Friday, October 17, 2008

JFLL Q&A by Keith Wynne

Registration for JrFLL Expo at CCNY will be taking place in November through December and that more information will be posted by the end of this month!

1) Who is in charge of registering the team / school?

Anyone can register a team. All you have to do is go onto the website and click on the link to Jr.FLL. The 25.00 registration fee gets you access to the forum and team access pass.

2) If it is me, how will I pay for the registration?

Anyone can pay for it, but you should speak to your principal about using a credit card or ask your P.T.A. to reimburse you. As far as the base kit is concerned. You can purchase one from LEGO Education for $95.00 and can us a school purchase order to pay for it.

3) What is the structure as to how I choose six (it is six 1st graders who will make up the group) students?

The children can be ages 6-9. I recommend you keep them all in the same age or grade as this is easier to manage. You can do it during a lunch club, after-school, or if you principal clears it, during the extended day, if there is no money available to pay per-session. This is completely up to you to work out with your principal. Some schools charge tuition for after-school programming. That's how we work it at my school in Brooklyn. I don't know your school's current structure, so you have to figure that out for yourself...

4) Once chosen is there a permission slip I send home and wait to get returned?

Again...this is completely up to you to work out with your principal. Type a letter inviting children and get parents to return it to you. If interest is high, you may have to do a lottery. Try to figure out what the fairest and most equitable fashion is. You can even get the classroom teachers on board by pushing into their rooms. I did all three second grade classes last year with every child learning about the program and each class producing their own final product. I then invited 6 kids from each class (3 boys and 3 girls) to join me at the expo, but every child participated so there weren't any questions of equity or fairness.

5) Is there any training / template for me to use to get started on this? I have gotten the challenge and it makes sense, but it would help a lot if I had some sort of model to work from, or a even the chance to observe someone else doing this type of class.

You don't have any programming to worry about and the guidelines are available on the JrFLL link. You should check out the theme and rules first. The challenge is to build a model that represents the theme of Climate Connections and then incorporate a show-me poster that represents an understanding and interpretation of the theme. (this part is very similar to the criterion for the FIRST LEGO League research projects)

6) Not having done Robotics before I'm still not completely clear on what type of supplies are needed for the group? We have a site license for MicroWorlds Robotics, which can be used to program NXT bricks, but I've never worked with LEGO in this way. What kind of LEGO do we need to have in the school to proceed -- or do we already have these materials?

The only materials you need are LEGO Pieces, a base mat, access to a computer to do research, and you can purchase the base kit from LEGO Education if you like. It has a lot of extra moving and small pieces that you most likely won't use, but if you lack materials, it's a good place to start. I also recommend you purchase one or two boxes of standard LEGO Pieces and a base mat to build your model on. Total materials cost is less that $150.00 per team.

Let me know if you need anything else from me. We will be inviting teams to register for the JrFLL Expo at CCNY on January 11th later this month. Approximate entry cost is $40.00 per team.

Sincerely Yours,
Keith A. Wynne

Elementary Science Specialist
Grades 2-5
P.S. 58 The Carroll School
330 Smith Street
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11231

"Educating students from around the globe since 1996."

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