Our family will be heading to Phoenix this afternoon in preparation for the Arizona First Lego League Robotics State Finals.
Last Saturday, we finished 6th at the regionals. That's not too shabby when you consider that there were thirty teams, and the compitition is open to 4th through 8th graders. Our team is made up of 7 kids total, all 4th and 5th graders. Wesley along with another 6th grade girl are mentors to the team.
The event has four areas of competition:
1. The table, where the team attempts to complete a series of tasks given ahead of time using pre-programmed lego robots. Each table event (the score is the best of three attempts) is attempted with a driver and a navigator. Together they load certain props onto the robot which are then placed on the table in precise spots, or the robot goes out and retrieves other pre-positioned props or manipulates them in some way. Each of the three attemps is done with a different set of driver/navigator teams.
Maddie scored 195 as one of the drivers last week, and has again been voted by her
teammates to be a driver tomorrow. She has since improved her score to 200 pts in practice, the highest their team has scored ever. She stays calm under pressure: a real help in this competition when you have 2:30 to complete the tasks and you are docked points for messing up.
2. Oral Presentation. The kids have 5 minutes to wow the judges with their knowledge of the subject matter. This year is all about alternative energy. Extra points are given for visual aids, costumes, enthusiasm, teamwork, etc.
3. Technical. Here the kids are quizzed on the programming and design of their robot. This is done to ensure that the teacher did not build and program the thing.
4. The last area where points are given are tallied all along the way. They are points given for teamwork, sportsmanship, and lots of other intangibles. These points are given based on observations by all the judges throughout the day's competition.
Our team also won a special award and plaque for 'innovative robot design.' The kids came up with a very unconventional way to deliver a prop to the far corner of the board: they programmed the robot to catapult it over there! The judges were pleased.
We'll post results from the competition as soon as we know!
The winner of this event advances to the Nationals in Atlanta. Wish us luck!