Welcome to ASH’s FIRST LEGO League Robotics Club!
What is FIRST LEGO League? Intro Video
FIRST LEGO League is an international competition open to 9 -15 year olds who dream of becoming scientists, technologists, engineers, and researchers. It is a fun but challenging, fast-paced, enriching, and extremely rewarding experience for students, and involves participation from over 40 countries each year. FLL is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen and is conceptually similar to Odyssey of the Mind, but with an emphasis on robotics, engineering, and research. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”. For an wonderful overview of FLL watch this intro video by Morgan Freeman
FFL gives students skills in lifelong learning, problem-solving, teamwork, research, design engineering, public speaking, and creativity. Although a competition, FLL is not about winning – it is about the experiences of working with others, challenging oneself, and learning about the world around us.
How does FLL fit in with what we do at ASH?
The philosophy of FLL not only fits clearly with ASH’s mission “To nurture and inspire character, commitment, creativity, and learning”, and ASH’s vision “To lead its international community through a range of extra-curricular choices”, it is also highly aligned with ASH’s core values of “Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Empathy, and Communication”:
“The FLL Core Values are the cornerstones of the FLL program. They are among the fundamental elements that distinguish FLL from other programs of its kind. By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.
- We are a team
- We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors
- We know our coaches and mentors don’t have all the answers; we learn together
- We honor the spirit of friendly competition
- What we discover is more important than what we win
- We share our experiences with others
- We display Gracious Professionalism and “Coopertition” in everything we do
- We have FUN!”
FLL offers students a unique and fun way to connect the middle school curriculum to the real world through the integration and enrichment of math (problem-solving), science (robotics, engineering, researching a science topic), language arts (writing, speaking, and presentation), library (information literacy and research), and technology (robotics software, hardware, online research, creating a web presence). We are convinced that this club will be a life-changing experience for those students who participate.
How will the Club evolve?
The club was piloted during the competition season of August – December 2011 with a core group of 7th graders. Team ASHTechs was the first ASH team that ever competed at the FIRST LEGO League competitions.
After a successful FLL competition season we decided to continue as a Robotics Club during the off season (January – June) as well. We are now calling this the “Exploratory Season”, so the club is basically run all year.
Who runs the Club?
Michele Velthuizen (Middle School Librarian) and Chris Decker (5th Grade Science) started the FLL Club in 2011. During the 2012-2013 school year, during Chris Decker’s leave of absence, Keith Owings, Daniel Richardson, Darrell Townshend, and Melodye Rooney helped as coaches and mentors.
How can I join?
Exploratory Season (January – June)
Sign ups for the Exploratory Season of the FLL Club are during the last week before Winter Break, in December. Students can collect a form from the MS Library and return it to Mrs. Velthuizen personally. The club strives to have an equal number of boys and girls. There is room for approximately 35-40 students. We meet on Mondays, from 3:30-5:00 in the MS Library. Students need to bring their school laptops to club meetings and must make sure that the LEGO Mindstorms software has been installed. The IT Office can help with this.
Exploratory/Competition Season (August – December)
Sign ups for this season of the FLL Club are during the first week of school in August. Students can sign up for the Club online using this form. The Exploratory part of this season runs from August – October Break. After October Break, only those students who make it into the competition team will continue to the beginning of December when the Regional FLL Competitions are held. We meet on Mondays (Exploratory and FLL) and Thursdays (FLL), from 3:30 – 5:00 in the MS Library. Students need to bring their school laptops to club meetings.
How is the Robotics Club funded?
We do not charge any club fees. We have been very fortunate to have a supportive parent community and an active PTO. We have received direct funds from some parents and the PTO Contributions to ASH Program has helped us purchase 18 NXT Mindstorms kits so that club members can work on their own kit. For the FLL Competition Team, however, we may ask a small fee to cover the Competition Registration costs and team T-shirts.
How will Robotics evolve at ASH?
It is our goal to help pioneer and integrate a robotics curriculum at ASH so that students can be exposed to the exciting field of engineering at an early age. At the request of the PTO Contribution to ASH Committee in 2011 we created a basic structure for a Robotics curriculum for the Middle School which which we will be piloting for the first time during the first quarter of the 2013-2014 school year.
In 2012 the Elementary Library hosted a Robotics Club for the first time. It is run by a parent and quickly expanding. From August 2013, a FIRST Tech Challenge Club will start up in the high school. Several 8th graders have taken the initiative to form this club.
Can’t take part in our club?
TekiKidz in the Statenkwartier area of the Hague offers elementary and middle school age kids an after-school workshops where you can learn how to program and build robots. For more info, visit their website: TekiKidz