LES Robotics attend FLL Robotics Competition

FLL Robotics 2017 Update


This is the 2nd year Lyons has had two teams go to the Regional First Lego League competition. 2017 had three teams registered with 5 members on each team. Two of the teams elected to go to the regional competition in Fort Collins, The Hydras and The Brain Drops.

They all put in significant efforts, many not just meeting every week for 1.5 hours since the 2nd week of school, but stepping up to meet 2 times a week for several months, and even moving up to 3 and 4 times a week for 2 hours as the event approached!

This years theme was Hydrodynamics, related to parts of the human water cycle.

The competition consisted of 3 parts:

  1. The Project: Find a solution to a problem within the Human Water Cycle. We met with the town engineer, toured the new Lyons waster water treatment plant, and asked questions. The Hydras focused on a solution to leaks within a house, which would reduce water usage by 12% on average via a clamp on sensor on the water main for the house which would send an email alert if water was flowing continuously for 24 hours. The Brain Drops researched a solution for reservoirs filling up with silt and debris.  The teams needed to share their solution with someone, for example the Hydras met again with the town engineer and explained their problem and their solution. The town engineer even offered to allow us to install our sensor in town hall if we went on to prototype!

During the judging, the teams need to present to the judges. For the Hydras’ this included a skit inspired by Captain Underpants (Plumber man) as well as a poster explaining their problem, research, and solution.

  1. Core Values:  The teams needed to show their ability to work together as a team by completing a challenge together. This year, the teams needed to make the longest possible chain out of paper clips. The catch: Each team member could only use one hand! They were judged not on how long of a chain they made, but rather how well they worked together to accomplish the task. It was very gratifying watching the kids share their ideas and listen to each others as they worked out how best to solve the problem. They had practiced these team work skills many times during our sessions, and it was clear they had grown a lot in knowing how to work as a team since our first meeting!
  1. The robot game: The kids compete on a playing field that was released August 31st. They have been working on completing missions since the middle of Sept, with most of the focused work in the last few weeks, as the project takes up a lot of the early meeting time as well as learning some coding strategies (many of the kids learning this for the first time!) and building their robot from the LEGO EV3 mindstorm kits.

Each mission was worth a set number of points if the precise goal was obtained. For exampling, turning a lever until a water barrel fell, or pushing a button in until a latched dropped. The game consists of 3 scored rounds, with the highest score being used for ranking.

Each team set specific goals at the beginning of the season. The Brain Drops had set a goal of completing 1 mission, and the Hydras wanted to complete 4 missions. Each team achieved their goal! Out of the 44 teams that were there, the Hydras placed 12th with 4 missions accomplished for a score of 95 points. The top 10 teams went on to state competition with a golden ticket, and the score also included the project score, core values score and robot design score. They don’t share how each team faired in that part of the competition relative to each other. Also the age range of teams go from 4th grade through 8th grade, so quite a huge variation!

All the kids worked so hard throughout the season! I know each child gave their very best, and I am super proud at how hard each of them worked. I hope they all choose to continue on as the skills build year after year! I know I as a coach have learned so much from last year, and even more this year!

I am so proud of all the kids!

On the other side, the kids did have a tough time, when they give every last bit that they have, but that effort isn’t recognized by an award or trophy at the competition. I really could use some help to figure out a way to recognize all the kids during our final meeting on Dec. 5th! We will also be organizing the kits on that day, so hopefully at least one parent from each child in the 4th-5th robotics can join us for doing that task. It’s super important to maintain our investment in these robotic kits!