My son was on a robotics team this fall, and recently participated in a big competition with First Lego League. This was very fun, and well worth the time and effort that he put into it. The theme this year was â€œThe Body Forwardâ€ and the teams were supposed to design a robot to complete certain medical tasks. Robertâ€™s team, the Bionic Heros, got a late start, and didnâ€™t form until October. They still were able to do a great job, and their final score put them 12th out of 29 teams. There were a total of 400 possible points in the contest, and his team was very consistent, and scored 80, 95 and 85 points in their three competition runs. The kids picked which tasks they wanted the robot to attempt, designed it, and programmed it all by themselves. It was a great experience in both design and working as a team.
I was very impressed with how organized the competition was. There were so many teams and so many activities and yet it ran very smoothly and was lots of fun for the kids. Clearly the volunteers who ran it put a lot of effort into organizing the competition. It was held in the gym of a local college, and they had the competition tables on the floor and the teams set up around the walking track on the top.
Most of the teams had team shirts, and brought buttons and candy to hand out. My son had a wonderful time walking around and collecting souvenirs from all the other teams. He came home with his shirt covered in buttons and stickers.
As part of the competition the teams also have to do a presentation on a medical topic, and explain how they designed their robot. This was a great opportunity for the kids to get experience with speaking in front of groups and being put on the spot with questions. Iâ€™d definitely recommend the First Lego League contests to any kid who loves legos. It can be expensive, but if you can find a community group, school or company willing to help sponsor the team it is worth doing. Robertâ€™s team is going to stay together and do some spring competitions, so hopefully the experience they gained will help them do even better next time.