Even if you are not into Robots, or LEGOs or the like, you've got to watch this amazing video of the Flying Geeks as they achieve a perfect score in the New Hampshire Semifinals. (Wait or right-click to download, it's a large file)
Keep in mind that these kids are given a complex challenge with 9 missions to accomplish in 2 1/2 minutes. The robot they build must do this anonymously. (Attachments are allowed if the robot returns to base.) Any error in positioning along the will often accumulate causing the robot to lose track of its location on the field. The Flying Geeks managed to track their location and perform with precision by using line following to calibrate their bearings at each section of the field. At the end of the match, you will see their robot go and reach over into their opponent's field to complete their mission for a perfect score of 400.
Wow! I get goose bumps just watching this. having coached FLL teams for the past 5 years I understand the work involved and the critical thinking skills needed to accomplish such a feat. Our team, the LEGO Mountaineers achieved some high scores in December, but nothing like this.
I realize that few young people read my blog -- well perhaps those young at heart -- but you have to understand that this is an incredible accomplishment. If you have a young child and you want to give them a boost in critical thinking skills, consider the FIRST LEGO League. If you have older kids, consider the FIRST Robotics program, perhaps consider becoming a mentor. This is a wonderful program to teach young people about productivity in motion.
If you would like to see what our team is up to, visit our blog.
Congratulations, Flying Geeks!
Update: Here's a link to the Flying Geeks Web Site