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?