Coaches Corner

I am so very proud of my girls, and their accomplishments at the Santa Clarita Valley First LEGO League Tournament. It was the most well-run event I have ever seen. Major kudos to Wendy Mathis, the coordinator and teacher at Placerita Junior High School. I think what stood out to me the most was people's reactions to our team when they found out that the girls are all sisters. Everyone said that they couldn't believe that four sisters could get along so well and accomplish anything. They insisted that their children could never have done that. felt very sad for them....
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For the past several years, I've mentored a robotics team in the U.S. First LEGO League competitions. It's been a great opportunity for me to teach not only robotics skills like construction and programming, but also to teach critical thinking skills like brain storming, mind mapping, and of course,...
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All of the trophies, save one, had been handed out at the Tehachapi LEGO Robotic competition on Saturday, November 27. I was discouraged that our team, the LEGO Mountaineers, would be going home empty handed. I had packed up all of our props and belongings, and was sitting in the bleachers, wa...
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Bring your own supplies, don't expect it to be there for you. One team showed up with a power point presentation, and expected a computer would be there for them. No one there had a computer that would run their floppy disk, so they were out of luck. If you need an extension cord, bring one,...
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I have received many offers to help our team, some from unexpected places. A few months ago, I received two books on robotics to evaluate: Definitive Guide to LEGO MINDSTORMS, by Dave Baum, and ROBOT BUILDING For Beginners, by David Cook, both published by Apress. The Definitive Guide to LEGO MIND...
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What do you get when you mix some LEGOS, motors, computer programs, lemonade, popcorn, left over Halloween candy, five active girls, and six tired parents? The LEGO Mountaineers!! This is my first blog entry, and I mainly wanted to share the fun we have all been having from a parent's pers...
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This year's team is progressing quite well. I consider us fortunate to have great team of girls and an equally wonderful group of parents. Everyone has been involved in one way or another. The robot is [mostly] stable and the girls are practicing completing the missions within the allotted timef...
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I was introduced to the MindManager software by our FIRST Jr. Robotics team coach, Eric Mack. I have seen our girls use the tool to assist in organizing the different challenges they are solving for their upcoming LEGO Robotics competition. For myself, I have use MindManager to assist in organi...
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As you will soon read from the girl's entries, this has been a busy week. There are a total of possible missions to complete and only 150 seconds in which to accomplish as many as possible. We've uploaded some brief video clips of this week's progress. Note: we will refrain from posting too many...
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I owe some words to thanks for three people, who helped me get this site up in record time. These three guys stepped up to the plate when I asked for volunteer assistance in getting this team blog up quickly. Steve Castledine, who provided the DominoBlog template and make some custom modifi...
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There is nothing quite like the excitement of watching a robot - one that you and your teammates have designed, built, and programmed - move across the playing field autonomously to carry out its missions while the crowd cheers from the stands. When the "Run" button is pressed and robot, leaves home base to execute its missions, the team will find out how well they did thinking through the challenge missions and preparing to solve them. They will have to effectively teach the robot "next action management," which is what I hope that they will learn in the process. I call it "Productivity in motion." ...
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This afternoon, I set up the computers and the LiveBoard and showed the girls how to visually record their ideas about their projects. Since we needed to become familiar with the specific missions that have to build a robot to accomplish. I suggested that the girls use MindManager to map out ea...
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We held our first meeting today. After reviewing our team objectives we opened the kit of parts and started assembling our playing field. We won't know what the actual challenge will be until September 15th,...
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