Starting in March, Stanton Academy will be hosting a FIRST Lego League trial team!
What is FIRST LEGO League (FLL)? New to FIRST? Here are the basics: a team of no more than 10 children ages 9-13 work together to build a robot using Lego EV3 Mindstorms to complete "missions" in the robot game. The team also has a real-world problem that they are required to research and present a detailed solution for.
This spring, with the FLL trial that we are running, we will be focusing on building and programming a robot to complete "missions" in the robot game only. This will be a good introduction to FLL for the kids and give them an idea of whether they would like to be a part of a team during a regular competitive (or non-competitive) season in the future.
If you would like to see an FLL robot in action as it completes missions, click here. For an overview of the missions in this year's challenge, "Into Orbit", click here. Note: It's rare for teams to successfully complete many "missions" in their first season together. The video linked above is awesome and inspiring, but not realistic for goal-setting with a starter team. Thankfully, in an FLL regular season, it's not only the team's score in the robot game that counts towards a team's success. :-)
Kids who are interested in joining this team should know that we plan to have a lot of fun, but that being on a robotics team means work, too. It means researching what other successful robots are doing (thanks YouTube!), learning to program the robot, and applying design thinking to the robot (hint: It's probably going to NOT work a few times before it does).
It also means understanding that we will all be working together AS A TEAM - and an attitude of valuing the strengths and skills of others is an absolute must. Lastly, being on this team requires commitment. Team members are expected to be at every team meeting and to give their best effort each time.
Parents, if your child(ren) are interested in participating in this trial team, you should know that it isn't a programming class or a robot-building class. It's a problem-based program with a mentor to assist children in finding resources (human, computer, book, or other) and help them to work together to achieve their goals. There will be lessons, but the team runs more like a managed project than a class. That's an important distinction as you consider your child's interest in programming, engineering, and robotics, their prior knowledge of one or more of those, and their desire to participate on a team.
Still interested? Great! It's important for everyone to have a good understanding of what we'll be doing and, if that's for your child, fantastic!!
The team meetings will begin on Wednesday, March 20, from 6:00 - 7:30 (or 8) each week. I am interested in committing to the trial team for 8 weeks to start, with a total of 12 weeks if the team is committed and wishes to move forward past 8 weeks.
The cost to participate on the team has been set at $144 with a maximum of 6 members. This cost is for materials only. Lead mentor Beth is volunteering her time as a mentor - that's a foundational principle of FIRST programs. More support is always welcome, so if you or someone you know would like to volunteer their time with the team, please let me know.
After talking this over with your child, please connect with us to let us know if they would like to participate in the trial team. We are looking forward to mentoring this FLL team and having a great experience with them!