Friday, June 18, 2010

NYCFIRST Update 1: June 18, 2010

Welcome to the Body Forward FLL Season,

Body Forward logo

With summer coming I wanted to send out at least one missive before we all go brain dead from the heat.

Registration has been open since early May. As usual, the sooner you register and pay the sooner you will get your field sets, which will start shipping in early August.

So far 36 teams have registered in NYC - see list below. If you think you registered but are not listed contact me ASAP.

I am available to help solve all your problems - related to FLL - leave me out if you have money or marital problems - unless they are related to robotics. Payment, shipment, registration, how to organize a team, ideas on how to blackmail your supervisors into supporting a team, etc. I feel your pain and am here for you.

Register at:

I have not been as diligent as I wished in keeping the robotics blog up to date but will try harder.
Check it out to see what's up so I can keep these communications at a minimum.

Paid teams
This may not be up to date because there can be a delay in info getting added after payment is received.
1084 Nerd Herd
1209 Robo Panthers - Springfield Gardens Qns
If you paid and are not listed yet let me know and I'll check.

Visit to FIRST, Manchester
A group of NYCFIRST FFLers went up to Manchester, NH to FIRST HQ last week (June 8-11) for training for the new season and we got a sneak peak of the new game. Lots of great challenges for your students - and for you. Engineering meets medicine. Scott Evans has come up with some fascinating touches.

We were invited to Dean Kamen's home for a lobster dinner - it looked to be over a hundred people - in the helicopter hanger. Afterwards we were free to roam Dean's home which is as unique a home as you can find. No pictures inside allowed so I can't share the wonders we saw. The giant 2 story engine is always my favorite. I do have some pics from outside which I will post on my blog.

I go to Manchester almost every year to get myself ignited for the coming season - and I'm flamin'. The meetings are always inspiring and naturally Scott Evan's presentation is the highlight - droll and very funny. I took video but have to self destruct if I share it. Maybe I'll put some of it up on you tube after the game is released in September.

Susan Hermon from NYU/Polytechnic who has picked up the ball for so many things, came up with us. We dropped her off on Friday afternoon at Poly where she had to work all evening and the next day running the DYCB (department of youth and community development) tournament on June 12. Bless her!

The brothers Koumoulos - Mike who runs the Queens tournament and Greg - chief judge el supremo came up late Wed. night. And retired SI Tech's robotic leader Mike Seigel was there too. Mike used to run the SI tournament and seems overjoyed to get that task off his back. We hope he will be active with the FLL committee at least until FRC build season begins in Jan.

We try to get some active coaches involved in FLL planning committee activities and this year Maureen Reilly (Packer) and Rob Quatrone (Dalton, who handled FTC issues last year and will be doing that again this year) joined us. The on the ground coaching experiences are very important in trying to upgrade the events and Maureen and Rob expect to be active with FIRST this year beyond their teaching and coaching duties.

If you want to go beyond the effort you put in at your school, we can use your help on the FLL Planning committee, which Marueen has volunteered to co-chair with Mark Scharfshtyne, an amazingly busy guy who has kept things running with glue and a big stick. We hope Richard Wong is also involved this year because I don't see how we get from A to B without him - and Mark, the dynamic duo. (Mark used to work for Rich when he was a student at Poly - it seems about an hour ago.) And of course our essential gal Liz Almonte who keeps those volunteers coming and doesn't take crap from anyone, especially me.

Keith Wynne will again be doing the amazing job of coaching FLL and organizing the entire JFLL for NYCFIRST - we hope we can get him some assistance this year.

There were FLL partners at Manchester from all over the nation and a few from the international group - New Zealand and Israel, along with Canada and Mexico. I think there are 25 nations involved.

The regional directors were also there, meeting separately - after 8 years as a volunteer I'm beginning to understand some of this stuff, like the difference between a partner and a regional director - but don't ask me to explain it. Ana Martinez from NJ/NYC FIRST was there as was Pat Daly, the retiring Randy Schaefer's replacement.

I've worked with Randy since the day he recruited me 8 years ago - about 2 hours after I retired -at least I thought I retired until Randy got ahold of me. So much of what we have going here in NYC in robotics just would not be possible without the incredible energy and support Randy's leadership has brought to the table. Quite a skill set I would say. When I told him I couldn't do the FLL program guide at this year's championship at Javits, Randy took on the task of producing an awesome 12 page handout covering FLL, JFLL, FTC and FRC.

There is no way we are letting Randy totally retire and he will be doing a bunch of volunteer work - FIRST is like a black hole - once you get sucked in you can never escape. But don't let that stop you.

We had some time to chat with Pat Daly we expect a very smooth transition.

We expect to run things much as we did last year with a similar schedule.

Kickoff in September
Expect a kickoff on a Sat in late September - the 25th most likely - to introduce the Body Forward challenge. Maureen, Rob and I spoke about trying out some different formats for that day. We hope every school will be represented.

Training Dates in October
Mentoring is the biggest issue for many teams and we are trying to get some ideas on the table to provide more support - maybe some private/public school partnerships.

We expect to run the usual Saturday training at Polytechnic in October. It all depends on how many newbies we have.

Practice tournaments in November/December
This is an area we have fallen down on since we went to qualifiers. The hope is for a few schools to host practice events - if after school, local teams in the area can come. If Saturday it could be a borough practice. We'd love to hold at least one in each borough. Last year Louis Armstrong had an event but the Stuyvesant practice was snowed out (I think - the years run into each other.)

Borough qualifiers in January
Most borough qualifiers in January and the championship at Javits in March.

I'm including some info from FIRST below that you can use if you need to convince people of the value of the program. I am also willing to come to your school to help.

I am around to help during the summer but if I don't hear from you have a great summer.

If you want to be removed from this list, unsubscribe.

Norm Scott

The Challenge

Every year, FIRST LEGO League (FLL) works with experts in the field to create a Challenge that relates to an important real world issue. The end result is a two-part Challenge that requires research and science to complete the Project, and engineering and technology to master the missions of the Robot Game. Each year the Challenge introduces young people to the fun and excitement of science and technology while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills

2010 Challenge

Engineering Meets Medicine

Body Forward logo

Can FLL teams improve our quality of life? Through the 2010 Body Forward Challenge, 9 to 16 year olds (9 to14 in the U.S. and Canada) will explore the cutting-edge world of biomedical engineering to discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions, and maximize the body's potential, with the intended purpose of leading happier and healthier lives.
Join us in September 2010 for the Body Forward Challenge release.

Welcome to FIRST®LEGO® LeagueBodyForwardRegistrationLink
Introduces younger students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society.
Elementary and middle-school students get to:
checkbox red Design, build and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology
checkbox red Apply real-world math and science concepts
checkbox red Research challenges facing today’s scientists
checkbox red Learn critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills
checkbox red Participate in tournaments and celebrations
What FLL teams accomplish is nothing short of amazing. It’s fun. It’s exciting. And the skills they learn will last a lifetime.

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