Greetings FLL Community,
For most teams it’s the offseason, but for us at South Carolina FIRST LEGO League & Robotics Education we’re hard at work as we prepare for the upcoming Animal Allies season. We’ve been working to set the South Carolina event schedule and to come up with new coaching support material. Stay tuned as we roll out new resources for the next exciting FIRST LEGO League season.
Before we get to the announcements we would like to thank all the teams that joined us last month at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia.
We had a great time learning about various animals and how they interaction with humans. Special thanks needs to go out to the SC FLL Volunteer Coordinator, Brandy Incorvia, for organizing the event.
As we continue looking forward and prepare for the next FIRST LEGO League season we have a few important announcements. We’re now accepting nominations for Team Hardship Grants. Also, with more exposure comes more interest in participating in our great program. Below we share information on how to make connections between teams and kids looking for teams. Lastly, don’t forget that just because we’re in the offseason it doesn’t mean our robots need to collect dust. This month’s Offseason Robot Workout challenges teams to gently interact with mission models.
As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns please feel free to drop us a line at FLL@scrobotics.org.
As you register for the new season there are a few things to keep in mind:
South Carolina FIRST LEGO League & Robotics Education is now accepting nominations for Team Hardship Grants. Applications will be accepted until noon on Wednesday, July 27.
Team Hardship Grants are designed to aid teams that would otherwise not be able to participate in FIRST LEGO League without some assistance. Grants cover two of the three major expenses associated with participation in the program: registration, challenge set, and an EV3 Mindstorms robotics kit. As part of the application process teams are required to identify which two of these three items they would like support with.
Up to four teams will be nominated to FIRST for hardship support. The final approval for support will come from FIRST. If your team registers and pays the registration fee or purchases product, we are not able to provide funding through the Team Hardship Grant program.
To apply for a Team Hardship grant please fill out the online application.
As the South Carolina partner for the FIRST LEGO League, our primary roles include scheduling and running FLL events in the state along with supporting our coaches for a successful season. We do not have the necessary resources for putting people in touch with existing teams looking for new members.
However, FIRST provides two services for finding a FIRST LEGO League team in your area. The first method is to head over to firstinspires.org and check out theirEvents and Teams in My Area search engine. You can search by FIRST programs within a specified radius from your zip code. While the results are limited, it does not provide contact information, the results do provide a stepping stone to finding out if your child’s school or organization already has a team.
FIRST also provides a service called TeamUp which is designed to connect likeminded individuals within the FIRST programs. TeamUp is a community-driven system for the US and Canada that allows users to connect with one another to form teams. It’s a great resource for finding teams looking for members or for teams to advertise that they’re looking for new recruits. You can access TeamUp here.
The Animal Allies season is quickly approaching. Mark your calendars with these special dates:
In South Carolina we’ve already set a few dates of our own. We have challenge game clinics set for
Official qualifying events are scheduled for
Both of our state championships are now scheduled,
Stay tune as we add more challenge game clinics and qualifiers to the calendar.
Please keep in mind that we are working on having all qualifying events in the books before the holiday break.
Just because we don’t know the specifics for the Animal Allies season it doesn’t mean we can’t train our robots. This month’s Offseason Robot Workout challenges teams to train their robots to gently approach a mission model.
Thinking back on the Trash Trek season, we saw a lot of teams attempt the composting mission. This wasn’t too surprising because teams received points simply for pushing a button. The problem came when the robot smashed into the button way too hard, causing the composter to jam. Is there a better approach (all pun intended) to this and similar missions?
The answer is yes, using the ultrasonic sensor and data wires. For this month’s Offseason Robot Workout teams are challenged with figuring out how to use the output from a ultrasonic sensor to adjust the speed at which the robot is traveling. More specifically, the challenge is to make the robot slow down in correspondence with its distance from a mission model. For a more challenging add on, figure out how to make the robot come to a stop once it’s a specified distance from the mission model.
In completing this challenge teams will learn how to use a sensor’s output as continual input information for their motors. More importantly, teams will develop a deeper understanding of how all robots, not just EV3 Mindstorms robots, interact with their environments by using sensory data to change their actions.