Friday, May 30, 2008

NYCFIRST Update 1: It's a New Game

NYCFIRST Update 1: It's a New Game

May 30, 2008

A newsletter for the NYCFIRST robotics community in New York City and the surrounding area.


The NYC/NJ FIRST web site is at

Welcome to the new season: Climate Connections

Important Dates:
Registration opened May 1
(MAKE SURE TO TAKE CARE OF THIS ITEM – DO NOT REGISTER WITHOUT ADDING THE FSK.) Schools/orgs with multiple teams do not need to order more than one FSK.

WARNING: Inside word is there may be a shortage of Field Set-Up Kits
Registering and paying before the school year will assure you of having your kit sent to you at the end of August or early September. Only 7500 kits are available. I just tried registering and my team number is already 1720. Already, 30 teams in NYC have registered.

Registration: $200
FSK: $65 – again, you MUST check this box. Schools/orgs with multiple teams do not need to order more than one FSK.
Shipping: varies

You can also order one robotic kit and accessories when you register.

Payment: Check, credit card, or PO (can cause delays.)

You can register and pay later but nothing will be shipped until you do.

For NYC schools, I am not sure of where the contracts stand.

Here is the info from last year:
LEGO contract number for software has been changed to 2Z17701
Vendor number is LEG0 55 please make sure to use the number 0 when typing in LEG0

If you cannot find the info contact LEGO's Bob Woods:

Learn more about FLL here:

NYCFIRST Planning Committee
We held out first meeting this past week and a couple of important decisions were made. I'll get into the details and reasons at another time.

I know I promised we would try to extend the time frame but we will not be able to this year so expect the same rough schedule as last year:

Riverbank citywide tournament: Jan. 31, 2009
Rationale: We preferred a later date but the only other date available was the last weekend of March. As to doing it at the FRC tournament at Javits (March 8), the hall is too small to do a full tournament there, but we will do an exhibition like last year.

Qualifying tournaments will take place in December – as late in the month as possible to give you more time and possibly one or two in early January. Target dates: Weekends of Dec. 13, 20 and Jan 10.

Kickoffs to review the Climate Connections robot performance will take place:
Sept. 13 in the Bronx
Sept. 20 or 27 in Brooklyn at Polytechnic U

Free training will be offered on a few Saturdays in October most likely at Polytechnic or NYU. We are not sure who is doing the training but we may ask some of our experienced coaches to help out.

Election Day training at Aviation HS: free and open
Mike Koumoulos will be handling it and he will allow your robots to vote in the election at a special robotic voting booth. No hanging chads, please.

The robotics PENTATHLON at Aviation HS is this Saturday, May 31
Come and check it out.

Also check out the events at:

Saturday, May 31, 2008
9:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Aviation High School

45-30 36th Street, Long Island City, NY 11101
Between Queens Blvd. and 47th Ave.
Enter on 35th Street into the cafeteria

Pentathlon Team Registration List:
1. IS 230 - No Name - Sonya Rencher - D30
2. IS 383 - The Skybots - Lindrick Outerbridge - D32
3. IS 192 - Robo Fusion I - Eric Greene - D29
4. IS 192 - Robo Fusion II - Eric Greene - D29
5. Bric~2~Bots - Cyberbots - Veryl Greene - D28
6. Cambria Center - Warbots - Sheryl Lyles - Private Organization
7. IS 227 - LAMChops I - Richard Akalski, David Mabrey - D30
8. IS 227 - LAMChops II - Richard Akalski, David Mabrey - D30
9. PS 226 - No Name - Nancy Azcona - D21

Mike Koumoullos

Trip to Japan for FIRST Asian FLL Tournament
Tokyo is a wonderful city to visit and the tournament allowed us to visit with the worldwide FLL community. I'm ready to go off to other events if invited.

There's so much to say about the experience. Thanks to my roomie, Gary Israel, who made his computer available, so I got to put up a few comments on my blog. But things were so hectic, I barely had time. I did love the comment from a parent in Mexico City asking me to check in with his son on the Mexican team. Thanks so much to Kamoshida-san and Ishihara-san FLL Japan/OAC for giving us the opportunity.

I wrote this piece of my local newspaper, The Wave.

Tokyo Notes
The conga line snakes around the arena. 450 kids from 24 countries on five continents. We are in Tokyo. The children are between nine and 17 years old and we are at the end of three days of competition at the Asian Open FIRST LEGO League tournament.
The kids are from Peru and Brazil; a bunch from the US, Canada and Mexico; five from China; teams from Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea; many from Western Europe – France, Spain, Germany, Holland, all the Scandinavian countries; and Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. We were disappointed to hear the two teams from Israel had to cancel at the last minute - we could have solved the Middle East in those three days.
I was asked to be one of four referees – the other three were Japanese college students, only one of whom spoke English. Yikes! I've never been a referee and didn't really know the game well enough, especially in such an intense competitive environment – sort of like being asked to umpire your first game in the World Series. But they needed an English speaker. I spent part of the 14 hour plane ride studying and then raced around on the practice day getting all the rules straight, relying a lot on
Tomo, the English speaking student, who ended up being my ref partner throughout the tournament – thank goodness – after I made sure to recruit some of the Europeans to join us. It turned out many of them were in my boat – helping organize and run tournaments but never having time to learn the intricacies of the game.
This year's theme was energy – the Power Puzzle – and teams also have to do research on solving the energy crisis and do a presentation in front of a panel of judges. So, things were a bit chaotic and on the first day, we didn't get out until 8 PM. Later that night a group of us gathered in the lobby going over the rules until 11 PM. I marveled at the fact that here are adults spending hours working on this stuff and taking it so very seriously to make sure it goes ok for the kids. But that is what working with FIRST robotics is all about.
The refereeing went pretty well, though there were kids from two Chinese teams pretty mad at Tomo and me for some of our rulings. One of the kids spent a half hour arguing with me and I told him he should be a lawyer. The next day all the kids came over to take pictures. Having this kind of contact with kids after so long an absence was the great benefit of the trip. It is the major thing I miss about teaching.
We had two contrasting NYC middle schools - one public school (Herman Ritter) from the South Bronx and the other a private school (Little Red School House) from Manhattan where the kids raised $1200 in bake sales to assist the Ritter kids in getting to Japan. Ritter returned the favor by taking Little Red to dinner in Tokyo, the idea of Bronx FLL organizer Gary Israel (my roomie) who has been instrumental in promoting the Ritter kids.
This trip turned into a unique opportunity to interact with a great variety of adults and children from all over the world. I was fortunate in having Marcio Noguchi as a traveling companion. Marcio, of Japanese descent but born and raised in Brazil, lived in Japan for nine years. He now works for Credit Suisse in New York, so he brings a perspective of three continents to the table. We spent a lot of time together walking miles around Tokyo, so I got some great insights, illuminated after a sampling of sake at one restaurant. Afterwards, we went looking – I was staggering – for ice cream and not finding a place, ended up at an all night McDonalds for shakes. It is a five story vertical place with stools at counters where some people spend many hours studying.
Marcio left his motorcycle in my driveway and some of my neighbors were concerned that I was going through some kind of phase.

Northside Looking for a Coach
(This is an old email so the position may have been filled)
Judy Thoms, M.S.
Chief of Educational and Related Services
Northside Center for Child Development
1301 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029
TEL (212) 426-3415 FAX (212) 410-7561

A few weeks ago I sent out an inquiry to see if anyone knew a mature high school student or a college student who would want to teach a robotics class at a non-profit in Manhattan. Below are further details and it is expected that the pay rate would be between $20-$30 per hour. Please have interested parties contact Northside Center directly.

We are interested in finding a computer teacher who could start our children out on some simple robotics.

We are now looking for someone to work afternoons Monday to Friday in our computer lab (3:30 to 6), starting right away, and also looking for someone to teach for 3 hours (morning or afternoon) in our summer camp, which runs from June 30 to August 22. We have a small lab of 15 computers, and our population is 6 to 12 year olds, some of whom have emotional and learning problems (Northside is a community mental health agency), and all of whom love working on computers. We are easily reached by train (#2 or 3 or 6) and bus, on the corner of Madison Ave and 110th St.

Please ask any interested computer people you know to get in touch with the coordinator of our After-school program, Daniel Marangiello Ask them to send a letter and resume, and he will get back to them. We also have a website, which might be of interest.
-Judy Thoms

If you want to be removed from this list type "unsubscribe" in the subject area and hit return.

Compiled by Norm Scott
NYCFIRST Registration coordinator

Have a good day



Maiko said...

ok Im very involved in the FIRST robotics program. one of the things that got me so involved in robotics was a camp at

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