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November 2014

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From:
Anant Narayanan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Anant Narayanan <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:37:12 -0500
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Kurt makes a sound argument for adaptibility and bracketing design around
the set point, but just for the record, there is no FLL requirement for use
of plywood.  The official guidance for building tables, found at
http://www.firstlegoleague.org/sites/default/files/Challenge/TeamResources/NaturesFury/2013-14TableOnly.pdf
calls for

"Sanded plywood (or other very smooth board) 96” X 48” X at least 3/8”
(2438mm X 1219mm X 10mm)."

Under this standard, MDF would qualify (and in fact would be best, but for
its low moisture resistance unless treated).  IMHO, Sterling board
(OSB/particle board) is rarely smooth enough without lamination/surface
treatment and should be disfavored.  In fact I see no requirement for a
wood surface -- what we use today is more an artifact of history, rather
than design.  The above document notes that:

"With safety, weight, height, and cost in mind, a simple design is offered
here, but as long as your surface is smooth, and your border walls are
sized and located properly, how you build the understructure is up to you."

Clearly the focus on making the surface smooth -- a running theme
throughout the document.  The portable table is made of different materials.

The other thing to keep in mind is that FTC is moving to manufactured
tables (from Andy Mark).  In a year or two, so will FLL.  Standardized
surfaces offer many advantages -- they make the game day experience more
predictable, and thus help in the retention of rookie teams.  A uniform
product will let teams focus on the game, and learning important skills.

Soccer these days is largely played on synthetic (astroturf) surfaces (in
our areas).  While children in some countries may play barefoot, and sadly,
in war zones, there may even be kids who lose their limbs to land mines
while playing sports, I don't think anyone would tolerate Darwinian
arguments in such contexts.  We hardly want a return to the Spartan
practice of leaving kids out in the cold overnight so that the ones who
survive strengthened the race.  I say this only to make a rhetorical point,
not to paint anyone as having these thoughts.

Encouraging kids to stick and persist with STEM is hard enough with balky
robots and sensors to insist on the ritual/tradition of imperfect playing
surfaces ("This is how we do it in FLL").  A bad table experience negates
in six hours, what a coach may have spent three-six months in training and
mentoring.  We lose the kids, we lose the coach.  often, all we have to
show is increased entropy.  This is called churn in marketing speak, and
there is entirely too much of it in robotics/FLL.

I feel we need to move beyond this culture of poverty (in thought, and in
resources).  We should not be debating this issue any more -- we should
spend our energies working towards solutions.

Sincerely,
Anant Narayanan



*---------------------------------------------------------- Anant S
Narayanan Founder & Executive Director*

*McLean Robotics Institute*



* McLean VA 22102 202-421-3826 (cell) [log in to unmask]
<[log in to unmask]>
-----------------------------------------------------------*

On Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 11:03 AM, Curt Tran <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Thanks Jerry,
>
>
>
> “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away” Job 1:21.
>
>
>
> So TJ has finally fixed their entrance exam to really accommodate FLL.
> This teaches our kids another lesson in that the “perfect” world never
> stays the same!  Okay, so let’s talk a little about FLL before someone
> complaint!  During the Falls Church tournament, some coaches have brought
> up the subject of the blue ball not bouncing as well on the tournament
> tables.  This is due to the material makeup of the table surface.  The FLL
> spec calls for plywood, and if anyone out there is using OSB board, your
> team will have a lot of discovery during the tournament.  Even, if everyone
> is using plywood, the thickness will make a lot of different.  The spec
> only specifies 96” X 48” plywood, but mute on the thickness so if a team
> mission was relying on the ball bouncing a certain way are the kids out of
> luck or can they adjust!
>
>
>
> An interesting lesson for the kids to learn about bouncing ball and the
> unexpected is the recent landing of the ESA’s Philae probe (robot).  The
> unexpected bounces of Philae on the Comet 67P put it into a place where no
> one could ever expect.  Read more on BBC at:
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30083969.
>
>
>
> To all our coaches, thank you for guiding and teaching the children this
> FLL season.  They are an outstanding bunch of kids and are all winners in
> our book.  To those teams that advancing to State, good lucks and have FUN
> in Harrisonburg.  Make those hotel reservations quickly or they will run
> out.
>
>
>
> For all other teams, the season does not end here.  There are more to
> learn and teach other about your FLL experiences, so you can come back and
> tell our judges all about it next year.  For those moving on to high
> schools, there are FTC and FRC that they should look into.
>
>
>
> Let’s go and build another Philae, and never give up!
>
>
>
>
>
> *Best wishes,*
>
> *T. (Curt) Tran*
>
> *Judge Advisor, MEH Falls Church Regional ’13, ’14*
>
> *Judge Advisor, GMU Regional ’11, ’12 & ’13*
>
> *Judge 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 *Jerry
> *Sent:* Tuesday, November 25, 2014 6:43 AM
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
>
> *Subject:* Re: [VADCFLL-L] TJHSST - RE: [VADCFLL-L] Need Your Help.
>
>
>
> FYI - tj no longer has a written portion I the examination so the blessing
> is moot.
>
>
>
> :)
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
>
> On Nov 24, 2014, at 11:16 PM, Curt Tran <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> Hi Marin, Jeff, Lakshmi and everyone,
>
>
>
> Okay here is the Secret in the “accidental” design of FLL & TJ!  Every
> year, it’s a coincident that both the TJ entrance exam and the FLL State
> tournament in Virginia occurred during the first weekend of December.  For
> this reason many 8th graders might have decided not to compete in FLL
> during their final year to focus on the TJ test.  However, for those
> students that are pursuing TJ admittance, winning regional and advanced to
> State during their 8th grade is more critical than winning it during 7th
> or 6th grades.
>
>
>
> TJ admission has made it very clear that they do not make any exception
> for students missing their entrance exam.  Unless you are sick and bed
> ridden, they will not let you make up the exam.  However, every year TJ
> makes the only one exception for those students that have to travel to JMU
> to compete for the State FLL tournament.  TJ will excuse those students
> from the second portion of the exam so they can travel to Harrisonburg to
> be on time for their competition.  They will just take the first portion of
> the exam and allow making up the writing portion at a later date.
>
>
>
> Some students might not like deferring their essay portion to a later
> date, but this is a blessing in disguised.  If asked by these students,
> FIRST will compile a list of their names and send it to TJ asking for
> testing accommodation.  The list of name is typically handled by the TJ
> admission director personally every year to make sure that they receive
> accommodation for early release from testing.  So why does TJ makes this
> special accommodation you might ask, TJ is the Governor’s school for
> science and technology.  They are out to select the most qualified science
> and technology students in Virginia for admission.  How qualify can one be
> if their team won FIRST’s FLL regional tournament and have made it to
> State.
>
>
>
> FIRST is one of the top STEM program in the nation and advancing to State
> is a high honor for these students.  Although TJ does not accept outside
> recommendation for applicants, but how cool can it be that your name is on
> a very short list of name from FIRST that is being personally handle by the
> director of admission.  I’m not saying that the students will get into TJ
> just because they are on this short list, but it shows how much TJ has
> valued FIRST’s programs and has honored those students that have advanced
> to the FLL State tournament.
>
>
>
> So having an opportunity to skip the second part of the TJ entrance exam
> is really a blessing in disguised for our 8th graders!  If anyone still
> have question on little mistakes that the kids should try to avoid on their
> TJ application just e-mail me and I will try to reply off list since that
> is not really related to FLL.
>
>
>
>
>
> Best wishes,
>
> Curt
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> *Sent:* Monday, November 24, 2014 12:28 PM
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Subject:* Re: [VADCFLL-L] TJHSST - RE: [VADCFLL-L] Need Your Help.
>
>
>
> Curt,
>
>
>
> I'm curious to hear the TJ secret.  We have a sibling who is applying for
> TJ this year.  He's competed in LEGO and VEX before.
>
>
>
> Thank you,
>
> Marin
>
> On Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 12:22 PM, Curt Tran <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> Hi Niketa,
>
> Congratulation!  Make sure the kids go to the FLL State tournament;  it’s
> the best thing that can ever happen to any TJHSST hopeful!
>
>
>
> This is one of that real world FLL “accidental” in design for Virginia FLL
> and our TJHSST bound students.
>
>
>
> Once you have registered, the State will try to schedule all your team’s
> events in the later part of day to accommodate their TJ test!  And even if
> the schedule is still too tight for your team when it comes out, there will
> be many Coopertition® FLL teams that will swap their judging schedules
> with you (with our scheduler at State final approval for the swap, of
> course) .
>
>
>
> If any TJHSST hopefuls out there still have not find Coach Katarina’s
> secret message about VA FLL and TJ, please e-mail me, and I will spill the
> TJ secret.  (I cannot locate her secret message on the website either!)
>
>
>
>
>
> *Best wishes,*
>
> *T. (Curt) Tran*
>
> *Judge Advisor, MEH Falls Church Regional ’13, ’14*
>
> *Judge Advisor, GMU Regional ’11, ’12 & ’13*
>
> *Judge 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 *Kent and Anne Meyer
> *Sent:* Monday, November 24, 2014 11:21 AM
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Subject:* Re: [VADCFLL-L] Need Your Help.
>
>
>
> Don't worry, Niketa. This happens every year and the tournament knows how
> to handle it. Contact Nick Swayne or Dustin Skelton about exactly what you
> need to do. Congrats on your success!
>
>
>
> Anne Meyer
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
>
> On Nov 24, 2014, at 10:44 AM, niketa ganju <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> Hello Everyone.
>
>
>
> I am a coach of rookie Team - The Master Builders- 4636. We are from
> Fairfax county  We are lucky to be selected for the State Championship.
> Unfortunately 5 out of my 8 team members are appearing for the  entrance
> test of Thomas Jefferson High School on December 6th. The time schedule for
> the test is from 8 am till 12 am. The kids can be at the tournament
> location by 2 pm. We are Division 2 team. The kids really want to
> participate in the tournament as it is their first time. I would really
> appreciate if anyone can let me know whom should I contact to reschedule
> our team's events. The deadline to register is tomorrow and we are really
> worried that we might not be able to participate if we are not allowed to
> reschedule our events.
>
> Any help would be really appreciated.
>
> Thanks.
>
> Niketa ganju- Coach of The Master Builders- 4636.
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>
> --
>
>             ~MARIN KOBIN~
> University of Rochester class of 2009
> ------------------------------
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