I was given the opportunity to judge the Madison area FIRST Lego League competition. The kids, other judges, and I had a lot of fun looking at the robots and the challenges they had to solve. If you don’t know anything about FIRST have a look here.
The challenge was focused on transportation, which resulted in the teams competing to pick up rings on the layout board, knock down or keep standing walls and poles next to the “road” and to navigate a harrowing ramp and ultimately deliver a cargo of 4 Lego people to the target area. Many teams chose to dead-reckon the course, with few utilizing line-following and fewer using the ultrasonic and touch sensors to verify contact with objectives or to avoid walls. As judges we were most impressed when the young (primarily 4th-6th grade) competitors used the sensors and coupled them with an effective strategy to deal with the course obstacles. We also liked to see teams that had clear collaboration amongst the members with all of the competitors equally aware of the goals and strategies of the robot.
Ultimately everyone had a great day and we all had a lot of fun watching the robots compete for points and prestige.
The gym set up was 5 projectors, 4 competition tables, 4 party lights and rocking music – it’s as much a party as it is a competition 🙂