Wednesday, October 18, 2006

NL Lego Robotics Teams Meeting

These photos were taken during the NL Lego Robotics Teams meeting that took place on October 14, 2006. The meeting was held at Frank Roberts Junior High and teams spent the afternoon working on Challenge 2006: Nano Quest.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Latest FLL email

Greetings Teams:

A few updates, notes, and reminders for you today!

Nanooze - Special Nano Quest Edition

The folks at Nanooze, a science magazine about nanotechnology for kids, have put together a special Nano Quest edition to tell you a bit more about the science behind some of the missions. These articles were written specifically for FLL teams so may be a great help in understanding the missions and the tiny world of nanotechnology. Go to the Nanooze website to read all about the missions.

Ask a Nanoscientist!

New - and available online now. The Museum of Science, Boston and the Materials Research Society are providing a great opportunity to assist with the tough questions that FLL Teams may have as they are researching nanoscience and technology for the Nano Quest Challenge. Go to the Ask A Nanoscientist Website to post your question. Once teams have had a chance to formulate questions, the questions and answers will be posted to the "Ask a Nanoscientist Website" - including yours! You may ask as many questions as you want, just check first to see if someone else has already asked it to save yourselves some

Rookie Teams

Participating in an FLL tournament is the best way for your team to learn! Even if your team doesn't complete as much as it wants to this season, take part in a competition anyway. Kids learn from seeing other teams' robots and projects, and they usually leave an event with great ideas for next year. You may even discover that the team accomplished more than they thought, and they always have fun at an event. And be sure to introduce yourself to other teams at the event; veteran teams love to mentor new teams and show them the ropes. That's what FLL is all about!

Challenge Q&A Available

Remember to check the Challenge Q&A often for clarifications, updates, and official rulings. Subscribe today!

Go Teams!

Friday, October 13, 2006

NXT CD and Training Online

I did an online Lego robotics course a couple of years ago through Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Academy ( Through the course I learned about the building and programming (using Robolab software) of Lego robots using the RCX-based Mindstorms for Schools kit.

With the introduction of the new NXT-based robotics kits this year, I have been looking into doing a similar course. The Robotics Academy is selling an NXT robotics curriculum (two-cd set) entitled, Robotics Engineering: Introduction to Mobile Robotics, Vol. 1 ( for $225.00 (US). With the purchase of the cd set you get an online teacher training course free (8 weeks).

I am considering this option so I thought I would pass along the information to anyone out there that may also be interested. The price is steep, but I learned a lot on the last course and I used the cd that I purchased the last time to teach my students.

BTW, they are still offering the RCX-based online training (8 weeks but no cd) for $55.00 (US).


NL Robotics Update

A few Issues and Events requiring your consideration:


October 14

Thomas Sheppard is hosting a working meeting for teachers and students at Frank Roberts JHS, Foxtrap Access Road, this coming weekend. It's a terrific opportunity for students to collaborate and learn a great deal about the design of mechanical and the programming aspects of the FLL competition. Teams willbring their own lego units, some will bring field set-ups, all will bring their own laptops for programming. Don't forget extension cords and power bars.

Other dates may follow.


We have had discussions about the dates of the Intermediate School robotics competitions.

November 25

We know that the Skills Canada Intermediate Skills Challenge (ISC-2006) will be held at Mt. Pearl Intermediate on Saturday, November 25th. There will be a robotics element to that competition, which will involve JUST the robot performance on this year's "Nano Quest" Challenge.

December 2

We are examining the dates and location for the full-fledge First Lego League qualifying competition. At the moment, we're pretty sure that the date will be Saturday, December 2, (the weekend after the ISC). We are investigating two sites.....Mt. Pearl Intermediate and St. Francis School , which have graciously offered to be our host venue. Both appear to be quite desireable, albeit for different reasons.

Pre-registration will be required.


We have secured permission to use the graphic art produced by Hi-Tech Kids, at a modest cost, and of course, we have access to the FLL Lego and Nano logos for the preparation of team T-shirts. You will be able to select one of an array of colours with these logos on the shirt, as well as your school name and possibly logo as well. My philosophy about these items is that they're excellent promotion for the school and the kids like to wear them. They should be good quality 50/50 shirts.

I'm making a guess at about $15-17 / shirt, given the artwork and the screen printing involved. Given that price, we need to know how many teams will order it as we will pre-order these units, on a pre-paid basis. It's something we need to get rolling now.


There will be a PD opportunity in FLL Robotics during the Avalon East Region close-out, and possibly also in the Avalon West Region PD close-out. Search your PD calendar for this opportunity.


We'll soon settle on a registration fee for the provncial competition, which will be a little higher than last year, but not enormous, when shared among the team. Pre-competition registration with a reasonable deadline will be a fact of life, as we have to plan on the numbers arriving.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Next Meeting

Hi Teams,

I will be hosting the next meeting for Lego Robotics teams. This will be an opportunity for you to bring along some team members and work on Nano Quest. Here is the info:

Location: Frank Roberts Junior High (Foxtrap Access Road, CBS)
Date: Saturday, Oct. 14, 2006
Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm

We will be in the gym and we will have two mats setup to work on. If you want your students to work on the mat you will need to bring the following items:

- your computer with the programming software
- your robot and robotics kit
- extension cords

I would like to keep the numbers down due to supervision concerns so I ask that a maximum of 10 students per team be allowed. Please keep in mind that students will not be allowed outside the gym area and that you will be responsible for your students.

I am requiring a confirmation if you plan to attend and please include how many students you will be bringing. The reason is that I need to setup the gym and this can be a lot of work if the numbers are large. Deadline for confirming your attendance is Wednesday, Oct. 3rd. If you do not email me I will assume you are not coming.

I would like you to treat this as an opportunity for students to get together and learn from each other so please come with a spirit of co-operation. Also come prepared with questions and issues you wish to discuss.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

NXT links

I was into the forum on the FLL site and noticed a few links about the NXT kit so I added them to the links menu on the right.