FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams are guided by adult coaches to research a real-world problem and develop a solution to that problem. They must also design, build and program a robot using LEGO Mindstorms technology to compete on a tabletop playing field. Our team will travel to at least one FLL competition (ideally in the Kansas City area). The students will be judged based on the team's konowledge and practice of FIRST's Core Values, the quality of their research project and solution (presentation creativity and quality count), their robot design and implementation, and their robot's performance on the playing field.
The Astromechs FLL are a community-based team sponsored in part by the Kansas City Robotics Foundation. The Astromechs FLL team accepts public-schooled, private-schooled and home-schooled students between the ages of 9 and 15 (must not be 15 before 1 Jan 2018 to participate this year) usually be referral. We are only able to accept up to 10 team members total on to the team for a given season (league rules). The Kansas City Robotics Foundation sponsors our meeting facility at N2Robotics LLC located at the Village at Burlington Creek near Parkville, MO. The Kansas City Robotics Foundation also underwrites much of the equipment we use to create and program LEGO Mindstorms robots for competition. All other expenses for the team (team registration, game field components, competition registration, snacks, presentation materials, competition swag, etc.) are covered through membership dues and member fundraising.
The 2018-19 Astromechs FLL team is in full swing working on this year’s Challenge “Into Orbit”. This year our team is comprised of 6 boys from public-school, private-school and home-school backgrounds. Only one of our current students has any FLL experience.
Our team is most excited about building and programming robots; however, in our discussion about the lives of astronauts on the International Space Station and our sampling of “astronaut food” (freeze-dried strawberries and astronaut ice cream) the kids’ imaginations were captured and they are now researching options for astronauts to have better, fresher food on a long space voyage (for the project portion of their competition). Students are looking into:
how plants grow in space (from previous Space Shuttle and ISS missions)
how plants can ben grown in small space with minimal water or soil,
how food can be “printed” with 3D printers (current NASA research)
why the ISS doesn’t have refrigeration or freezers on board
This research will be used to further refine their project and prepare the students for presentation at a competition qualifier later this Fall.
You can see some of our progress in videos and pictures on the Astromechs Facebook Page (which we share with the older Astromechs FTC team whose members mentor this younger team).