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Lego FIRST competition

Well, today I went along with Caitlin's school robotics club to see them participate in qualifying rounds in order to advance to the New York City city-wide champs. Woot, they made it enough in the rankings to advance and fun was had by all. It was my first time at one of these things and it was pretty well organized considering the number of teams shuttling back and forth between rooms to do the robotics challenges/missions and presentations to judges. Kids use Lego Mindstorm NXT robot kits and build/program them to accomplish a list of tasks to be performed in the "pit". Of course, everything can go wrong from your batteries not being charged, pieces falling apart, programs not working, forgetting the laptop charger, and worrying about the school bus making it home before the snow storm. Fourth graders did research projects and presentations on how robotics impacted environmental issues. Fourth and fifth grader teams did the robot challenges and presented their robots to the judges. The FIRST program is really to have fun while using technology, learn something, and to develop teamwork and good sportsmanship. One of our teachers even wrote up a school cheer and song just for Robotics. The second pic is of another school who happened to have a live team mascot(where else can you wear a propeller beanie and be proud?). The amount of geek-strogen present was incredible. This happened to be Tetranitrate's stomping grounds but I didn't find any evidence of charred walls. I might just have to make Robohoodies for all the kids when they compete again in March. Anyone else out there doing Lego FIRST robotic league?

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FIRST...... dont they do stuff like VexRobotics competitions?
caitlinsdad (author)  wolf555hound8 years ago
I looked up VexRobotics. It seems they are a "competitor" manufacturer of similar stuff to the LEGOs Mindstorm NXT products. They even have a similar type of competition setup. Vex is probably a startup trying to get in on the lucrative "business" of school robotics and competition. It is a "business". It is not cheap to get started. It is like trying to get to race in the Kentucky Derby or something. A school has to invest in the robot kits, get a new contest kit every year, and the pay the team entrance fees for all the competitions, get transportation and lunch, team shirts... You definitely need the support and backing of volunteer teachers/coaches, staff and parents.
I was jsut saying that Vex has a competition i tihnk by FIRST, and i garuntee my school would never ever go along with this, way to expensive. I do, however, have a kit I bought with my own money when I was like 9. The Radioshack guy was really surprised when he found out it was for me. lol.
caitlinsdad (author)  wolf555hound8 years ago
I really didn't know who Vex were before you mentioned it. You probably need to have more than a few bake sales before the school can get their hands on a kit.
Doctor What8 years ago
I am jealous of your daughter.
If only my school had a robotics club.
caitlinsdad (author)  Doctor What8 years ago
Do they have club hours scheduled? It really depends on having some dedicated teacher that will be the club advisor or coach to put things together. Maybe you could convince someone who could have meetings during lunch hour and see how it goes.
Our school has a large club system. Every other wednesday, during second period, everyone goes to the club of their choice. I chose anime club this year, and last year I was in calculator programming club. It can be fun. But the clubs aren't nearly as diverse as what they sound. All of the teachers have a club that they mentor, and the nearest thing to a robotics club is the technology club. I attended technology club once. My eyes burned from the lack of technology. I've tried to start up a club (or two). I tried to make a club about Dungeons and Dragons, and a club about Videogame Programming. Both failed miserably. They get lost in the system, and teachers who don't have a club refuse to take on a club because they either do not understand the point of them, or they feel they are a waste of time.
caitlinsdad (author)  Doctor What8 years ago
That's the bureacracy of the school system. You need to prepare your case and plead it up to the highest authority until you get what you want.
The school bureacracy wasn't very complicated at all. You made a suggestion or wrote a letter to "Lacy" the teacher in charge, and he tells you that it is a bad idea and to go play somewhere else.
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