FLL – The Project

I want to start out by saying the project portion of FLL is my weakness, I haven’t worked on projects like this since my kids were in middle school, 8 years ago.

Any responses/ideas/thoughts that could help others with the project would be appreciated. Since I am a beginner at this and I’m trying to help everyone, I appreciate others help and others ideas.

Everyone needs to remember that the project is 25% of your overall score. So I want to learn, even though the coaches are dealing with the project portion. I started by reading the Rubrics and the Project FAQs. Then I went to a local FLL workshop put on by a Longtime North Texas FLL Coach, Sherry Oliver at TCU. It was really great and I learn a lot.

The project presentation takes place in front of judges. The kids have 5 minutes to present from the time they enter the door. The judges then have 5 minutes to question the team. For the team, that’s it. The judges will continue to deliberate for 5 minutes before the next team.

One suggestion that came up was a Project notebook, as well as a Robot Build note book, and a Team Notebook (for core values and team work issues).

So what should go in the Project note book.The simple answer is all information that was found while researching the project.

  • Keep the brain storming ideas for the project.
  • Information on the problem.
  • Any information found while researching the project
  • Information on the solution
  • Information on
  • Pictures of the kids meeting with experts
  • Pictures of any field trips
  • Picture of your senior partner
  • Current Technologies that could could be used, made smaller/better/faster to¬† solve the problem

The project notebook would be given to the project judges to review. But make sure you get it back at the end of the day.

The project needs to be a problem that could possibly lead to a solution. Basically, you need to follow the process of:

  • Find a problem
  • Come up with technologies that could solve the problem
  • Think about technologies that would can be made smaller, better, or faster to solve the problem
  • Think of things that can be done possibly in the next 5 to 50 years.

If the problem has a solution that can be done today, then have plans that could lead to the solution should be presented. Letters to people/groups/businesses asking for change. Plans for items to be created to solve the problem or plans to work with an expert to solve the problem.

Thanks to Sherry Oliver and everyone else who is and will be helping me on my quest for learning about the FLL project.



FLL – attachments

I’m doing this a bit out of order, the chassis is the first thing to build. After that comes the attachments. I’ll write later about the chassis later.

Attachments are extra Lego pieces attached to the robot to accomplish a task. Sometimes motors are used for the attachment, sometimes it’s just the Lego parts to make an attachment. Some attachments use rubber bands or string to accomplish a task.

I’m going to talk about some of the simpler attachments that are not very specialized. It’s up to the kids to take the idea’s, modify them, and make them useful for this years missions.

First is a simple horizontal pushing rod. This can be made to stick out to the side of the robot to put things as it passes them.

It can push the arm down on the video calls, turn the cardiovascular exercise wheel,push over the similarity mission, push the lever of the shared ball game as it passes by the mission item.

The next simple attachment is the plow. This is for pushing cargo to it’s destination. In the picture below the plow has sides on the plow to keep cargo corralled during movement. This would be a good attachment to push the blue quilt pieces into place or after the chair has been retrieved and fixed, it would be pushed under the table.

Another attachment is a simple latch. The latch is used to drag something back to base. To use the latch the robot moves over an object, the latch clicks into position and as the robot backs up, the object is dragged back. The key to the latch is the Lego hinge is a gray connection piece, not black. the gray is designed to allow Lego movement.

A slightly more sophisticated latch can use a cage that drops when the latch is hit. It can also use a rubber band to make a cage to drop and hold. I’ll write more later about it and give a picture.

FLL Stratagy

There are many levels of strategy for doing the various FLL missions. I’m only going to talk about some of the basic strategy to start the kids thinking about how to do the missions.

The best strategy is to read the game manual. Read it closely, brainstorm with others, and think about what the description says with not preconceived ideas. For example, the Transitions mission says “Robot gets onto the center platform…”, it doesn’t say how to get on, you can get on from either end…or possibly from the side by tilting the center platform to the side and moving onto the platform.

Take a look at the game mat. In general, look at the missions to see how “easy” they are. Typically, a mission is considered easy if they are close to base or the missions with larger target to hit.

Missions such as the video call near the base, the wood working (retrieving the broken chair), retrieving the service dog, and possibly the blue quilts are fairly easy.

Missions such as the cardiovascular exercise, similarity recognition and cooperation, ball game, the lower hoop on flexibility, the orange quilt, the gardening, the strength exercise, and transitions are medium hard.They are a bit further to get to or have a small target to hit. When something is further the robot accuracy isn’t as good. Same with small targets. The transitions has obstacles to complete the mission which makes it medium hard.

The rest of the missions…the medicine, bowling, strength exercise, stove, the far video call, and the upper flexibility hoop are all hard, they are far and small to activate.

The Cardiovascular Exercise is the “impossible” mission. This is simply because there’s not really enough time to get it done along with all the other missions. It has to be visited multiple times (6 times with no touch penalties) while having to do all the other missions.

Also, there are lines on the game mat. This lines can help with movement, they can be followed to get to a destination, used to straighten the robot, or tell where you are by moving until you hit a line . Line following or robot movement until you hit a line is a strategy. The lines are a bit different this year. There are green lines, dashed lines, lines going from light to dark. We’ll have to get into the missions to tell how this will affect the game.

We’ll talk specific mission strategy next time.

Again, if you have any question, e-mail me at frc704mentor@qweztech.com.