So far, 46 teams have confirmed for Riverbank on Jan. 26, as per our request in update #20, posted at http://normsrobotics.blogspot
If you have not done so, send an email to Norm, firstname.lastname@example.org confirming. List the names of the coach (es) and include the number of team members and the number of adults and other children attending from your school.
The deadline has passed to change the information in the program guide as to team names and coaches.
Recent articles posted on the blog:
Pack-A-Watt to go to City-Wide Tournament
Organizing Your LEGOs
This bulletin will also posted on the blog.
The Team Information Form that must be handed in upon registering which is being attached as a pdf (see details below), is posted at Google docs: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id
From Randy Schaeffer, Co-director, NYCFIRST
Jan. 13, 2008
Hello NYC FIRST LEGO League Teachers Coaches --
The 2008 New York City FIRST LEGO League Tournaments are almost here!
You are all terrific to devote the time and energy to make it possible for your kids to participate in the FIRST celebration of young people working smart in science and technology! Thank you so very much for all your courage and hard work.
This is a long e-mail with a lot of information to help you prepare for your participation at the 2008 New York City FIRST LEGO League Tournaments. Please be patient and read it though to the end. There may be additional bulletins coming your way in the days ahead. Be sure to check your e-mail regularly.
Please contact us if you have any questions or we can help in any way: Norm Scott at email@example.com. Or call 917-992-3734.
NOTE: We are short of volunteers, in particular judges. If teams can find one interested parent or teacher each that would be of great help. Contact Elizabeth Almonte: LIZBETH311@aol.com
*** *** *** *** *** ***
TEAM INFORMATION FORM:
Please download, print, and complete the attached-pdf "Team Information Form", bring it with you to the tournament, and hand it in at the registration table. Having it complete when you arrive will speed you and your team to your pit table and avoid unnecessarily long waits in line. If you have trouble downloading let us know and we will send you the form inserted in an email.
The form asks for information we will use in introducing your team to the public, assigning your team a pit table, scheduling your team's research and technical presentations, and scheduling your matches at the game tables.
If you have multiple teams, PLEASE COMPLETE ONE FORM PER TEAM participating in the tournament.
The form asks for your TEAM NUMBER -- that's the 3 or 4-digit number you were assigned upon your FLL on-line registration. IF YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR TEAM NUMBER, check the list at the bottom of this e-mail.
Please list the names of team members attending!
Riverbank State Park
679 Riverside Dr. (at 145th Street)
New York, NY 10031
The entrance to the park is on Riverside Drive at West 145th Street in Manhattan. Go down near the end of this e-mail for travel directions and VERY important instructions about PARKING.
For directions, go to: http://nysparks.state.ny.us
If the weather causes Riverbank State Park to close, we will cancel the tournaments. You may call 718-260-3383, 973-596-3234, or 973-596-3572 for a recorded message regarding our status.
8:00am - 9:00am Registration, Robot Inspection
8:15: Research and Technical Presentations begin
9:30am - 10:00am Opening Ceremonies
10:00am - 11:00am Competition Round I *
11:00pm – 12:00pm Competition Round II *
1:00pm - 2:00pm Competition Round III *
2:30pm - 3:00pm Award Ceremony
8-9am, 10:00am - 2:00pm - Research Presentations (see below)
8-9am, 10:00am – 2:00pm – Technical Presentation (see below)
* These times are approximate. Depending on how quickly we progress through the matches, there may be a 4th round. Announcements will be made throughout the day to keep you informed.
(As noted in previous Updates, there is a better chance for this to occur on Sunday due to fewer teams. There is still time to switch from Saturday to Sunday.)
If you are arranging for pick-up at the end of the day, our experience has been that the event should be completed no later than the 3:30-4pm range.
BE SURE TO ARRIVE EARLY. Teams that do not complete Registration and Robot Inspection before 9:30am may not be permitted to compete. We strongly recommend that you arrive NO LATER THAN 8:30am. Parking, registration, and getting your team set and ready to go are all going to take time -- so give yourself enough time. Doors will be open at 8:00am.
At approximately 9:00, there will be a coach's meeting where details of the competition day will be discussed and rule questions can be asked of the head referees. Please make sure that one coach from your team or adult representative is present at the meeting to ensure that your team receives the latest information about how the day will run.
MATCH AND JUDGING SCHEDULES
Every effort will be made to avoid having matches scheduled for your team at the same time as your team's research and/or technical presentation. There will be times however when these schedules overlap. In such an event, make sure that your team attends the research and/or technical presentation and skips the match for which they are scheduled. We will be having make up rounds around lunchtime and before the end of the day to make sure that any team which missed their match has a chance to make it up and therefore have a score on the board for each round (whether it is 3 or 4).
TEAM REPRESENTATIVES AT PIT TABLES
Please ensure that there is at least one team representative at your pit table at all times. This person should be aware of where the team is in case any judges or queuers come to get your team. Queuers will be coming around to get your team for the robot matches, research judging and technical judging throughout the day. It is therefore very important that a representative is at your tables at all times.
USE OF THE ULTRASONIC SENSOR (NXT ROBOTS):
If your team is working with the NXT Ultrasonic Sensor, we remind you about the warning on page 25 of the NXT User Guide: "Note that two or more Ultrasonic Sensors operating in the same room may interfere with each other's readings." Use of this sensor is at the team's own risk, since tournaments cannot control this interference and cannot conduct rematches. If you do use this sensor, LEGO recommends that you mount it as low as possible on the robot, that you do not use it while aimed at the other team, and that you use it for as little time as possible
Be sure to bring extras, and importantly, when changing batteries remove and replace batteries one at a time in as short a time as you can to avoid losing your programs on the RCX. If you are using an NXT robot with the rechargeable battery, make sure that you bring the appropriate charger and spare batteries in case you need to swap out your existing battery.
PLUG-INS FOR COMPUTERS:
There will be nine power stations with electrical outlets for computers in the pit area. We are not able to provide outlets at each team's pit table. Everyone's cooperation in use of the outlets will be very important. Please come with well-charged computers and know how to put your computer on stand-by mode.
We have been informed that some teams have occupied these areas for long periods of time. If you have trouble getting access to these areas inform our representatives at the Volunteer Sign-in/Team Info table across the way from Registration sign-in and they will send someone over.
There will be practice tables set up. These tend to get crowded. Though you do not have to bring your field set-up kit and mat, some teams find some space to set up on the floor to avoid the crowds at the practice tables. People involved in FLL are very accommodating so feel free to ask someone to share their mat.
GAME TABLE LIGHTING:
The lighting in the Riverbank Park gym is bright and uniform throughout. The pit, the practice tables, and the game tables are all going to be in the same gym subject to the same high-level, uniform illumination. Therefore, we will not be providing fluorescent lighting over the game tables. If your team's robot is using the light sensor, you will need to recalibrate to the ambient lighting at the practice tables upon your arrival.
LUNCH AND SNACKS:
The park snack bar will be open. It is small, the selection is limited and the lines were VERY long last year. The park has also invited outside street food vendors to be on site. However, cold/bad weather will cut down on their participation. There are a number of eating places a few blocks walk away on Broadway. Teams may bring their lunches and refreshments and eat in the stands or at their team pit tables.
PLEASE urge your team to dispose of trash in the containers that are to be available throughout the gym.
We will have a list of local eateries available for you.
Teams that indicate that they are making a research presentation on their "Team Information Form" handed in upon registration will be scheduled for a research presentation. The presentations will be made in the Cultural Education Hall, adjoining the gymnasium. Teams will have 5 minutes to make their presentations to the judges. Every effort will be made to avoid scheduling a team's presentation at the same time as their robotic match. You might consider, however, having a one set of kids be presenters and another set be robot drivers – just in case. The schedule of matches and presentations will be posted throughout the venue.
Presenters need to be self-sufficient re AV equipment for their presentation-- meaning, teams have to provide any AV equipment they intend to use -- an electrical outlet, however, will be provided.
Those teams wishing to be considered for the ROBOT DESIGN AWARD will be able to present their robot to a panel of judges at presentations during the day.
Teams wishing to be considered for the ROBOT DESIGN AWARD must indicate that they are making a technical presentation on their "Team Information Form" handed in upon registration. The teams will be scheduled for a technical presentation. The presentations will be made in the Cultural Education Hall, adjoining the gymnasium.
A game table will be available so that each team may demonstrate and explain their robot's capacities and how the team arrived at their design. Teams will have 5 minutes to tell the panel of judges about their robots' design and programming as well as demonstrate their robots' operation and answer questions from the judges.
Every effort will be made to avoid scheduling a team's presentation at the same time as their robotic match.
ROBOT PERFORMANCE SCORING:
It is our plan to give each team at least three opportunities to complete their missions. Robot performance awards will be based on the highest score resulting from the teams' matches. Additional matches will be used to break ties for 1st, 2nd or 3rd places. If time permits, we may be able to run a fourth round and base winning Robot Performance scores on the best of four matches instead of only three.
REFEREEING AND SCORING:
FLL is a human endeavor involving dedicated individuals wanting to do the absolute best they can. "Gracious professionalism" is the standard for the day. All scoring questions and disputes are to be resolved by the Head Referee. The Head Referees decisions are final. Team members may ask to review their score sheets before they leave the game table. Video will not be considered for review purposes (this ain't the NFL).
Any team that has received a "Paper Ruling" from FLL in Manchester should bring the ruling to the Head Referee table before the beginning of matches at 10:00am. (Don't worry – if you don't know what this is, you don't have one).
DOWNLOADING PROGRAMS FROM COMPUTERS TO ROBOTS:
We are told that if two teams are close to each other and attempting to down load programs via their infra-links (RCX), its possible for there to be interference which might scramble a program being loaded on the RCX. We therefore suggest that you bring a small cardboard box with which to shield your robot and tower when downloading programs. If you are using the NXT robot, downloading programs via Bluetooth is strictly prohibited in any competition, judging, or pit areas. Please make sure that you disable your robot's Bluetooth feature in order to make sure that your programs do not get erased or overwritten.
AHHHHH - we saved the best for last -- the directions below will get you to the park entrance at Riverside Drive and West 145th Street.
CARS and VANS -- Drive into the park, past the information booth at the 145th St. entrance, over the bridge and to the circle and a look for a Park Ranger giving out parking permits and maps to the lot located on the lower level, below the park. Then follow the map to the parking lot. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CAR UNATTENDED AT THE CIRCLE – IT WILL BE TICKETED. It is a long walk back upstairs from the lot to the gym. You may want to drop off your stuff and kids (WITH AN ADULT) when you get your parking permit from the ranger on the park level. To get to the lot, you'll have to go back out on to the streets, follow the directions carefully - we do mean carefully –they're not that easy to follow. Assuming you find your way to the lot (a little dark humor there), park your car, take the elevator or stairs (six flights - good aerobic workout to start the day) and walk back up to the gym. THIS WILL TAKE SOME TIME - perhaps as much as 10 minutes. Not an ideal arrangement, but you've made it this far, no need to despair now!!.
BUSES - Drive into the park, past the information booth at the 145th St. entrance, over the bridge and to the circle where a Park Ranger will direct you to the bus unload area. Buses will then park on Riverside Dr. or 12th Avenue, space permitting.
DIRECTIONS TO RIVERBANK STATE PARK:
** By bus: From Bronx - Cross-town BX19 to Riverbank.
From Manhattan - M11 Bus directly into the park.
** By subway: Westside IRT #9 (skip service) to 145th Street. Walk one block west.
** By car from the NYS Thruway: Take Major Deegan Expressway South; exit at the 155th Street Bridge, turn right & bear right off the bridge onto 155th Street, continue straight to Broadway, turn left and continue to 145th Street, turn right and continue down the hill one black to the entrance of the park.
** By car from New Jersey: Take George Washington Bridge (lower level) to
Henry Hudson Parkway South, bear left and exit at Riverside Drive, continue South on Riverside Drive to 145th Street, turn right to enter the park.
By car from Long Island: Take Whitestone Bridge to Cross-Bronx Expressway, take Westside Highway exit, bear left to Riverside Drive exit, turn right off the exit and continue straight to Riverside Drive to 145th Street. Turn right into the park.
Have a good day