2019 FLL Challenge ~ CITY SHAPER
THE FLL CHALLENGE
Each year FLL issues a challenge to participating teams across the world to develop and program an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (the Robot Game), develop a solution to an identified problem (the Project), all the while guided by an embodiment of the FLL Core Values. The competitive season begins the end of August each year followed by Regional Qualifier events in November and state competitions beginning in December. Each year the top teams from each region are invited to the World Festivals in April, with additional teams invited to participate in other international competitions.
The Robot Game
Utilizing EV3 Mindstorms, teams are tasked with developing & programming an autonomous robot to complete missions on a themed playing field to earn points. In the 2016 season our robot's name was Shark Byte. We designed our base to have a small footprint. The sides were flat to allow for easy alignment. We used 2 large motors mounted at a slant to conserve space & add weight to the back to increase friction. We used 2 color sensors to follow black lines & a gyro sensor to regulate some of our more critical turns. We used multiple simple attachments and a few complex mechanisms like our "pig/bee/officer launch" shown in this picture.
FLL Core Values
Each year FIRST Lego League encourages teams to embrace and demonstrate eight different core values focused on gracious professionalism, team-building, support, effective problem solving and the shared execution of a collaborative effort toward a common goal. We are a team first and what we learn and experience together is more important than what we win. We do the work with the support of our coaches and mentors. While our hope is to always do our best, we accomplish this only through supporting each other and other teams. No matter what, we work best when we function as a family and we have fun!
The 2016 FLL theme is based on exploring our relationships with animals and developing an innovative solution to improve the quality of life for a specific animal. After much debate among the team, we finally settled on working with classroom aquarium fish. We set out to learn more about this relationship thru surveying 86 teachers from across the country. We quickly learned that as classrooms get too busy fish suffer with a significant drop in regular testing and correcting of pH, nitrate & ammonia levels. We met with scientists to help us understand the problem & developed a fully automated ph tester & correction system.
Past Challenges have been based on such topics as nanotechnology, climate, quality of life for elders, food safety & transportation. By designing our Challenges around such topics, teams are exposed to potential career paths in the chosen Challenge topic, in addition to solidifying STEM principles that naturally come from participating in the program. Team members also learn valuable life & employment skills which will benefit them no matter the career path they choose.
One of the team's on-going goals is to share our experiences as much as possible with others and help other teams as we can in the process. We are passionate about STEM and FIRST and value every chance we get to learn from others and share our enthusiasm. So far this year we have helped facilitate events at the Louisiana Children's Discovery Center, the 2016 Girl Scouts BIG Event, Hammond Library's Free Book STEM Event, Greenville Park Leadership Academy's Family STEM Event, the ASEE Annual Conference, the 2016 Tulane Engineering Fair, the Louisiana Children's Museum DOW Event, the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission Annual Symposium, Oaks Montessori School, the Bayou Discovery Summer Science Camp at ULM and various Rotary Club meetings. We have provided technical support to 2 rookie teams in our area and are looking forward to teaming with them soon to develop off-season scrimmages.
Continued Project Development
During the Animal Allies season, we were extremely fortunate to work with Patent Dive in New Orleans. They helped us secure a provisional patent for our project ~ Guardian Angel, in addition to teaching us about the whole process. Just prior to competing at the World Festival, we achieved success in adding a float switch sensor and reserve tank in addition t our pH tester. We are now in the process of adding a nitrate & ammonia tester & corrector to our system. We would also like to include an automatic feeder and camera. This will come in a package deal with a monitoring system for the aquarium owner.