Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We're in St. Louis!

Well, after a long night of driving, we made it! We arrived in St. Louis this morning.  This afternoon we set up our "pit" (our team's "headquarters" at the venue), and began preparing for tomorrow. We had just a brief time this afternoon to check out some of the other teams. Kayla got a kick out of meeting the team from Egypt!

Tomorrow morning we will have 2 practice runs with the robot.  These 2 runs do not count toward the official scoring, but are done with the judges, and are timed events.  So, in other words, we better make them count!  Tomorrow we will be evaluated by the judges for our oral presentation / research.  In addition we will be speaking to the judges about our software and robot design.  So, it will be a full day!

We hope to post an update tomorrow evening,  Till then, GO BOTS4HIM!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Packing, Packing, and MORE PACKING!!!

Whew! What a day! We have the car almost all packed. Still a little more shopping to do... We are taking our Grandparent's Honda CR-V, (Thank you Grandpa Lutz!) so we have quite a bit of packing space, but it is still a bit tight.

We are in very good shape as far as being prepared for the competition and judging and we can't wait to get there! Electrifying!!! Check back as we will be doing daily blog posts from the hotel at the end of the day!

With High-Fives and Admiration, BOTS4HIM!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

We got our travelling money!!!!

WoW! Thank you to all our supporter/sponsors who really came through and blessed our Team with an abundance of travelling monies! We will have no troubles or worries about expenses. What a blessing and relief! Thanks also to Grandma and Grandpa Lutz who are lending us a reliable vehicle to travel in!

Back to practice practice practice! Cracking the whip (just kidding!) - they are having fun making BOTS4HIM buttons to share with other teams, putting finishing touches on their pit decorations and making last minute shopping lists. One of the most fun things they are preparing are the Minute to Win It games they are going to set up for other teams to enjoy and participate in - good ways to interact with other teams and get to know them! Lots of G.P. to go around! (gracious professionalism = a very important FLL core value!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

7 DAYS to GO!!!!

WOW! The countdown is on! See the ticker James added to the website - the excitement is mounting... the robot runs are getting very smooth, their research presentation is perfect, they have been putting a lot of work into their boards... 1) for their research presentation - RememberBot 2) for their Pittsburgh/Team/Sponsor board and 3) for their FLL Core Values board. This was a last minute requirement that was added by FLL to help the children talk about the Core Values of FLL: gracious professionalism, discovery, teamwork, respect, sharing ideas, and most of all FUN! These are all done and they are working on practicing presenting them to the judges as well as presenting the Robot Design and Software to the judges.

What's left to do??? Practice, practice, practice, celebrate Easter, pack. That's about it!

I must admit, as a homeschooling mom, part of me looks at all they are doing and the credits and hours for school are just getting wracked up like crazy!!! Speech requirements? No problem! Science credits? Tons of them! Meeting and greeting teams from around the world? Presenting to the judges? Let's see how many requirements that meets... way too many to count!!! I'm just so thankful for this opportunity for them - yes! an opportunity of a lifetime!!! Thanks to all of you who had a hand in helping them go!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's left to do...

All of these blog posts have been floating around in my head for the past few weeks... So this week we are turning to the Presentation/Skit for our Research project. We did not change anything here except revamping the presentation board and practicing the skit lines and such. All is well there.

There is another requirement that FIRST slipped in on us at the 11th hour (slight complaint here)... a board that addresses FLL Core Values (i.e. gracious professionalism, teamwork, discovery, initiative, etc.) and how our team has experienced them and learned more about them. So the kids need to scramble and make a board to show these things... they need to do some brainstorming and get really creative here! Fast!

The kids have been brainstorming their pit decorations; a theme, things to share with other teams, games, stress busters, etc. - lots of great ideas - should be a lot of fun to decorate and be part of the energy and excitement down in the FLL pits!!! Electrifying!!!!!!!

I've also been researching some things to see around St. Louis to give the kids a break from the intenseness of the Competition; visiting the Arch, St. Louis Zoo, etc.

We would like to take the week off before Easter to enjoy family and to observe the Passion week. So it seems like we are on track to do that... Then it will be off to St. Louis!

Visit to RE^2 - One of our Sponsors!

Two Saturdays ago, we were invited to tour RE^2 (RE Squared - Robot Engineering Excellence) and see all the cool things they are doing with Robots. WOW!!!! What an experience!!! They had three or four of their robotics engineers come in on a Saturday and give us quite an eye opening show of many of their project robots. We even got to see this robot in real life!!! We really appreciated them taking the time on a Saturday to share with us!!!

Then we got to show off our robot and even the RE^2 Robotics Engineers thought it was cool! The VP of Operations, Doug Peters, had his team, the Penngineers, come too and we were able to meet them and share about our robot and programming with a future promise of some mentoring for next season.

It was a wonderful day, lots of great inspiration for future robotics engineers! The kids were on Robotics cloud 9 for the rest of the weekend and on into the next week!

Flurry of Activity!!!

Wow! I haven't posted for a month... that does not mean in any way that the kids haven't been busy! They have been flying on reworking the robot's missions. And what success they have been having! They have completed all the missions (even the tissue and pill cup that they skipped in December), the robot is running very reliably, the time is under 2 1/2 minutes and they are working on refining their in base activities (swapping attachments and such) in between runs to get those smooth and consistent. So basically the robot is ready for Competition!!! Wahoo! Here we come St. Louis!!!