Calgary Team

Here's a photo from the team from Calgary, Alberta (Canada). They were practicing over in a corner, getting ready for their competition run.


Thanks, Jim for taking our picture.

In it, there is one grade 7, one grade 8 and four grade 9 students. All but one were new team members this year. The four grade 9 students (three guys and one girl) have been friends for a long time.

If you happen to go to the World Festival next year, here is some inside information.

First, the light in the Georgia Dome, where the competition is held, is 3 times as bright as the Pits, where you meet and practise. If you are using light sensors without a self-calibration program, your robot will not be able to see the black lines you use for reference points and you will have to manually recalibrate before the sensors will work.

Second, if you use bumpers around your NXT robot, you may find that your robot may get stuck on some rough points on the walls or places where tape is covering embedded nuts that attach vertical 2x4s to the fence that surrounds the mat.

Third, you will likely be better off to bring your own mat and field pieces to practise on like we did in the picture. The practise tables are very busy and are often not level. As a result, if you use them, you may be tuning your robot for the practise tables rather than the competition tables.

On a different tack, our team began the season as rookies, except for one person. Our initial team goal was to learn as much as about bulding, programming and analyzing our NXT robot as we could, as fast as we could, while having fun.

We more than achieved that goal.

At the end of the World Festival, our highest score was 388 out of 400, so we were 23 out of 94 teams. Excellent!

We had two call-backs for possible awards and won a Third Place for Programming a line-following routine that allowed us to position our robot exactly to accomplish the Individual Atom Manipulation and the Molecular Motor.

We worked in an Alliance with teams from New York (Masterminds), United Kingdom (TechnoBots) and Massachusetts (Cole Clippers), who became our friends. We were able to watch the best FIRST teams in the world compete. This was especially great for our four grade nines, who will be joining a FIRST team in Calgary next year.

We worked hard and had a lot of fun!!

Thanks to FIRST LEGO League for giving us this opportunity to spend time with like-minded LEGO geeks from around the world. It's etched in our minds forever!!

Come visit us online. You can even see us do a 400 run that was taped before Atlanta! Our website is at


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