Hello, everyone. I'm on the road for a few days so postings might be spotty. Earlier in the week, I had emailed Tom requesting some info about how his FLL team is doing... Tom responsed with some great stuff, including some videos. If you are a team coach (or member) and would like to let us know a little about your team, feel free to email me the details (email address on right side of blog screen) - Jim
Hey all, Coach Tom Williamson of FLL team 2137 here with a status report. Our team is anxiously awaiting the official kick-off in September but we've certainly been busy in the mean time. This is my first year as a FLL coach and I've been busy putting together a website (www.bricksforbrains.geekytom.com) for my team. I've also been: trying to drum up some sponsorship (that's going slow), getting binders ready for the team with all the information they need and materials for the research project, trying to get shirts printed (cafepress stonewalled me with legal hassles), trying to get tracksuits for the team and keeping the blog up to date. Not to mention getting to know LEGO Mindstorms NXT.
I decided to go with the retail version of NXT for a few reasons. The main one was the difference in included LEGO elements. I definitely wanted the hassenpins. They're just way too useful. The other differences weren't anything I don't already have in my boxes and boxes of LEGO Technic. I also read that the rechargeable battery might have been a little less powerful than regular alkalines. Not to mention that you need two to really be competition ready. Always have one charged and ready to go. I think we'll be fine with loads of AA's from Costco. I also have to admit that there was a certain immediate satisfaction with racing down to Toys R Us as soon as the kits came out :-)
The kids have been busy too. We had an unofficial kickoff build party to celebrate the arrival of our challenge kit. We built all the models over a weekend and they're waiting patiently on the dining room table for a table to live on. Dane's father Eric has agreed to build the table (whew, something I don't have to do!) and should be starting on that this week. Austin has been learning NXT with me. We're playing with the RoboArm T-56 these days, it's a blast. Last weekend all the kids personally signed our letters seeking sponsorship and Austin and I drove all over Lompoc delivering them to local businesses. No responses yet, but we're hopeful. They also signed a thank you letter to our only sponsor so far, Larry Perry of Double Density Software.
As far as this year's challenge, the kids are very excited to see what we'll have to do. Some of the models are easy to figure out, some are not. The models are excellent though, and they were fun to put together. My personal favorite is the self assembling nano-tube. You trip one end and it sequentially trips all the levers.We were all impressed with the mat, and spent a good while analyzing how it was going to be laid out. The plan at this point is to keep the table in my garage. Hopefully we can rearrange things enough to all be comfortable out there.We plan to meet twice a week, for 1 to 1.5 hours on Wednesdays, and 2 hours on Sunday afternoons. Once we get really going we'll adjust our meeting times to suit the schedules of all and make sure we spend enough time together. We still plan to have 6 kids on the team. Next week the kids will all have been in school for a couple weeks and we can start recruiting. I don't think we'll have any trouble filling the spots.
That's about all the news that's fit to print. I'll check in again in Sept to let you all know how things are going. You can also watch our progress on the website. In the mean time...Play Well!Tom Williamsoncoach - FLL team Bricks For Brains
Tom also included links to some videos of the different FLL challenges...
UPDATE: The videos are no longer available... bandwidth limits were exceeded so, for now, the videos are offline. - Jim