Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lego Robotics

This is the second year Capt. N has participated in First Lego League. I really can't say enough about it. The kids learn so incredibly much. It's more than just playing with Lego bricks. As a matter of fact, actual Lego building is very little of what they do. This is real life math, science & teamwork - all important skills for most any career they will eventually strive towards.

Of course, getting the challenge mat & setting it up is one of the most exciting days. They have to build a robot, then program it to perform various missions with the goal of earning as many points as possible.

Lego technic pieces to build their robot.

Through lots of trial & error, the kids come up with a robot design that will work for their missions.

On Capt. N's team they each choose a mission they want to focus on. Then they work on programming the nxt brick to complete the mission. Actual engineering for kids ages 9-14.

They have to figure out ways to get their robot to turn at the correct angle or go a certain distance.

That's just the Robot Game portion of the challenge. They also have to work on a Project & Core Values.


Each year there is a theme & the kids have to come up with a real life solution to a problem within the theme. Lots of brainstorming goes on to figure out their project.

The item they came up with this year was a debris shield. They had to figure out the material it would be made from, why they chose that material & how it would be used.

A mechanical engineer talked to the team about strength vs. toughness. A material can be strong but to stand up to impact it must be tough.

To test toughness they dropped various items like bricks, stones & wood.

They decided their debris shield would also be fire resistant. They built this box to show how that part of the debris shield would work.

The chocolate lego guy unprotected from the heat gun melted. The guy behind the shield did not.


They also have to show that they have been working on good teamwork skills.

They have to put together a tri-fold board showcasing the core values.


Practicing their presentation, which they also have to put together themselves, & showing their ideas to the Knights of Pythias.

The fire department came in and watched the team at work. They also talked to the kids about fire resistant materials.


The kids work for months for the one tournament day. The tournament is a day long event consisting of their Project presentation, Core Values presentation & the Robot game. It's a fun day watching the kids at their best. They're nervous & excited & they power through all the emotions to perform well.

Robot Game

Again, I can't say enough about First Lego League. The kids learn so much & are proud of all they've accomplished. I highly recommend it.

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