Tuesday, February 19, 2008

FIRST LEGO League State Competition

If you love LEGOs then you would have wanted to be where I was on Sunday. The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) State Competition was held at Florida Institute of Technology. FLL is a competition for teams of up to 10 students ages 9-14 years old. The competition consists of table matches (where their lego robot runs) and judging on the design and construction of the robot and software as well as how effective they operate as a team. In addition, they are required to conduct research on a topic related to the theme designated for the year and are judged on a presentation of their research. They receive a new "challenge" each year consisting of a set of missions to be accomplished on a 4' x 8' table with a mat a field set up to simulate some scenario.

The robot match is 2 1/2 minutes long. Each team runs their robot three times. Robots are constructed from LEGO Robotics kits and are programmed using either the LEGO Mindstorms software or Robolab software which is based on Labview. Both software programs are graphic and have fairly simple constructs. The teams bring their robot and either a printout of their programs or a laptop for viewing the programs to the judging area. Hardware judges have the teams demonstrate how their robot accomplishes the mission objectives and talk with the team members about how their robot is designed, why they made specific design decisions, etc. Software judges have the teams walk through their software and have them talk about the design and how effective their software is.

Well, I was a software judge for the robots and was extremely impressed how these young students were proficient and understood programming. They were accurately able to answer the questions I asked them related to the program they created. Each team had a team name such as the Hammerheads, Storm Cats, RoboGeeks, Legooners, and Lego Monkeys. Clothing or costumes related to their team name were also a hit as they showed off their enthusiasm for this fun competition.


Meg said...

What fun! I hope there were more girls than the one pictured, though!

Kevin said...

That looks like it was a lot of fun! I wish they had had those kinds of LEGOs when I was a kid.

Anonymous said...

Lego League rox my sox

Anonymous said...

There were more girls there, I guarantee it! There were even teams that were all girls. I was there.