Friday, November 14, 2008

New Help for FLL teams...


For rookie coaches (and veterans too), the FIRST LEGO® League Coaches’ Handbook, that comes with your registration of a team, is your overview of getting started with an FLL (FIRST LEGO® League) team. The handbook offers a coach, teacher, and/or parent general insight into how to organize and coach a FLL team and what to expect at the tournaments. It is a quick reference that offers philosophy, management, and check lists for the team.

Now, coaches have another resource, the FIRST LEGO® League: the unofficial guide by James Floyd Kelly & Jonathan Daudelin, takes you beyond the handbook. It goes into more depth as to what FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology) and the FLL is about, the components of the challenge: robot performance, robot design, the research project, teamwork and other awards, starting and managing a team – including funding, etc. However, what makes the FIRST LEGO® League: the unofficial guide so excellent is it offers a starting point for robot building and programming, which is often a concern for new coaches – Where do we begin? What are the basics for building and programming for the tournament? Yes, there are good resources scattered around the Internet; of course there are book sources geared mostly toward an intermediate and advanced robotics curriculum (not the FLL) and there is one very good reference book for just programming. Therefore, FIRST LEGO® League: the unofficial guide is the book for FLL teams to add to their resources. It provides teams with beginning ideas, pictures, and examples of robot design, attachments for their robot, programming samples, and a link http://thenxtstep.com/book/downloads/ for downloading NXT-G programs and sample documents.

As a LEGO® NXT robotics instructor, I highly recommend this book to FIRST LEGO® teams; and for those thinking about getting involved in the FLL. For information on the book and updates go-to www.oreilly.com/nostarch, or directly from No Starch Press ( http://www.nostarch.com, orders@nostarch.com, 1-800-420-7240).

For those of you not involved in the FIRST LEGO® robotics go-to http://firstlegoleague.org/community/events/overview.aspx for information on an exciting program.
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