Time flies when it’s November and the first FLL Qualifying Tournament on the West Coast is just weeks away. Brick Buddies is hosting their Annual Robots At Rushe tournament on Saturday, November 23rd from 9am – 4pm. The event is free and open to the public to come watch. Charles S. Rushe Middle School, Land O Lakes, Florida. Robot Rounds will be held in the school cafeteria. 16 teams will be competing from the following area schools: Rushe Middle; Bayonet Point Middle; Crews Lake Middle, Chasco Middle School, Walker Middle Magnet, Roland Park Elementary, Robles Elementary, and Academy of the Lakes.
You can watch the Robot Competition from 9:00 – 2:00pm.
Florida First LEGO League is very competitive with 48 qualifiers going on across the State, as teams battle to secure a spot at Regionals. Brick Buddies has been trying to track the progress of some of our Workshop Day teams. And we are proud to hear that many have earned Regional Bids already! We’re so proud of them and we’d like to say congratulations and give them a shout out for all their hard work so far this season. Team Ibots from Brandon is burning up the Table this season and grabbed a spot.
Rookie Team, Winthrop Mindstorms, from Valrico earned a Regional spot at the their debut tournament. Pasco County’s Patriot Robots will be their county’s first team to reach the Regional level. We also heard that local team Cyborgs earned a bid as well as another Rookie Team from Fort Myers, Panther Tech! Way to go teams. If your team qualified, we’d love to hear from you.
The reviews and results are in from our inaugural FLL Qualifier in Pasco County this past weekend. STEM is catching on in Pasco! We saw a lot of success in the all of the new Pasco County middle school based teams that participated. We hope the First LEGO League program will expand to include some elementary teams next season as well. Because 4th and 5th graders can be tough competitors. The community team from Brandon’s Tech Playzone proved that with their young group of Techno Whizards who were awarded Tournament Champions. Team IBOTS and Terrapins Reds tied for the high score of the day, both scoring a Table Run of 305 points, a huge score at early tournament! Newcomers from Chasco Middle School, Gigabotz won the coveted FLL Core Values Award. Team IBOTS won for Robot Design. In the Project Category, Patriot Robots, from Bayonet Point MIddle, took 1st Place. Also from Bayonet Point, Patriot Robotics, were recognized with the Rising Star Award. From John Long Middle, Green Flames took home the award for FIRST Spirit, for showcasing great sportsmanship and Gracious Professionalism. Teams that advanced to Regionals were Techno Whizards, Patriot Robots, and Terrapins Red. Congratulations to everyone! We had a blast.
We are watching the growth and progress of Coleman Middle School robotics team, Bioharzardous. This team, which has members that have grown up through the old Dale Mabry Destroyers Elementary School team are emerging as one of the veteran FLL teams on the West Coast. Biohazardous combined some practical problem solving and outreach, devising a ‘cat wagon’ for the senior partner they’ve been working with for this year’s Project. She related she was unable to drive her cats to the vet but still wanted to maintain her independence by walking there, if she could. The team members modified a radio flyer and it looks like these cats will be riding in style thanks in part to some good kids with some great GP, who took time out from their Project to reach out! It’s one thing to memorize the FLL Core Values, it’s another thing to actually incorporate them into your everyday interactions.
It doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out how four kids are dividing up all the programming and building responsibilities of two different robotics competitions. There is no sitting on the sidelines on our team. No mentors doing the work; no dads building the robot; no heading out to somebody’s shop. It’s literally all hands on deck by Brick Buddies team members at practice these days. In order to meet the demands and deadlines of both MoonBots and Ring It Up, the kids split up tasks every Sunday. Two members tackle MoonBots, from building all the Game Elements and LEGO Models, to building and programming the NXT Mindstorm. Then, in a coordination similar to a army tactical order, the 6×6 Game is packed and shipped off to a team member’s home for the week, so work can continue! Right now, two members at a time, hold down the FTC duties, (and you thought we were small when we had three!) Team members had to divide and conquer to first get the field cut and put together. While everyone discussed game strategy and robot design, two members are working to order parts and get a chassis built. While other teams will have some clear advantages over us, time, manpower, access– the kids have become extremely bonded working so closely together. And, also in the middle of this craziness, Brick Buddies is host to the largest Workshop Training Day in Florida on October 27th. Teams will becoming from across the State for team workshops and coaches training. It’s tough right in the middle of the Build Season, but we enjoy giving back and seeing all the teams.
Hey FLL friends. Several coaches have asked where the Robot Game video is posted. If you went on the FIRST website today, there is a FLL informational video posted and then Scott Evan’s video explaining the game is linked halfway down the page. It looks to be a great season. Don’t forget to read the Mission and Game Rules! Here is a link.
We were shocked and delighted yesterday to see Brick Buddies among the Phase One winners of the MoonBots Challenge! We are excited to be among the finalists moving on in the competition. The MoonBots Challenge is an international Robotics Challenge in conjunction with the Google Lunar X Prize. This year, over 145 teams entered the competition. We know we face some stiff competition ahead of us, not to mention the double-duty of competing in both FTC and MoonBots, simultaneously this Fall. We’ve got quite a schedule to work out! So, we’re going to enjoy our day of jubilation and then tomorrow, it’s back to practice. Thanks to all our supporters, our parents, and our new partners, Earthrise Space, Inc. for helping us in this effort!
Last Saturday, we welcomed more than 25 teams to Lomax Elementary for our annual FIRST outreach event, Tune It Up, Tampa!
It was great to see how many people are becoming involved in starting First LEGO League teams in Florida. We had groups from every corner of the State, from Ocala, and Orlando, from way over in Brevard, and all the way from Miami! The Workshop Day helps veteran teams work on specific team details in order to become more competitive, while most of our Rookie teams are just getting basic information on how to get their teams started for the season! Even though we organize the event, it’s a group effort of many veteran FLL Leaders and teams who volunteer their time: Lomax Robopanthers and Coach, Greg Verrill; FTC Coaches, Paul Bresnan & KK Quah; Tournament Director, Rich Berglund; Amanda Peterson with Energy Elites; not to mention all the parents and team members on Team Brick Buddies!
We had great time with all of the teams! And we look forward to another fantastic Workshop Day, 2012. Stay tuned. And remember, register early!
Taking a break from our own FTC Robot, team member Alex Pillai is passing on his love of FIRST robotics to a new crop of kids over at Lomax Elementary, where he used to go to school! Alex, who has benefited from mentors himself, realized what a great help it was, and has made the ongoing commitment to this First LEGO League team for two years! Lomax Robopanthers are an FLL team of 4th and 5th graders. Alex visits practices on Wednesdays to help with the Robot Game and is a great assistant for Coach, Greg Verrill.