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October 2010

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First Lego League in Virginia and DC <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:
From:
Curt Tran <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 7 Oct 2010 23:18:09 -0400
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Curt Tran <[log in to unmask]>
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Nick made a very good point.  For those rookie teams, it's about finding
that balance between the robot game and the project that will work for your
team.  Just keep the children in mind.  They are just 9-14 years old kids
and will not be able to solve all their missions or come up with the best
solution for their research project.

 

If you are a new coach of a rookie team, it can be a very stressful
experience especially if it's the first time you use Lego Mindstorms NXT and
try to teach the kids how to write and debug programs at the same time.  The
kids are loaded with homework from school, music lessons, sports and other
activities.  While meeting one or two times a week over a 2 months period,
they can only accomplish so much - just balancing out your expectation for
the team.   

 

FIRST's mission is to get children excited about science and technology.
It's most important to keep the FLL competition and the tournament FUN!
Don't let the kids dread the experience and stress out over solving those
robot game missions or working on their project.  

 

Focus on the FLL Core Values - "We have fun".

 

Cheers,

Curt

 

From: First Lego League in Virginia and DC
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Swayne, Dominic - swaynedd
Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2010 2:03 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [VADCFLL-L] FLL Research project and presentation

 

All,

 

While Curt's e-mail response about the research project yesterday was very
pragmatic [and technically correct] it doesn't necessarily reflect the
ideals of the FLL program..AND.. Emphasize that teams not competing in any
of the 4 components won't be eligible for any of the awards.

 

Often the things we find exciting are mixed with requirements we find
mundane - but as professionals we work to achieve balance.  

 

It is important to work with the kids to develop and understand that
balance.  The FLL program is designed to help them understand that there are
still big gaps in what we know.  There are lots of problems waiting for
solutions.  There are also things we think we've figured out, but we're just
plain wrong (and don't know it).  

 

Some kids are really inspired by this revelation of gaps in our knowledge.
Their teachers and parents have always been able to answer their questions
so they may assume all questions have answers.  We want and need them to
stretch a bit and figure out that we don't know everything.  Try to get them
excited about how they can make a difference.

 

The robot design, build and programming are also important - but in the
context of balance. 

 

We want to see all of the area teams at a tournament and competing - or
making a serious effort in all 4 components of the program.  

 

Teamwork skills are important and can be developed.  There are a number of
resources with example activities that build teamwork skills - a few are
below but there are many others:

http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/742

http://www.suite101.com/content/team-building-activities-for-kids-a90906

http://www.livestrong.com/teamwork-games/

http://www.firstlegoleague.org/what-is-fll/twocol.aspx?id=251 - several
links under "Coaches' Handbook"

 

Research skills can also be developed.  There are a number of excellent
guides, tips and resources under the "Project" section of the team resources
page for Body Forward:

http://www.firstlegoleague.org/media/twocol.aspx?id=247

 

The components of the program are related.  Teamwork and research skills
should be evident in a team's robot design presentation and kids should be
able to answer questions like - What was your strategy?  How did you decide
on a certain design?  What was your development process?  Did you develop a
design that failed?  What did you see as constraints?  What creative
concepts did you employ?  Did you take an idea from another robot and
modify/improve it for this season?  

 

I think there's a strong relationship between the skills developed in the
research project and teamwork development, and those skills required to
design and program a great robot.  

 

I encourage everyone to help their team find a balance that works and
participate in the program to the fullest extent possible.

 

Nick

 

 

 

From: First Lego League in Virginia and DC
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Curt Tran
Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 2010 11:26 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] FLL Research project and presentation
Importance: High

 

Hi Adam,

 

To answer your question directly, the team doesn't have to present a
research project.  

 

Just sign-up for the tournament and skip the project portion - don't forget
to stop by to tell the judges at your time slot that they will not do the
project presentation so the judges don't wait or send runners to find your
team.  

 

Make sure the kids have FUN and enjoy the FLL experience, but don't forget
that there are four  parts to the FLL tournament.  Each part is 25% of the
total tournament score, so the maximum you can get is 75% without
participating in the project presentation.  In addition, without a project
presentation - FLL rules, your team will not qualify for any award (even if
they got a perfect 400 at the table on the Robot Game, or top score on Team
Work).  

 

The four parts of the competition include:

1)      Robot Game - 1 practice run (doesn't count), and 3 actual
competition runs where the best score count

2)      Project Presentation - 5 minute presentation plus 5 minute Q&A

3)      Robot Design Judging - where the kids will demonstrate their robot
to judges on a full competition table

4)      Team Work Judging - where the kids will be judge on how they work
together as a team

 

If they skip the project presentation, just make sure they still go to the
Robot Design and Team Work portions.  There is no extra effort for these two
areas.  Just make sure they print the codes (screen print - paste into a
Word file - print from Word, etc.) for the Robot Design and plan for all the
kids to take turn talking and run the robot on any of the missions.  In the
Team Work judging, the kids will be presented with a challenge (last year
challenge - "arrange yourself in any order" - different every year) and have
5 minutes to come up with the answer with 5 minutes for questions by the
judges - they either will do well as a TEAM or not!  The Rubrics in the
coach hand book outline these judging areas.  And don't forget to introduce
themselves in any judging session while you (the coach) must remain totally
silence during their presentation and Q&A.

 

. I know the programming and solving the robot missions are overwhelming for
a rookie team, but if you can consider any simple project that they can do,
it will complete their FLL experience - and prepare them for next year.  A
simple project such as solution for fixing a cut or burn on their finger
will be okay - the kids will have a lot of fun presenting a silly solution -
i.e. one dress up like a flame, one dress up like a doctor and put
toothpaste on a burn, etc.!

 

Cheers,

 

T. (Curt) Tran

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 Adam Coonin
Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 2010 12:19 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [VADCFLL-L] FLL Research project and presentation

 

hi, forgive me for a possibly stupid question but.....can our rookie and
young team not present a research project at the tournament?  we know we
will not win.  We just want to get our feet wet in the FLL and get the kids
excited about doing it again next year.

 

Thanks,

 

Adam

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