Saturday, March 14, 2015

See what your school is missing - Join me for a day of robotics TODAY, March 14, 2015 - At the Javits Convention Center

Really, if your school doesn't have an NYCFIRST robotics program going on you need to see this.

At 6PM Friday night - HS kids still at it

Today is the big day and I head out at 6AM. I got home at 9PM last night from helping get ready for the 80 teams coming from all over the city and from public, private, charter, parochial and home schooled teams for the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) NYC championship tournament for kids aged 9-14. 

In FIRST LEGO League (FLL®) the children will design, build and program an autonomous robot (using the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robot set) to score points on a thematic playing surface, as well as conduct a project research and create innovative solutions to a problem, all while being guided by the FLL Core Values. The FLL Challenge this year is called World Class - Learning Unleashed.

The Pits: Where the 80 teams hang out
In the morning the kids - we have 80 teams with about 10 kids on a team -- present their research projects to a team of judges, show how they designed their robot to another team of judges and demonstrate their level of teamwork - and core values to a third set. While waiting they spend the morning doing practice runs - and modifying their software and robot designs for the afternoon game competition where they get to run their robots in 3 rounds - roughly once an hour.

Like my flannel shirt? That's where to find me

I'll be managing the team pit area - when I'm not sneaking out for a snack in the volunteer canteen- so come on down and hang out.

But there is so much more in this 3 day event -- we are only here for today.

During the morning, the little kids 6-9 - will demonstrate the Junior FIRST LEGO League projects.

For children ages 6-9, Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) captures young children's curiosity and directs it toward discovering the wonders of science and technology.

Children get to design and build a challenge-related model using LEGO® components, create a Show Me Poster and practice presentation skills, explore challenges facing today's scientists, discover real-world math and science, and engage in team activities guided by Jr.FLL Core Values. The theme this year is called Think Tank - Redefining Learning.

Check out the high school field

And going on all day and Sunday too is the big kids - the varsity.
I was there last night and the kids were still working out at 7PM. Backstage in the pit area is a wonder - you need to wear safety glasses which they loan you -- I got to see an old pal, Steve Raile from Staten Island Tech who retired this past June but can't stay away.

The varsity Sport for the MindTM, FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology for high school students between the age of 14-18.

Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.  It’s as close to "real-world engineering" as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. The FRC Robot is limited to
 28" x 42" x 78" in size and a maximum weight of 120 lbs
The FRC Challenge this year is called Recycle Rush.

There is room in the stands for you to watch these 6 robots - 3 vs 3 go at it - and these kids drive the robots - not autonomous mode except for the beginning.

And there is even more. The lower level - and cheaper - middle and high school tournament - FTC - has already taken place but there is a demo field set up just outside our pit area -- their tasks are described:
FTC is designed for students in grades 7-12 to compete head to head, using a sports model.

The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles.
The FTC Robot is limited to 18" x 18" x 18" in size, and the competition field is 12' x 12'.
This year's FTC Challenge is called Cascade Effect

Well, that's it for a busy day. If you stop by and see me sleeping on the table, give me a nudge.

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