Sunday, December 13, 2015

FLL Championship Tournament at Clarkson University

What a great day at the FLL Championship Tournament at Clarkson University. Our three FLL teams had a very busy, very long day competing with an additional twenty four teams.

The teams arrived at 8:30 a.m. excited and nervous. The day started with judging sessions. First up was Robot Design Judging. The teams had to explain how they designed and programmed their robots. They also had to discuss their strategy for the Robot Game.

Next up was Project Judging. This year's FLL theme is Trash Trek. Each team had to choose a trash item, identify the problems caused by that trash item, and solve one of those problems. Radical Robotics designed a lidless soda cup to reduce the amount of trash produced by fast food restaurants. Remarkable Robotics designed a robotic device that would pick up cigarette butts and other small debris from sidewalks and paths. Radio Robotics decided to turn books into insulation for secondary structures. Three very different trash items, with three very different solutions.

The final judging session was for Core Values. The core values are the foundation of the FLL program. The teams needed to demonstrate to the judges that they could work as a team to solve a challenge. They also needed to share their experiences from this season. Things like how they used the core values in other areas of their lives, like school and sports teams. They shared how they worked cooperatively with other teams and how they overcame obstacles they faced during the season.

After a quick lunch break, it was time for Opening Ceremonies. Then it was time for our favorite part of the day, the Robot Rounds. The afternoon is filled with fast-paced, anxiety-filled robot action. Each team gets to compete in three robot rounds. Their best run of the three is the one that counts at the end of the day. There were some tense moments when things didn't go as planned, but the teams recovered quickly and kept moving forward.

Once robot rounds were complete, we quickly cleaned up our pit areas and headed to Closing Ceremonies. It's so much fun to watch all the competitors receive their awards. We are happy to say that one of our teams was among the winners. Radical Robotics won the Champion's Award 2nd Place. They were the runner up for the overall championship today. That does not diminish the accomplishments of our other two teams. Winning isn't the goal. All our team members are winners. They worked hard, solved problems, and were strong competitors. They are learning to be innovators and to work in a diverse group of people. We are so proud of them all.

We are grateful for the event coordinators, judges, referees, and volunteers. Their efforts gave our kids a great experience. Thank you!

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