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First LEGO League

Book Description

FIRST LEGO League: The Unofficial Guide is the go-to source for coaches, teachers, parents, and students participating in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competition. Written for both rookie and experienced teams, the book covers a variety of topics, including team formation and organization, robot building and programming, and the basics of getting involved with FLL.

Table of Contents

  1. FIRST LEGO League
  2. Dedication
  3. Letter from Dean Kamen
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. Introduction
    1. How This Book Is Organized
  6. 1. What Is FIRST LEGO League?
    1. FIRST and the FIRST Robotics Competition
    2. FIRST Robotics Competition
    3. FIRST Tech Challenge (Formerly FIRST VEX Challenge)
    4. FIRST VEX Challenge
    5. FIRST LEGO League
      1. Themes
      2. The FLL Robot Game
      3. Technical Interview
      4. Project
      5. Teamwork
      6. More on FLL to Come
    6. Junior FIRST LEGO League
    7. Where Does LEGO MINDSTORMS Fit In?
      1. MINDSTORMS Components
      2. The MINDSTORMS Programming Software
    8. What Is the LEGO Group’s Involvement?
    9. What Are the Differences Between the Two Versions?
    10. What About the FLL Competition Mat and Models?
    11. Conclusion
  7. 2. How FLL Works
    1. Tournaments
    2. Robot Game
      1. Field Mat
      2. Mission Models
        1. Transferring a Model
        2. Activating a Model
        3. Delivering an Object to a Model
        4. Removing an Object from a Model
      3. The Match
    3. The Project
      1. Research
      2. Presentation
      3. Sharing Your Project with the Community
    4. Robot Design
    5. Teamwork
      1. Team Roles and Responsibilities
      2. Gracious Professionalism
      3. Problem Solving/Team Dynamics
      4. Enthusiasm/Participation
      5. Understanding of FLL Values
      6. Team Challenge
      7. Awards
  8. 3. Guidelines and Rules
    1. Mission Descriptions
      1. Analyzing Mission Descriptions
      2. Strategizing with Mission Descriptions
    2. Robot Game Rules
    3. Q&A and the Forum
    4. Guidelines for Other Categories
      1. The Project
      2. Robot Design and Teamwork
    5. Rubrics
  9. 4. Finding Equipment, Mentors, and Funding
    1. Equipment and Supplies
    2. Funding
      1. Schools
      2. Government
      3. Parents
      4. Businesses
      5. Fund-Raisers
    3. Team Mentors
    4. Gathering Resources Early
  10. 5. Starting or Building a Team
    1. Methods for Starting a New FLL Team
      1. School Programs
      2. After-School Programs
      3. Community and Church Groups
      4. Homeschool Groups
      5. Motivated Parents or Children
    2. Getting Started
    3. Announcing Formation of a Team
    4. Accepting Team Member Applications
      1. Signup Sheet
      2. Printed Application
      3. Interview
      4. Essay
    5. Selecting Final Team Members
      1. Experience and/or Seniority
      2. Unique Skills
      3. Gender Balance
      4. Displayed Interest
    6. Announcing Your Selections
    7. Holding Your First Team Meeting
      1. Introduce Coach, Team Members, Mentors, and Parents
      2. Exchange Contact Information
      3. Discuss Meeting Locations and Schedule
      4. Assign Team Member Roles and Duties
      5. Sign a Team Member Pledge
      6. Don’t Forget the Food!
    8. Adding New Members to an Existing Team
      1. Announce an Invitation for New Members
      2. Accept Team Member Applications
      3. Select New Team Members
      4. Consider a Second Team
      5. Meet with the Returning Team for the First Time
    9. Building Your Team
    10. A Team Is Born
  11. 6. Managing Your Team
    1. Team Structures
      1. Team Captain
      2. CEO and Board of Directors
      3. We’re All Equals Here
      4. Robot Team and Research Team
      5. Building Team and Programming Team
      6. Quick Response Teams
      7. Chassis Team and Attachment Team(s)
      8. Team Structure Summary
    2. FLL Team Roles
      1. Team Captain
      2. Co-captains
      3. Building Team Leader
      4. Programming Team Leader
      5. Website Manager
      6. Videographer
      7. Photographer
      8. Blogger
      9. Project Leader
      10. Program and Data Manager
      11. Equipment Manager
    3. Having Fun
    4. Making Decisions and Voting
      1. Number of Members Needed for a Vote
      2. Final Say
      3. Voting
    5. Team Progress Tracking
      1. The Gauge as a Progress Measurement Tool
  12. 7. The Team Experience
    1. Encourage Your Team
    2. Encourage and Share with Other Teams
    3. Share Your Experience
    4. Give Back
    5. Methods for Sharing Your Experiences
      1. Websites and Blogs
      2. Diaries and Journals
      3. Photo Albums
      4. Team Posters and Promotional Items
    6. The FLL Journey
  13. 8. Coaching a Team
    1. The Coach’s Responsibility
    2. Online Tools for the Busy Coach
      1. Doodle
      2. Google Calendar
        1. Adding Events
        2. Sharing Your Calendar
      3. OpenProj
      4. Organizers Database (Tracking Donations and Contributors)
      5. More Help for the Coach
  14. 9. NXT vs. RIS
    1. Robotics Invention System
    2. NXT
    3. The Bricks
      1. The RCX
      2. The NXT Brick
    4. Batteries
    5. Sensors
      1. RIS Sensors
      2. NXT Sensors
    6. Motors
    7. Construction Pieces
      1. RIS Construction Pieces
      2. NXT Construction Pieces
    8. Base Kits
      1. RIS
      2. NXT
        1. Retail Base Kit
        2. Education Kit
    9. Availability
    10. Choosing a System
  15. 10. Basic Building
    1. Using Existing Models
    2. Building from a “Foundation”
    3. Building with Modular Design
    4. Bracing Your Design
      1. Types of Braces
      2. Connecting a Brace
    5. Gears!
      1. Gear Chains
      2. Turning Multiple Objects
      3. Joining Gears at Right Angles
      4. Gear Ratios
        1. Gearing Up
        2. Gearing Down
      5. Using Gears on Motors
    6. Treads, Ball Casters, and Wheels
      1. Treads
      2. Ball Casters
      3. Wheels
        1. Four-wheeled Robots
        2. Wheel Size
        3. Traction
        4. Wheel Issues
    7. Building with the Brick
      1. Allowing Access
      2. Using the Brick as a Counterweight
      3. Attaching the Brick to a Robot
    8. Motors
      1. Using Motors as Counterweights
      2. Controlling Motors with Move Blocks
    9. Sensors
      1. Ultrasonic Sensor
      2. Touch Sensor
        1. Object Detection
        2. Input Detection
      3. Light Sensor
        1. Detecting Lines on the Mat
        2. Minimizing Ambient Light Problems
        3. Detecting Objects
        4. Sensing Touch
    10. Working with Cables
    11. Useful Connectors
      1. Hassenpins
      2. Parallel Connectors
    12. Up Next . . .
  16. 11. Building Techniques for the Robot Game
    1. Aiming Methods
    2. Approaches to Handling Table Variety
    3. Useful Pieces
    4. Documentation of Your Design
    5. Chassis, Attachments, and Bays
      1. Chassis Design
        1. Size Limitations
        2. Environment Limitations
        3. Mission Model Limitations
        4. Speed and Power
        5. Design Procedure
        6. Temporary Adjustments to Speed and Power
      2. Adaptable Chassis
        1. How It Works
        2. Challenges
      3. Attachments
        1. Nonmotorized vs. Motorized Attachments
        2. Temporary vs. Permanent Attachments
        3. Multipurpose Attachments
        4. Guide Attachments
        5. Size Limitation
        6. Design Procedure
      4. Bays
        1. Motorized Bays
        2. A More Complex Motorized Bay
        3. Bay Design
    6. Web Resources
  17. 12. Sensors
    1. FLL-Approved Electronics
    2. NXT Controller
      1. Available Sensor Measurement Options
      2. The Sleep Feature
    3. NXT Motors and the Built-in Rotation Sensor
    4. Rotation Confusion
    5. Touch Sensor
      1. Pressed
      2. Released
      3. Bumped
    6. Light Sensor
    7. Ultrasonic Sensor
    8. Sensors vs. No Sensors
    9. Sensing a Trend
  18. 13. Getting Organized for Programming
    1. File-Naming Conventions
      1. Label Your Robots
      2. Assign Mission Numbers or Names
      3. Use Version Numbers and Status Words
      4. Create Longer, Descriptive Names
    2. Back Up Your Programs and Data
    3. Robot Mission
      1. Identify Individual Robot Actions
      2. Convert Individual Actions to Icons
      3. Arrange Icons to Mirror Mission Description
      4. Convert Flowchart to NXT-G
      5. Flowcharts Work
    4. Summary
  19. 14. NXT-G Programming Concepts
    1. Key NXT-G Blocks
      1. Move
      2. Loop
      3. Switch
      4. Create a Light Sensor Toggle
        1. Build a Menu System
      5. Wait
    2. Secret Power Blocks: Variable and File Access
      1. Variable Blocks
        1. Create a New Variable
        2. Use Your Variable Block
      2. A More Complex Mission
        1. Modified Mission Solution
        2. The File Access Block
        3. Running Our Modified Mission
    3. Sensor Programming Techniques
      1. Light Sensor Range Reading
      2. Using the Touch Sensor to Combine Two Programs
      3. Creating an Ultrasonic Sensor Toggle
      4. Using Timers for Testing Missions
    4. Summary
  20. 15. The Project
    1. Choose a Topic
    2. Research the Topic
      1. Assign Tasks
      2. Record Your Findings
      3. Document Your Sources
    3. Research Using the Internet
      1. Search Engines
      2. Wikipedia
      3. Ask-a-Scientist
    4. Personal Interviews
    5. Libraries
    6. Field Trips
    7. Discoveries and Inventions
    8. Present Your Research
      1. Presentation Components
      2. Presentation Style
      3. Performance Tips
      4. Preparing
    9. Community Outreach
  21. 16. Tournaments and Beyond
    1. Pretournament Preparation
      1. Items to Bring
        1. Tape Measure
        2. Laptop (with Robot Programs) and USB Download Cable
        3. Field Mat and Mission Models
        4. Extra Pieces
        5. Extension Cord(s)
        6. Power Expansion Strip
      2. Robot Packing and Storage
      3. Use a Checklist
    2. Set Up the Pit
    3. Judging Sessions
      1. General Performance Tips
      2. Project Session
        1. What Happens
        2. Performance Tips
      3. Technical Interview
        1. What Happens
        2. Performance Tips
      4. Teamwork Session
        1. What Happens
        2. Performance Tips
    4. Robot Matches
      1. How It Works
      2. The Match
      3. Between Matches
    5. Awards Ceremony
    6. Celebration
    7. How to Handle Awards
    8. Other Tournaments
      1. Practice the Project Presentation
      2. Practice Robot Matches
      3. Review Performance(s) at Previous Tournament(s)
      4. Attempt New Missions and/or Refine Current Missions
      5. Take More Action in the Community
    9. Robotics Workshops
      1. LEGO Robot Basics
      2. Competing in FLL
      3. Team Recruitment
    10. Preparing for Next Season
      1. Minicompetitions
      2. Building a Chassis and Bay
    11. Some Final Thoughts
  22. A. Resources
  23. Index
  24. About the Authors
  25. Colophon
  26. B. Updates
  27. Copyright