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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lego Robotics!!

I know it’s supposed to be all about Christmas this time of year…. but I have to admit I am floundering with that whole holiday this year.  I can’t seem to get my act together….  but my lamenting will have to wait for another day. 
I want to share some photos and memories of our 3rd year at the state competition of Lego Robotics.  I’ve had several people ask what exactly that is… and the closest I can come to describing it is this… 
Basically it is a base robot, and you build it out with Legos.  You design your own robot with attachments, touch sensors, light sensors, color sensors, etc. and then you program the robot to accomplish specific mission assigned to all the teams in the competition.  Basically each team has a little over 8 weeks to design and program the robot to accomplish as many missions as they can.  And it’s HARD!  There is also a presentation/research portion each year based on that year’s Lego Robotics theme.  This year the theme was on Food Safety, and each team had to brainstorm and come up with an area or topic in which there was a current problem with food safety and come up with an innovative solution.  The team has to not only run the robot in several competitive runs, but it presents their research to the judges, and they are interviewed by the judges on robot design, teamwork and core values.  It’s a full day…. but lots of fun too!
So since this year the theme was Food Safety, our kids chose Milk Safety as their topic.  They chose to look at the safety of milk, not necessarily from a standpoint of kid’s allergies or anything, but the safety of the processing of milk.  Apparently many larger milk companies have gone computer automated with their production and with the cooling temperatures.  Our kids chose to look at it from a vulnerability standpoint of hackers trying to break in and waylay the safe storage and processing temperatures of milk.  Pretty cool huh?  Well guess what??  They won first place for their research project!  (Uh-huh!  That’s what I’m talking about….!)
I was so hoping for a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place finish in the overall competition, but we had some technical difficulties in our first two robot runs, and in our actual presentation.  Next year we hope to rock it on the robot competition as well!  Anyway, here are some pictures….
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One hundred origami of milk cartons!  yes, that was my idea…. much to my dread when we actually had to make those little suckers!  Each team typically has a “giveaway” for the other teams at the competition.  We wanted to incorporate the dairy theme into our giveaway, but we couldn’t find anything inexpensive.  Then I found a video on how to make this milk carton origami.  All we needed was paper and a printer… Voila!  Awesome, inexpensive giveaway!

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Our kids designed their own T-Shirts, and then they were hand painted by one of the moms.  She did an amazing job!  I did two of them for my little guys, and they were a bit messy. 
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No one noticed of course, because the “wearers” of the T-shirts were so darn cute!

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The awesome presentation board.  This is included for the judges, as well as a power point presentation that is all “kid made”. (These kids are smart!)

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This young lady (with the yellow hat and balloon) walks around and interviews the teams before their robot competes on the main floor.  The kids all loved her!
Jabber Jaw getting ready to do what he does best….
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 Jabber Jaw giving the team “interview”.  They have a camera crew around too, that takes video of the event.
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 Jabber Jaw is also known as the team’s “happiness officer”.  He definitely gets them all fired up! 
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 Two of our team members getting ready to run the robot.
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 The last run they did SO well!  This is their huddle/cheer before they broke away.
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Totally fun, yet exhausting day!  I’m so proud of our team and how they performed!


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