Sunday, January 20, 2008


Yesterday, David and his Lego team attended the state FIRST LEGO competition. They participated last month at the local tournament and did so well there that they were invited back this month to the state tournament. The video above is from their 3rd round at the table competition where they earn points by completing mission objectives. (They are the Beaverton PowerBots in the bottom half of the split screen.) They designed and programmed the robot to perform the missions autonomously. This final round was their best of the 3 (I don't know what the score actually was, but things went much better than in the other 2).

The scoring at the table is only 25% of the final score though. The other 75% of the final score is comprised of judging based on teamwork, robot design (technical), and a presentation on the research project. This year's theme was alternative energy sources and the project was to visit a local building, do an energy audit, and make recommendations for more energy savings.

Here's a video from one of the practice rounds where the kids tested out some last minute modifications.

This competition is a really fun way to introduce kids to the world of engineering. They are given a set of problems and some parameters in which to solve those problems. Also, they are not given a whole lot of time to solve the problems. Even the most organized teams who begin meeting early in the year only have a couple months to work out the details of this particular competition. So not only do they learn some engineering principles such as drive trains, chassis design, power transfer, programming, etc. but they get to learn problem solving skills. There are often even problems that come up at the competition where they could only have a few minutes to brain storm and execute the change.

Here's a video from one of the practice sessions for the research project presentation.

They did really well yesterday competing against some of the best teams throughout the state and got 2nd Place in the category of Innovative Design!

Way to go team!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dinner at Red Robins

I'm testing writing to my blog while waiting for the food to get here.

(Edit at home - Apparently I did it wrong so the picture wasn't showing up. I had to post manually. By the way, this picture was taken with a "less than ideal" cell phone camera.)