The LL Wizards - FLL Team #318

Week 3 Meeting - 9/24/2009

September 25th, 2009

We held our third meeting on Thursday Sept. 24th. This week we had two new helpers for the day.100_0301

Our 1st helper was Mike Staub, a South Bristol resident and fellow Harris Employee. Mike is a former Kodak employee who has past experience with industrial robots and has volunteered in the past with youth organizations in the city of Rochester. Mike will help out as his schedule allows, and I think he promised to tell some stories in the future about robots not doing what they were supposed to do. I’ve heard a couple myself, and think the kids will get a kick out of them.

Our 2nd helper was Lego League parent Beth Hall. For those that don’t know, Beth is the manager of the Allen’s Hill Library on County Rd. 40.

In addition, another Lego League parent, Michelle Uthe will be helping out. After having to “fly solo” last week, the additional helpers this week were very much appreciated!

After having our snack and turning in the “homework”, I introduced the kids to the concept of the “Design Cycle”. Basically, the “Design Cycle” is an engineering principle that you apply when trying to develop something new. As applied to our program, it involves 4 basic steps: “Analyze Requirements”, “Design Robot”, “Build Robot”, and “Test Robot”.

The concept involves thinking about what we need the robot to do, developing a design for the robot that meets those requirements, building the actual robot, and testing our results. We then either go back to looking at the requirements again, or looking at the robot design to come up with improvements, and iterate that cycle until we come up with the best design we can given the constraints we have. Right now, those constraints include the robot parts we have to use, as well as the limited time frame to build/program/test the robot and get ready for the Nov. 21st competition.


The kids seemed to pick up on the concept pretty well, and I was very pleased with some of the resultant dialog. One kid asked “isn’t it a waste of time to work out a design on paper instead of building it?” and before I could respond, another volunteered that if we did that and the robot didn’t work, we wasted all that time in building and testing! Each week I am surprised at the level of dialog that we have and some of the ideas that they come up with on their own!

Our next item agenda was to as a group watch all the mission rules videos provided by FIRST. We went over each mission one by one and made sure we understood what the goal is for each. The kids were already wanting to talk about strategy options, but I tried to keep that to a minimum (we’ll tackle that starting next week) so that we could get through all the videos. It was encouraging to see though. All the missions rules are also documented in their “Rules” binder, which I have previously told them will be their best friend come competition time.

At that point, we split up into 3 groups again. One group focused on the research project, the second on finishing the bridge, and the third on getting familiar with the robotics kit. I want to say that Mrs. Slovak’s brand new white board has seen a lot of use the past two weeks!100_0300

Lastly, after we had cleanup time, I gathered the kids around the competition table, and I gave them an opportunity to start talking about game strategy. It is one thing to see the rules, but another to put that into the context of the whole table, and how doing 1 mission might affect the outcome of another mission. For instance, releasing the crash-test vehicle might knock down some other game pieces, or get in the way of the robot getting to certain areas of the table. We had a good 10-minute discussion with the kids coming up with lots of good ideas.

That’s it for this week. Next week we will start focusing on robot design, mission planning, and finalizing the topic of our research project.

- Coach Brian

Comments are closed.

Proudly powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Copyright © The LL Wizards - FLL Team #318. All rights reserved.