Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Life After FLL...

Since September (some since May when registration opened) FLL teams with great expectations have been preparing for the regional tournaments which are upon us. Some triumphant teams will go on to the FLL US Open Championship and maybe to the World Festival; but then what??? No, it’s not over! There is an awesome book of projects to tantalize one’s imagination and keep the exciting challenge of robotics going: LEGO® MINDSTORMS NXT One-Kit Wonders: Ten Inventions to Spark Your Imagination by Kelly, J. F.; Scholz, M.P.; Smith, C.R.; Boogaarts, M.; Daudelin, J.: Burdo, E.D.; Valk, L.; Bluetoothkiwi; Rhodes, F. – No Starch Press, Inc. 2009.

The book, chock full of ideas, provides step-by-step instructions of how to build the robots or devices, each of which can be built from just one LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT kit (and if you happen to have other LEGO® elements, creativity is unleashed). There are programming examples for each of the projects, plus ideas for further exploration, and troubleshooting tips.

So if you are looking for some fresh ideas, there are 10 wonderful projects for teachers and FLL coaches to explore and to adapt to emphasize particular technology, science and math skills. For example, CandyPicker, M, and The Hand opens the door (:-O) to discussions about the use of robotics to do repetitive, dangerous or dirty jobs. RoboLock helps to explain how security systems work. SPC: the Self-Parking Car illustrates how sensors work and how the Lexus LS 460L parks itself – hmmm a field trip to a Lexus dealership might be an interesting idea. My favorite is NXT Dragster, as a robotics teacher I have done something similar, incorporating math by finding the circumference of a circle (wheel) to determine the number of rotations/degrees needed to go a particular distance. NXT Dragster adds the excitement and the feel of a drag racing strip – imagine drag racing down the hallway!!!

For more information on the book and updates go-to No Starch Press http://www.nostarch.com/nxtonekit.htm or orders@nostarch.com, 1-800-420-7240).


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