Off-Season Activities of a Veteran FLL Team

What does a veteran FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team do during “off season” between FIRST competitions?  Why and how do certain teams got so good so fast?  Well, the secret is that the learning never stops; no matter if it is in or off season.

One of these year-round hard working teams is the Landroids from Livingston, NJ.  Formed in August 2007, this neighborhood team is the two-time New Jersey State Champion in 2007 and 2008, received 2nd and 3rd place awards at the FLL World Festival for Robot Design and Robot Performance in 2008, the recipient of 1st place US Champion and the Founders Award at the FLL US Open in 2009, and showcased the only robot that can climbed the Smart Move bridge at the 2010 FLL World Festival.  Noted by some as the most influential FLL team in New Jersey in the last three seasons, team Landroids continues to thrive for excellence in science research, robotics design and community outreach.

While all other FLL teams had packed up their project boards and took apart their robots after the qualifying or State events in December, team Landroids was nominated in the Grand Challenge Stories for their Climate Connection Beach Erosion project in February, volunteered at the NJ State FIRST Tech Challenge tournament and the FLL World Festival in Atlanta, as well as hosted a K-12 robotics exhibition at the Liberty Science Center on President’s Day, a FLL exhibition at Monty Madness in April, and a Jr. FLL/robotics Expo during the Memorial Day weekend at Livingston.

On June 21, 2010, Landroids was selected as the top 20 finalist teams in the international Google sponsored Moonbots challenge.  In 6 short weeks, the team produced a video research essay on YouTube, set up a new blog site, tested out multiple robotics sensors, submitted rendering of a robot design for the lunar missions.  On June 25, 2010, Landroids won the 1st place 8th grade national award in the U.S. Army sponsored eCYBERMISSION science competition with their Smart Move Deer Avoidance project.  The team was awarded with a total of $32,000 EE saving bond for their 6-month long research using tire noise as passive sonar source to detect deer’s acoustic fingerprint to warn the drivers in order to reduce animal-vehicular collisions.

If you ever talk to these consistently award winning teams from around the nation, one thing they all have in common is that the skill set is built on gradually week by week.  While most teams are taking a break during the off season, the top teams continue to sharpen their axes.  Do you remember the big snow storms this February, or the winter and spring breaks when there was no school?  The Landroids would braved the foul weather and gathered during any no-school days to work on their research projects, learn about electronics and sensor testing, LEGO Digital Designer, movie maker, created a new Lunar Landroids website, technical writing or programming in NXT-G, RobotC and LabView.  Each member would select his own focus of interests and the events he wants to participate in during the off-season.  The learning and team effort are year-round, one week at a time.

So don’t wait till September to think about your robot design or the FLL project. Stop wondering why some teams should win all the awards.  Three months of FLL season in the Fall cannot compare with the year-round effort.  Start gathering your teammates to set a new goal and areas of focus.  As the Landroids is graduating from the FIRST LEGO League circuit this September, your team may be the next leader in New Jersey FLL!

For more information about team Landroids, visit the team Facebook.

To start a new FLL team, see Landroids “Related Links“ and Livingston Robotics Club FAQ, schedule and forms.

Filed under: FLL, New Jersey — Tags: , , , , , , , , — pearl @ 4:00 pm on June 29, 2010

Vote for FIRST and Raise Awareness While also Raising Funds

FIRST has an opportunity to receive $200,000 from American Express through Members Project. FIRST is one of 50 non-profits selected to participate.  To vote for FIRST visit click HERE and vote!  People can vote multiple times so get to it.

To read more about this effort and to learn about another opportunity to support FIRST click HERE.

Filed under: FLL, FRC, FTC, JFLL, New Jersey, New York, News, Uncategorized — kris @ 6:04 pm on June 15, 2010

Newton Robotics Team Summer Camp

A 5-days summer morning robotics design and construction camp. Limited to the first 24 campers who sign up. Two campers per robot kit.

Where: Halsted Street School, 59 Halsted Street, Newton, NJ 07860-2119

When: 9:00 AM - noon, Monday, July 19, 2010 - Friday, July 23, 2010

Hosted by: FRC team, Techno Nijas



Cost: $100 per camper for the 5-day camp. Non-refundable! Campers will be provided with drinks and snacks. Lunches are not provided.

Contact: James Hofmann at [email protected] or call (973)903-9774 for registration or more information

Please send a check made out to: HMSNRT to secure a spot.  Mail to 37 Douma Drive, Newton, NJ 07860

Filed under: Event, FLL, New Jersey — Tags: , , , , , — pearl @ 7:00 pm on June 10, 2010

NJ FLL New Coach/Mentor Class

A 3-day class to show parents how to start a new FLL team for their children.

Where: 225 Middlesex Ave. Metuchen, NJ

When: Monday, June 21, 22, 24 2010 (7:30 PM - 8:30 PM)

Hosted by: FTC team Say Watt (a FLL veteren) and FLL team Robot Rangers

Cost: Free, but pre-registration is required.

Contact: Jim Carr at [email protected] (preferred) or call 732-397-1473 (mobile) to register and for full details.

To any parent who wants their kid to get into an FLL team, but can’t find one that is accepting new members, you are encouraged to start your own team.   Say Watt Robotics and the Robot Rangers want to help new teams get started.  You do not need a technical background - you just need to enjoy spending time with kids and watching them learn.   We will be conducting a three-evening seminar on:

- What is FLL Robotics and why get your kid involved

- What does a coach/mentor do?

- How to get started.

- Funding/budget.

- Needed skills.

- Suggested organization and schedule.

- How to organize parents so that you are not doing it all yourself.

- Where to go for technical help when you don’t know what the kids are doing.

- Common mistakes.

- Tips and tricks.

This will be set up as a three day class with slides and sample budgets.  You will also see the challenges from previous years.   We will meet on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, June 21, 22, and 24 from 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM (right after our FLL training class).

This class is intended for prospective and first-year prospective coaches/mentors only, not for kids.  If you have your child with you, we will have some LEGO activities to keep them occupied.

Filed under: Event, FLL, New Jersey — Tags: , , , , , — pearl @ 6:33 pm on June 10, 2010

NJ FTC Pope John HS Outreach Scrimmage (Northern NJ)

The NJ FTC Outreach at Sparta is now open for registration to teams interested in working with potential FTC teams.

Where: Pope John XXIII Regional High School, Sparta NJ
When: Saturday, June 26, 2010
From: 9:00 am – ~3:00 pm

The NJ FTC Outreach is a blend of informational sessions on starting an FTC team and mini-competitions.
In addition to attending the orientation sessions, interested parties can see a demonstration of this year’s FTC Game, drive training robots in a head-to-head competition, then finish the day in a dual-field competition that partners our interested parties with veteran team members using both the Tetrix training robots and full-scale FTC robots.

Specific help topics will be covered in 15-minute splinter sessions such as (subject to change as the date approaches):

Benefits of a Robotics Program
How to gather School Support
Team Formation
How to be Coach/Mentor

For more information or to register for this free event, please contact Vince Frascella @ [email protected]

Where: Sparta, NJ
When: Saturday, June 26, 2010

Filed under: Event, FTC, New Jersey — patricia @ 10:23 am on June 01, 2010
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