Thursday, September 10, 2009

LEGO FIRST Fever!


It's that time of year! For my contribution to our homeschool co-op I am coaching three LEGO FIRST teams. I'm coaching two JrFLL teams which I've been doing for three years now. However, for the first time we are able to field a FLL team for the middle school level!! This is exciting news and is a possibility because of two corporate sponsors. Co-op begins next Monday and we will be ready to go. I'm not an engineer, but I'm a science teacher and a motivator and hopefully an adequate facilitator! The FLL team will participate in a competition where the robot they build will perform a few tasks all around the theme of transportation this year. The JrFLL teams will build a model and do research on the same theme. The Jr teams will participate in the Expo held at the university. Dan coordinates that expo and it will be held in January. FIRST is a great organization and I encourage you to hit the link and read all about it. Dan has even been a judge at the World Competition in Atlanta, GA. We recently acquired our team kit. Today I registered all of our teams. Check out the fun stuff we get to work with during our FLL season!

The extras set for the base NXT kit- we want to make sure the team is all set.

The team kit- getting familar with what's inside

E11 gets started on building his own bot. He's holding one of the motors.

Good news! We bought a used NXT kit for our own homeschool. The kids were so excited!! I-7 wants to have daily robot time.

The first invention with our own kit- now that it's built it's time to do some programming of that brain brick there on top. The software is a basic drag and drop programming format to tell the motors how to move. E11 is excited to work with it after using Scratch to write games and other programs.

For his birthday today E11 received this manual on Mindstorms NXT inventions. I hope many hours of robot building and programming are in store for us!
Dan became interested in FIRST when its founder Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway) came to speak at the university where Dan is a staff engineer. He came to encourage folks to start FLL programming. Since then Dan has sought out the opportunities to bring the program to us locally. Three years ago he started coordinating the JrFLL expo.

If you've never heard of FIRST you might be interested in its mission and vision below.

Vision

"To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes."

Dean Kamen, Founder

Mission

Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.


Dean Kamen is an inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology. His passion and determination to help young people discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology are the cornerstones of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

3 comments:

carriejoy said...

Well, I sent my husband a link to this post and also to our WA site. Maybe he'd be willing ot get a team together. Thanks for the post and the links. I've been meaning to ask you about them.

Ticia said...

I'm eagerly looking forward to my kids being older and able to do that stuff.

Diane said...

Totally cool program.
Blessings
Diane