On Saturday, Nov. 16 (2013) a great group of kids, coaches, and mentors gathered at Frontier Middle School’s Tech Shop for an amazing morning of creativity and fun involving robots, FLL, and FTC.  Some came seeking help, some offered help, most did both.  Some were rookies and some had been in FIRST for many years.  Everyone had a good time.

Happy FIRSTers!

Happy FIRSTers!

I’ve been helping run FLL workshops since 2004’s Mission to Mars.  That was back in the South Bronx of NYC and when I moved to Western Washington and joined a very pro-FLL school district, I saw the need to start them again.  We have a lot of rookie teams, especially at the elementary level and they all need help with FLL at some point.  More importantly, everyone gets a chance to share and celebrate their work and their discoveries.  This is in keeping with FLL’s Core Values.  As you can see in the video embedded below, the kids had a really great time showing what they’ve accomplished or what they’re working on.

This next video shows a student who follows her own vision when building a robot.  I don’t think I’ve seen a wheel-less robot attempt an FLL mission before.

Here’s some pics of all the happy little engineers at work:

Middle School - FLL

Liberty Lightning – Middle School FLL

 

Spanaway Middle School - FLL
Spanaway Middle School – FLL
Omega Semicolon - FTC Combined Frontier Middle and Graham Kapowsin High Schools

Omega Semicolon – FTC
Combined Frontier Middle and Graham Kapowsin High Schools

In the back row of this pic, standing on the right is Brandyn Bayes,
a senior at Graham Kapowsin who is the captain of their FRC team, Phi Rho Techs.  He has been involved with FLL, FTC, and FRC for 5 years now and graciously lends out his time to help others as you can see here.

Sentinel Prime – FTC from Spanaway Lake High School

 

Graham Grizzlies - FLL from Graham Elementary
Graham Grizzlies – FLL from Graham Elementary
Elk Plain - FLL Elementary

Elk Plain – FLL Elementary

Hawk Bots from Clover Creek Elementary - FLL

Hawk Bots from Clover Creek Elementary – FLL

Team Machines from Camas Prairie Elementary - FLL

Team Machines from Camas Prairie Elementary – FLL

Dawgbotics from Bethel Middle School - FLL

Dawgbotics from Bethel Middle School – FLL

Missing from these pics are my FLL teams from Frontier Middle School: Robotic Falcons, Ancient Mechanics, and Robo Minions or Something Else.  They were so busy helping me out I never got a chance to snap their pic!  And to round it out we had another FTC coach from Sumner attend, as well as two librarians from Pierce County Library system who are trying to start their own robotics’ program.

For the 4th year in a row, Frontier Middle School (formerly FJH) hosted a workshop for FLL and FTC teams in the district.  Teams from Frontier, Bethel and Spanaway Middle Schools as well as Elk Plain, Graham (and one I can’t recall, sorry!) elementary schools all showed up with their kits and robots and computers and a whole lot of enthusiasm.  Below you can see pictures of the team members working hard on their robots and programming.  And as a highlight to the day, Frontier’s FTC Team, Omega Semicolon, let the younger FLL students drive their robot through a short maze.

photo(2) photo(3) photo(4) photo(5) photo

 

The next FLL workshop for Bethel School District is on Saturday, Nov. 16 at Frontier Middle School from 9-12.  Contact Mr. Chow-Miller for more information:

ichowmille@bethelsd.org

Because it rains in Washington.  Nah, not a good enough reason.  On Sunday. Dec. 2, Pi Rho Techs decided to tailgate before our league competition.  It poured, we didn’t care.  Hastily erected tarps, coach’s car blaring theme music from the Muppet Show, Andrew’s dad cooking,  lots of great food, what more could you ask for?

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This is what it looks like when your district is hosting an FLL competition and they’ve asked your team to help build four full field sets.  I’m so proud of Final Frontier’s teams – both the Crazy Nerds and the Senior Solutions to Technological Problems.

WOW!

WOW!

One of our FLL teams created a youtube page with videos to help people (not just Seniors!) with their ipad, ipod touches and Kindle Fires.

You can check out their videos at www.youtube.com/ffsstp

Here’s a sample of one of their videos:

 

No video yet to play you the songs, but the LEDs are on and we’re styling now!

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8 FLL teams from around Bethel School District, including two new elementary teams who had barely had one meeting yet, all came to our final workshop this season. Pi Rho Techs, our FTC team was there to help out and let teams test drive the robot. There was a lot of sharing, mentoring, helping, laughing, and learning going on and everybody had a great time!

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New teams and new coaches learning together.

Teams mugging it up for the camera.

Teams mugging it up for the camera.

Building a robot.

Building a robot with a great scissor-lift style arm.

Veteran FLLers helping new teams with programming.

Veteran FLLers helping new teams with programming.

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LEGO Digital Designer can make anyone smile.

LEGO Digital Designer can make anyone smile.

Sure, one week left, let's rebuild the robot and switch to Omni-Drive!

Sure, one week left, let’s rebuild the robot and switch to Omni-Drive!

Pi Rho Techs make a great impression on young FLL team members.

Pi Rho Techs make a great impression on young FLL team members.

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