Friday, March 13, 2009

From Sadness to Gladness

Middle Creek Community Center is Offering FLL Classes again and they are almost Sold Out - Sign Up Now and tell Tom that the Microbots sent you!

Introduction to FIRST LEGO League (age 8-14)

FLL is an international competition held every year to get students excited about learning Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. In this course students will have the opportunity to try out the previous year’s robot challenge and project. They’ll learn teamwork, problem solving, programming, and a variety of information about our climate. This class will meet for a fraction of the time required during a normal season to give the students a taste of the competition without the full commitment.

Location: Middle Creek Community Center

Instructor: Tom Settle

Fees: $60(R) $78(N) (6 classes)

Age 8-11

39557 Sat Apr 4-May 16 10 a.m.-noon

(no class Apr 11)

Age 12-14

39558 Sat Apr 4-May 16 10 a.m.-noon

(no class Apr 11)

Coach Miller To Present at 2009 FIRST Robotics Conference

We will likely have all of the Microbots at the World Congress in Atlanta (even if we do not get an invitation). We had 2/3rds of them there last year!

Make plans to be in Atlanta for Wednesday, April 15th through the weekend. Hope to see you there!

Look for us at the conference, the FLL championship (hanging out with Joe Meno), or the FIRST Championship (with Team Awkward Turtle, our FIRST buddies - go Turtles - win the Richmond Regional!). We'll be wearing the orange Microbots T-shirts or maybe even a FIRST shirt!

From the 2009 FIRST Robotics Conference

The Pragmatic Use of Variables in FLL

Randy Miller

One of the rubric questions for First Lego League asks about the ability of team members to use variables if applicable. In our rookie year, we did not use any variables and could not see a need for them. However, as we progressed, we asked ourselves, “What can a variable be pragmatically used for in NXT/G and FLL?”This year’s challenge had an obstacle perfectly suited for variables, Find Agreement. We initially solved this challenge using variables but found a quicker, more efficient way to solve the challenge using an attachment. Even so, we found some interesting ways to use variables to solve common FLL problems as well as some limitations to the use of variables in NXT/G. This session will explore the inner workings of variables in NXT/G. It will show common ways to solve problems in FLL using these programming constructs. It will also show some things that will not work but look like they should. We end with a set of tips and tricks as we realize that many have had difficulty figuring out how they work.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What to do?

Wow - it has been a fantastic year and we are getting prepared for the National Championship in May. The robot has been totally redesigned and Clark's new invention surpasses all that have gone before. He and Tad continue to design new attachments.


Meanwhile Patrick and Rebekah have started the unenviable task of building new programs. The run sequence has changed and so must the programs. Finally, Zach and Benjamin have examined the troubling task of how to fit it all into 2.5 minutes. Coach Medina has given them three weeks to get it all done.


We continue to debate whether we should begin FIRST next year. The team is really young so it might be too early. However, the team continues to impress me with their building and programming skills. FTC might also be an option. Oh, and then there is First Lego League again. Decisions, decisions...

Monday, March 2, 2009