Saturday, November 12, 2011
First Lego League Practice Day Competition!
This will be a long post! There is so much to say. What a Saturday and what an exciting opportunity to participate in the First Lego League program! We have started our First Lego League team for 2011. With the help of Kim McCorkle and son, Zeb, we attended a practice competition at the University of Houston, Technology Building. Here our students were able to try their skills at the Robot Game, Teamwork and the Project competition.
We have never participated in First Lego League before, and it was a learning experience for us as well as the students. We left Brenham at 7:25 and traveled first to Stafford only to be redirected to University of Houston.
We first practiced on the "practice table" to be sure our robot, who we named "High Five" was "awake" and working. We chose "High Five" from the other 7 robots because he seemed to drive the straightest.
After the practice run, we went to participate in the Teamwork part of the competition. First Lego League builds Teamwork laced with "Gracious Professionalism". In "Gracious Professionalism", students compete hard toward a common goal but treat each other with respect. In this Teamwork activity, our team scored high marks, Exemplary, in every category. This means that they were able to accomplish their goal by talking or reading together, then working silently with Gracious Professionalism.
The task was to follow written directions given in a particular time period then without talking, complete the directions. This particular assignment was to put the cards in order from the top of the body to the bottom... Head, shoulders...down to feet and toes!
Thanks to Ben for the great video:
Because of its size, to see it you will have to click the link:
After Team Work we were ready for the official Judging of the Robot Game. Our students had written a few simple programs to accomplish missions with their robot, "High Five". One of the missions was to knock the blue ball off its holder and return to base. The robot must leave base with all parts within the box and the students can not touch the robot on the course without losing points. They tried to program the robot to return to base each time. Another mission was to knock the yellow ball of its stand and return to base. Each of these missions is worth a few points. Students can lose points, too, like if the "baby fish" is moved from its spot, and not put back in place, as well as "touch penalties" for touching the robot out of base.
Another mission was to program the robot to remove the corn from the harvester and/or the bacteria from the stand.
Our theme for this year is "Food Factor" and the Robot Game missions are all about food contamination. Every mission completed by the robot has a meaning about how food can be contaminated or how contamination can be prevented. If you noticed the table has a sink, farm truck, rats, fish, bacteria, and more! We built each part out of Legos! That was the fun part! Programming is challenging, and building modifications for your robot is a challenge as well. I can see for some of the kids that it is something that you just can't "put down" after you start.
Here is the link for our Judged Run (The video is 10 minutes and may take a while to load.)
Our Judged Robot Game Run
"High Five" scored 80 points! Awesome!
The researchers had a hard job pulling together a presentation for judges after having little time to work. The research portion of the program involves the students researching a real world problem with food contamination. Our three researchers chose turkey contamination, because the official competition is close to Christmas. Their solution was to install an alarm on the truck which carries the frozen turkey. The alarm will sound if the freezer gets too warm.
One reason I was looking forward to seeing the competition was observing all of the other robots. Here are some photos of the other robot designs. I especially liked the other types of wheels.