This year Cadmes supports one of the many teams contending in the First Lego League. The FLL is (quote from www.firstlegoleague.org): The best way to summarize FIRST LEGO League is to say that it is a robotics program for 9 to15 year olds, which is designed to get children excited about science and technology — and teach them valuable employment and life skills. FLL can be used in a classroom setting but is not solely designed for this purpose. Teams, composed of up to ten children with at least one adult coach, can also be associated with a pre-existing club or organization, homeschooled, or just be a group of friends who wish to do something awesome.
We will follow a team of children between 9 and 12 years old who have to prepare for a competition challenge in November. We will see how they learn along the way and run in to similar problems as we see in “the real world”. In following blog posts I will cover different aspects of the parallel between what problems the children have to solve in their play and the problems that we help our customers to solve under pressure of production and profit.
The FLL challenge this year is called “Senior Solutions” and is referring to the challenges that senior people (age 60 and above) face in daily life. Can the FLL teams come up with ideas to help seniors staying independent, engaged and connected within our society. In our software industry this area of interest is referred to with “life science”.
The FLL teams will be judged on several items. Most obvious there will be a robot challenge where points can be earned if an autonomous LEGO Mindstorms NXT robot successfully completes a number of missions. The children have to design and program the robot completely themselves (!!!).
Also the judges will look how the robot is designed and which design choices the children have made along the process. In this the children can show how well they understand mechanical and programming concepts and if the applied a well thought design process.
Second part of the challenge is a research project. Children have to come up with solutions for seniors to overcome geriatric inabilities in daily life, to enable participation in sports, games, social life or to provide new means to stay in touch with family or friends. They have to make their idea presentable in any form they like. In previous FLL challenges, some of these ideas have led to real industry patents.
Above all there are the FLL Core Values. These Core Values are the backbone of the competition. They are principally about teamwork, inspiration and sharing:
- We are a team.
- We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors.
- We know our coaches and mentors don’t have all the answers; we learn together.
- We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
- What we discover is more important than what we win.
- We share our experiences with others.
- We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do.
- We have FUN!
We are very excited to start working on all three parts of the challenge and facilitate where we can. At the end, the children have to do the hard work and we cannot wait to see what comes out.
Bas Koomen (FLL team coach)