Although, I haven't blogged much about it since the summer, we have have been quite entrenched as a family with our FIRST LEGO League team this year. We were successful last year in getting a team up and running through our homeschool co-op. We had a great rookie season last fall and this past spring we taught an NXT programming class to get the kids more time programming the NXT robots. Over the summer our 2010 team formed for the fall and we have been meeting since then. Beginning in September, we started the co-op class and had Wednesday afternoon practices as well. As the season got closer to the competition day, we held our Monday class, 3 hour Wednesday afternoon practices and 3 hour Saturday afternoon practices.
On November 13th, the team traveled to a nearby city to compete in a qualifyer FLL event. Each year there is a theme and the kids have to do research related to the theme. When the challenge comes out, the kids have to do a project with a presentation and they have to program the robot for the robot game. The robot game challenges the kids to any number of "missions" on a mat which has designs and LEGO models the robot must interact with. The kids try to program as many missions as they can to be carried out in 2 minutes 30 sec. They are scored on the creativity an innovativeness of the programming, their projects and presentations as well as their game score for completing missions well.
The kids did really well keeping it together on competition day when all their hard work began to tank! They had their best score on the practice round and they were so disappointed. However, they did come away with two awards that day. The first was the FIRST values award given to the team which best represents the values of the FIRST organization. The second was the Most Creative Presentation Award. They worked hard on a skit which detailed a migraine treatment they had come up with using research they had conducted.
We are holding our end of the season party on Friday and the kids are looking forward to it. E12 and R10 were on the team this year. E12 was on last year's team as well. E loves the whole process, but R is not a fan! She hung in there and we are proud of her, but she is pretty certain she will not return for the new season. However, I8 will be old enough by then to join in so we'll see how things go. Dan is already thinking about our class next semester. I think he is going to be teaching some problem solving skills. He did a great job evaluating the kids and having them give him feedback. Not sure how many kids will return, but there are always siblings and newcomers excited to be a part of the team. This has been a great diversion for Dan and his engineering and the kids love it!
Congratulations ALPS: Amazing LEGO People!