Friday, September 19, 2008

A Sad Situation

Some of the Microbots take Tae Kwon Do at the Middle Creek Community Center. As I was picking them up, I noticed that they had "First Lego League (9-11) (12-14)" written on their whiteboard. My feeling upon reading this was one of happiness. Middle Creek was building not just one team but two!

I asked the gentleman at the counter about this and he said, "I am sorry. We had to cancel the class. There just weren’t enough people signed up."

Starting a First Lego League team requires a lot of resources. The most common problems that I have seen with new teams are the need for coach (or coaches) and a place to practice. A first year team will require a lot of education (mostly programming) and that means a lot of time spent with the team for the coach. Many parents are reluctant to sign up for such a time commitment. You also need a place where you can meet. This place must be big enough to set up a 4’x8’ mat with the missions. Middle Creek Community Center seemed to have both.

"Oh no!” I remarked to the gentleman at the desk. "I know lots of folks who are looking for a team. I can send them to you. He took my email and told me that he would pass it on to the person who had organized the classes. I am hoping that he sends me an email because I do get a lot of parents who want to find a team. If you are looking for a team, you might want to call the center and pursue this.

You see, this is how the Microbots got started. I went to Wake Forrest (an hour drive from Raleigh) to attend an organizing session. The fellow who was putting together the team, James T., asked if anyone was from Cary. I said “Yes”. He sent me the email addresses of 13 parents who wanted to be part of a team. I organized a meeting at Colonial Baptist Church to talk about Lego League.

A friend of mine, Kyle B., was one of the emailers. He taught the kids how to program and then we each took seven of the kids and formed the Spacebots and the Microbots. Both teams are still in FLL, three years later. It has been challenging but also intensely rewarding. Let me just say that FLL is an intense experience for young people. But if you have a child that wants to become an engineer, it is the “Little League” of engineering.


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  2. How do I go about finding a team for my son to join? He has an intense love for creating with legos, so I think he would thrive in that environment. We are looking to join a team in Apex/Cary. I realize your team is already together, but do you know where I can find out about new teams that are forming? Thanks!

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  4. Hi Dianne,

    There are classes opening up again at Middle Creek Community Center. Tom Settle is teaching them and he will also be starting FLL teams that operate out of the Community Center. I believe that the first class is in April but call them up and register. Space is going fast. Good luck!

    The Microbots