Welcome 2014 North Texas FLL Teams and Coaches

Today was the official release of the FIRST LEGO League 2014 Challenge (“World Class”), and the Republic of Pi is looking forward to another exciting season!

If you’re a new coach or a rookie team, we welcome you.  We know you probably have a lot of questions and uncertainty about FLL, and we’re glad to help wherever we can.

As in previous years, our team is maintaining a resources page with links and copies of documents relating to the North Texas regional FLL tournaments.  The page is available at http://republicofpi.org/projects/fll2014/resources/, or you can follow the links in the “FLL” menu above.

We create and maintain the resources page so that all of the announcements and files that come up over the season are available to us in one place.  But it’s also useful for others and we like to share resources freely.  If you think of anything else that would be helpful to keep on the page, please let us know!

Be sure to also join the North Texas FLL Google Group, as there are often many helpful announcements and discussions taking place there, and it’s an excellent place to ask questions.

Have a great World Class season!

 

Nature’s Fury 550 point run at World Festival

Here’s an annotated video of our team’s 550 point run at the FIRST LEGO League 2014 World Festival, which was good enough to earn 6th place in the Robot Game.  Veronica was the lead driver for this round, with Anthony handling attachments.

We were very pleased with the team’s and robot’s performance at the World Festival.  The team’s goal for the season was to create a robot that performed consistently well in the robot game, and at the World Festival all robot runs in practice and competition were over 500 points (scores were 562, 562, 520, 550, and 520).  Republic of Pi was the only team to score over 500 on every official robot run at the World Festival.

 

Team wins trophy at FLL World Championship

The Republic of Pi won 2nd place in Programming at the 2014 FLL World Festival!  Their robot “PiBot” also took 6th place in the Robot Game with a score of 550 points.

Eighty champion teams from 40 countries around the world competed in the FIRST LEGO League World Festival championship held in St. Louis, Missouri on April 23-26, 2014.

Thank you to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and our other sponsors that helped us attend the championship!

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Republic of Pi wins at North Texas Regional Championship

Republic of Pi participated at the 2013 North Texas FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Regional Championship tournament at the Hockaday School on February 1, 2014. They won the 1st Place Champion’s Award and 1st Place in Robot Performance — the highest awards in FIRST LEGO League at the regional level.

The team now moves on to compete in the FLL World Festival in St. Louis on April 23-26. Thank you to the Perot Museum and everyone in the North Texas Region that volunteered and competed to put together a great regional contest!

Perot Museum border wall heights

On the North Texas FLL coaches’ mailing list there’s been a lot of discussion and confusion regarding the height of the border walls on the tables used by the Perot Museum in the region’s contests.  Yesterday and today our team attended the Coppell HS FLL scrimmage, which once again was a great success.  Since the tables used at the scrimmage were reportedly from the Perot Museum (can anyone confirm this for us?), I was finally able to take some definitive measurements.

The tops of the border walls appear to be between 3″ and 3 1/8″ above the mat surface.  See the photo below.  If you’re wondering how it’s possible for the walls to have this height, it appears to me that the walls were created from 2×4 studs that have been jointed and planed on the bottom to produce a perfectly square fit with the table surface.  Thus the sides are somewhat less than the 3.5″ one would expect with unfinished 2×4 studs.

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While at the table I also took measurements of the height of the cargo plane lever; it appears to vary between 4 5/8″ and 4 7/8″ above the mat surface.  Because the walls are actually slightly taller than 3″, I expect the cargo plane models to be exactly as in the model build instructions, with none of the modifications for “short border walls” described in the challenge document. The angle of the red lever depends a little bit on the way the plane is loaded and the tension of the string.

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I hope this helps resolve questions and helps teams prepare for the qualifier tournaments. However, don’t absolutely count on these heights — some Perot tables could be different from others, and “things happen” such that a qualifier might end up using tables from another source. As mentioned in the challenge documents, teams are expected to design for border walls ranging anywhere from 2.5″ to 3.5″ in height.

Coppell Scrimmage announced for Nov 2

We’ve finally gotten some more concrete details about the Coppell FLL scrimage — it will be held on Saturday, November 2nd at Coppell High School from 2:30p to 4:30p.

Unlike previous years, this scrimmage will not be held at the same time as the Engineering Expo, which is on November 3rd.

The last of the UTD Coaches’ Clinics are also being planned for Saturday, although the exact times are not yet known.

Messages about the scrimmage and clinics can be found here, here.

The organizers have asked attendees to please fill out a form.

Hope to see many of you on Saturday!

Welcome 2013 North Texas FLL Teams and Coaches

Today was the first UTD Coaches Clinic’ for 2013, hosted again by Dr. Kenneth Berry. It was wonderful to meet so many new coaches and see another exciting year get underway!

If you’re a new coach or a rookie team, we know you likely have lots of questions and trepidation. We’re glad to help where we can.

As in previous years, our team is maintaining a resources page with links and copies of documents relating to the North Texas Regional FLL tournaments. The page is available at http://republicofpi.org/projects/fll2013/resources/ , or you can follow the “FLL” links in the menu above.

We create and maintain this page for our own benefit — to make it easy to have announcements and files all in one place. But we also know it can be useful for others, and we like to share it freely. If you can think of anything else that would be helpful to have available on the page, please let us know!

If nothing else, be sure to join the North Texas FLL Google Group — lots of announcements and helpful discussions take place there.

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Portable FLL table demonstration

At last year’s North Texas regional qualifier tournament, the team’s robot did not perform as well as expected. After reviewing the robot’s performance, we decided that the practice table we had been using was partially to blame. So it was time to build a new one.

The video below shows the table we came up with. One important feature of the table is that it disassembles into pieces small enough to fit into our van, so we can take our FLL equipment to other schools and organizations for demonstrations. Indeed, this was the table we used for our Discovery Days exhibit at the Perot Museum earlier this year.

Enjoy!