such a way as to not be
> specifically about AGW but instead about climate science in general.
> One only needs to read newspapers to know that there are many people who
> feel VERY strongly about AGW and would naturally look on AGW-oriented
> projects with great favor (or disfavor).
> It is often true that a student in a university class must write papers
> that please the professor's ideological "bent" or risk getting a bad
> grade.
> I would ask that the judges be reminded to not grade projects higher or
> lower based on whether they agree with the political implications of the
> project.  That should ensure a level playing field for all to succeed on
> their merits.
> Thanks for all that you do, Phil!  Your hard work is certainly
> appreciated (as is that of all our wonderful volunteer judges).
> Stuart Roll
> Team 1494 - Banano Splits (2006)
> Team 6567 - Solar Pickles (2007)
> Team 3502 & ???? (2008)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: First Lego League Discussion
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Phil Smith III
> Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 10:46 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] Project Dilemma
> I read Barry's statement to say it doesn't *need* to be about Global
> Warming, not that it *cannot* be. If that helps.
> --
> Phil Smith III
> Virginia State Judge Advisor, 2007
> Judge Advisor, Northern Virginia Regional tournaments, 2006
> Division 1 Judge Advisor, Virginia State tournament, 2006
> Coach, The Capital Girls, Oak Hill (retired)
> Team 1900 (2002)
> Team 2497 (2003)
> Team 2355 (2004)
> Team 1945 (2005)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: First Lego League Discussion
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Michael Blanpied
> Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 10:20 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] Project Dilemma
> At 6:47 PM -0700 9/21/08, Barry Wilbanks wrote:
>>This type question was raised at the FLL Partner conference in SC
>>where they introduced the challenge.
>>It was specifically stated NOT be be oriented toward global warming
>>or climate change.
> Barry,
> Who was the source of this "specific statement" warning teams away
> from climate change? That would seem most bizarre to me, if it came
> from an official source. Climate change is a huge issue, one that
> kids should be aware of, and part of what makes this year's climate
> theme so compelling. While I see no requirement that the project be
> about climate change, it very well could be, and I expect that many
> team projects will be. After all, the instructions say, "Research how
> climate affects your own community.  Identify a climate problem in
> your area...," and changing climate is a key problem for many
> communities, and one for which innovative solutions are needed. 

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