In my post about the new field mat (Oct. 18), I might have spoken too soon. I am getting emails about how kids are having trouble sensing the green line on the mat with the RGB Color sensor. There seems to be no problem sensing the green bottle, but sometimes the green line on the mat is not picked up or a black line is sensed for the green. The White and the Black lines seem to work perfectly fine. So I am working on several programs to see exactly where the problem is. If anyone has some information as to a solution. Please feel free to send a comment.
the 1st edition (2005) of The Unofficial LEGO Builder’s Guide by Allen Bedford
was released it was the “must have” guide to LEGO building.The LEGO fans, of all ages, found a
reference book of the practices of LEGO building; they could now understand the
principles behind the kit instructions and take that step into freestyle
building. The book teaches LEGO fans how to choose and use the various building
elements in different ways so that LEGO builders can maximize their creativity
and build models that are sturdy. However, something was missing from this
wonderful book...... COLOR!
LEGO builders, the new The Unofficial LEGO Builder’s Guide, 2nd edition is now
in COLOR! This updated version of the book is more condensed; it gets right to
the point, which is great, because we LEGO builders would rather be building.
though, three chapters were eliminated in this edition, Technic: Not As
Technical As It May Seem; Sorting, Storage, and Sitting Down to Build
Something; Making and Using Tools For LEGO Projects. The chapter on Storing...
yes, it could be eliminated because LEGO builders find their own personal way
of sorting, storing, and how they start to build. However, I think the chapter
on Making and Using Tools... would have been valuable for the neophyte LEGO
builder, and it had tips for some intermediate LEGO builders as well. The
chapter on Technic... and the technic elements that were eliminated in the
Brickopedia, I also feel should not have been eliminated, because LEGO builders
today are making use of Technic elements with the traditional elements to
create amazing models. Perhaps, it was a “cost” decision (color production is
expensive), but I believe LEGO fans would have paid the extra cost to have these two
chapters (Technic and Tools) included in this edition as well.
The gift of education; to be able to learn through books,
the Internet, discussion, and even LEGO(R) technology and robotics without fear
for one’s life is truly a precious gift.
This post today is not about the joy of learning with LEGO(R) technology and robotics, but it is about education, the education one should not take for granted, but be grateful for the opportunity to learn.
Some years ago Ziauddin Yousafzi opened a school for girls in the Swat
District of Pakistan and has received death threats ever since then. On Oct. 9,
2012, in Mingora, Pakistan on her way to school, 14 year old Malala Yousafzai
was singled out on a school bus by masked terrorist and shot – just because she
wanted an education. Her dream was to be a doctor, but after the onslaught of
the Talbian to destroy all schools for girls, she became an outspoken voice for
education of girls. For this she was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth’s
Peace Prize and now an attack on her life.Talbian said Malala was a target, calling her “crusade for education
rights an obscenity.” Also, adding that if she survived, the militants would
certainly try to kill her again. “Let this be a lesson.”
My heart and prayers
go out to this brave little girl and her family. Please read the NY Times
article, view the documentary about her, and let your voice be heard in support
of this amazing girl!
Emphasize the importance of the
commitment by team members & their parents; making the practices & being available for the Qualifier Tournament & the Finals. Send a letter
home about practice/tournament dates & times, for the team members & their parents to sign. Also, send reminders home of upcoming events. Solicit
the help of parents & colleagues at practices and/or tournaments (and be
sure to express your appreciation for their support) Let the kids become the experts! Remember
this is a kid project; you are there for teaching skills, support, & guidance –
encourage & ask thought provoking questions to help them come up with their
own solutions to the challenges.
Explanation of what the competition
is about and the various awards.
Viewing of the FIRST Compilation
DVD & General Guide to the FLL Project.
What is this year’s theme?
What’s in the kit?
Learning & identifying the
parts of the kit. Setting up some sort of organization of
Field Set Up
is this year’s challenge? View the robot challenge/game on the internet.
team members in pairs & assign field set up building.
discussion/brainstorming of ideas of how the tasks on the field can be accomplished
Then have the team
decide on the best robot to accomplish the missions & make
Discussion of the missions on the
needs to be accomplished?
attachments or sensors are needed?
missions can be combined together?
Have the students
work in pairs or threes, with each group being responsible for a
mission or group of missions.
Identify specialties, who are the
main robot designers, builders,programmers, & handlers (the members who will go to the tables at the tournament)
are, although all should be able to have input in any area.
The Robot Handlers work in pairs: one controls the robot and the other is the “spotter” who helps put on
attachments & removes objects in base out of the way. The team can have 1-3 pairs of handlers for the different rounds. Usually, there are 3 rounds. The
highest score of all the rounds is used to determine place.
the 2 members who will present the robot to the judges for the
Robot Awards. They will have to demonstrate the robot, explain
the attachments & use of sensors, programming (Printouts
of programming would be useful) & what strategies/innovations were use in deciding & performing the missions.
Core Value Awards - Inspiration/Teamwork/Gracious Professionalism
team will be given a brief challenge activity to work out i.e. represent an object without verbally communicating. They will explain to the judges the Core Values & how they worked together to tackle
the challenge. Team spirit & enthusiasm.
During the competition judges may be walking around to see what the teams have or are doing in their Pits.
Spice it Up! Team
T-shirts, caps, costumes, etc. Signs. Bookmarks & flyers about your Research Project.
squad - Have students, teachers, parents come to the tournaments.
3 Weeks before the Qualifier -
Pretend to be at the tournament – go through what will be done: Robot
Performance 2.5 minutes. Robot Design 5 minutes; Research Project 5 minutes; Judges’ interview of the for Core Values Awards 5 minutes.
V-Day – Qualifier & Finals
consent forms, a kit for repairs & enhancements, robot(s) (if you have more than one kit, build & program two identical robots in case something happens to one & you don’t have time for major repairs), robot charger, Research Project materials, laptop & charger, power strip, extension cord.
The new App for this year's "Senior Solutions" FIRST LEGO League Robot Game Performance is now available. It is a very valuable tool that you can easily access on your "idevice." It lets you score, time, save & e-mail your missions score, links to the FIRST website for info, rules, Game updates & Project page. Price for this wonderful tool... 99 cents. *
Attention, rookie coaches whose teams are using NXT-G programming
software, just a word about MyBlocks vs.“Custom Blocks.”
Custom Blocks are pre-programmed blocks downloadable from
the Internet from various sources for the NXT-G software. However, these are NOT ALLOWED for programming in the FIRST LEGO League Competition, because they are not created by the team members (kids).
MyBlocks, that the team members (kids) create themselves with the program blocks
that come with the software, arepermitted.This is a good programming skill for the team members to
learn and may be very useful when programming for the various missions. It also uses less memory on the NXT Controller.
Today I saw the movie “Robot & Frank.” It’s about a retired burglar, Frank,
whose children, concerned about his mental health and living alone, gets him a
humanoid robot that is programmed to improve their father’s physical and mental
health. This was a great film
about one example of growing old and the problems that are associated with
aging. It touched upon a couple of
the needs of seniors, specifically, the need for companionship and the need to
be able to do something that they enjoy (although I wouldn’t recommend being a
burglar and a shoplifter as a hobby).
This actually is a good film for this year’s FIRST LEGO
League theme “Senior Solutions.”It’s funny, it’s enlightening about senior issues, and it’s about a
robot!However, please note this is
a PG-13 movie; there is some cursing in it.Perhaps, coaches and 13 and 14 year old FLLers could see
this movie together.
On Aug. 28, 2012 the release of the 2012 Senior Solutions Challenge will mark the start of the FIRST LEGO League Challenge 2012-13. For all you rookie coaches (and not so rookie coaches), don't panic! There is help. Get your hands on these excellent books:
Just about everything you need to know about coaching an FLL team
My MINDSTORMS NXT-G software (educational & consumer
versions) were working fine on my Mac (Snow Leopard) with Safari and Firefox, then recently the
software stopped loading; there was now an error.So why? Well, it turns out that recently Firefox updated its software,
the new 14.0.1 causes a problem with the NXT-G trying to access the Internet, even if you don’t use Firefox as your Internet browser; Firefox installed on
your computer still causes a problem.
The solution (for now),I uninstalled the Firefox and just use
Safari.Both versions of MINDSTORM
NXT-G are working again.
Last December the LEGO(R) Group launched a new theme, "Friends," building kits aimed at the possibly lucrative girls' toy market. It was met with some controversy; criticized by some as being sexist and reductive. Some thought the new minifigures in the Friends kits were a departure from the traditional minifigure, as maybe a bit too "realistic. " Actually, the Friends minifigures are more little "girlish" than early female "womanish" minifigures that actually showed cleavage.
Well LEGO took a gamble and it paid off with the "Friends City Park Cafe" being named Toy of the Year. LEGO is definitely on the right track in wooing the girl's market with Friends, pastel colored bricks, Duplo, Technic and robotics elements. There has been an increase in girls attending "Brick Events" and signing up at LEGO Tech Centers. Hey, if it gets the girls interested in designing, building, and thinking about future careers in architecture and engineering, then thumbs up to LEGO; it is no longer just a boy toy.
P.S. I have found that some of the boys like the new pastel color bricks too. *
Well, I'm back from Florida,
The FLL World
Invitational Open in Florida was FANTASTIC!
palm trees, warm weather, interesting folks and robots; what a great combination! Sixty-three teams came from all over the U.S.
and the world. The spirit of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition was
everywhere as teams networked, exchanged ideas, exchanged e-mails for e-pals,
joined Facebook pages, even played soccer and dodge ball together on the
football field of our host All Saints Academy in Winter Haven. I met robots (and folks) from Israel, Columbia, Canada, Iowa, Texas, to name a few.
The robots were AWESOME and research projects
One of the highlights of games was the Blind
Pirate's Challenge where teams were randomly paired as alliance teams to run
the robot performance game together on the same table - two robots on the table
at the same time! My team roboGbots and Epic Team 2.0, from Houston Texas, were an alliance team. Talk about Coopertition and fun. There was also an impromptu
Robot Derby to honor the running of the Kentucky Derby.
FIRST LEGO League Qualifying Winners Bronx Qualifier
1st - Knights of The Rectangular Table - Riverdale Country School
1st - Niles - MS 118
Teamwork - Robotronics - Bronx Prep Charter School
Inspiration - HM Lions - Horace Mann
Gracious Professionalism - Bronx Brilliant Engineers - Young Athletes Association Mechanical
Mechanical Design - RoboTron - RoboMindTech
Programming - Ridder Kids - IS98
Strategy and Innovation - Techno Tigers - PS/MS 194
Research - Bronx Task Force - Good Shepherd Services
Presentation - Bengal Tigerbots - PS 55
Innovative Solution - CS 66 Brats - CS 66
Note the 2 teams below advanced because the 2 champions are also winners of the performance rounds so the next 2 performance round winners who did not place are advanced to round of the team advancement to 13
Qualifier No.1 - The Molecules - PS 195
Qualifier No 2 - The 76ers - PS 76
1st - Alien Pi - The Dalton School
2nd - Raging Tigers - The Trinity School
3rd - Food Fighters - NYC Lab Middle School
Mechanical Design - Chelsea Transformers - Chelsea Prep Academy
Programming - Chapin Bots 2 - The Chapin School
Strategy & Innovation - Robo Rodeo - The Dalton School
Inspiration - Thunderbots - Metropolitan Montessori School
Teamwork - Hunters to be Hunted - Hunter College High School Gracious Professionalism - Angry Nerds - Hunter College High School
Research - Digital Pride - The Gateway Middle School
Innovative Solution - Columbia Craft Crammers - Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
Presentation - BISNY - British International School of New York
Rising Star: - MATbots - P.S. 126
1st - Chelsea Robot Rulers - P.S. 33 Chelsea Prep Academy
2nd - DROIDMakers - The Inwood Academy for Leadership
3rd - Chapin Bots 1 - The Chapin School
Champions Award 1st - Gear Hawk - P.S. 399 2nd - Falcon Robotic Allstars - M.S. 113 3rd - Skybots - I.S. 383
Gracious Professionals - Swedish Chef 2 - Packer Collegiate Institute Inspiration - Bacteria Terminators - P.S. 9 Teamwork - Team [x]- P.S. 321
Research 1st - Super Novas - Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women 2nd - Brick Boyz - P.S. 58 Innovation 1st - Germinators - P.S. 58 2nd - Lego-nauts - P.S. 321 Presentation - LegoMinds - P.S. 233
Judges’ Award - The Nerd Herd - St. Edmunds Elementary School
Against All Odds Awards - Nano Wolves - Fort Greene Preparatory Academy