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The fall LEGO Robotics Competition is open to Catlin Gabel middle school students with previous LEGO experience through Spring Robotics, Summer robotics, or other outside activities such as Saturday Academy or other LEGO teams. Our LEGO teams are led by passionate Upper School student coaches and parents and supported by the school in the form of Lab space, training, and organizational help.
Our kickoff meeting is on Sept 9th, 2013 in the Nutshell building on campus from 3:15-5:00pm. Students must be pre-registered to attend this meeting and the meeting is required for all students taking part. After that student schedules will vary depending on the team but all must come to the lab twice a week with their team.. The lab is open every day after school.
We’ve found that FIRST LEGO League (FLL) can be a rewarding experience for students with long attention spans, superior teamwork skills, and who know what they are getting into because they’ve had prior exposure to LEGO engineering. Spring Robotics is a much better launching pad for students new to the world of engineering and is generally a prerequisite for the fall teams.
Here’s how FIRST LEGO League works at Catlin Gabel. In September students form teams of three to five to design, build, and program a robot for the competition. The members of the team divide up the work, just like a real engineering team. Some will specialize in mechanical design, others with do software or research presentation work. They typically come twice a week after school though this can vary depending on the needs of their team.
Students must complete their project by the mid-December local competitions. At the competition their robot must perform a series of tasks on a standardized course to earn points. Each year the challenge changes. Teams also earn points at technical judging interviews and a research presentation to a panel of judges.
Teams that score highly at the regional competitions are sent to the state competition in mid-January. There the best 80 teams from around Oregon compete against one another. Last year 2 out of three Catlin Gabel teams advanced to the state competition.
Upper school students are hired as coaches for these FLL teams. These students are highly screened, are typically members of Catlin Gabel’s high school robotics team, and have had at least two years of FLL experience in their younger days. Parents are also welcome to go through coaches training and volunteer to coach a team as well. Contact Dale Yocum is this is of interest.