Tuesday, July 11, 2017

JULY NEWS, Summer Research is a Splash!

Greetings FIRST LEGO League Oregon,

In this mid-summer newsletter you will find:

    Splash of water as seen from the side
  1. Coach, Mentor, and Parent Workshops
  2. Applying for Team Financial Support UPDATE
  3. Teams Needed to Help with Demonstrations
  4. Team Members and Mentors are Invited to Join SWE!
  5. What Should My Team Be Doing Now?
  6. FIRST LEGO League Summer Camps
  7. Save the Date! KICKOFF August 29!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Team Financial Support, Robotics Camps, Adult Workshops, and More!

Greetings FIRST LEGO League Oregon,

In this newsletter you will find:

  1. Coach, Mentor, Parent, and Teen FIRST LEGO League Workshops
  2. ORTOP Team Financial Support 2017!
  3. Summer Showcase Teams NEEDED
  4. Robotics Camps Around Oregon - for team members!
  5. What is the FIRST LEGO League Season Pass, and Who is it for?
  6. Old Challenge Sets Are Available at ORTOP

Friday, May 19, 2017

National Registration is Open for HYDRO DYNAMICS

Greetings FIRST LEGO League Oregon,

Before today's post, here is the link to change your subscription to ORTOP mailings. If your team is moving up to FIRST Tech Challenge, please make sure you read the last few emails as a lot has happened the last two weeks!

In this post you will find:
  1. National Registration Now Open
  2. FIRST LEGO League Oregon Coach, Mentor, and Parent Workshops
  3. Team Financial Support Update
  4. Teacher, Principal, and Administrator workshops from LEGO Education and OMSI
  5. Summer Outreach Opportunities
  6. ORTOP is hiring
  7. Save the Date - HYDRO DYNAMICS Kickoff
Read Below or ONLINE

Monday, April 17, 2017

Preparing for Next Season

Greetings FIRST LEGO League Oregon,

In this post you will find:

  1. Good Luck Oregon Teams Going to the World Festival
  2. Good Luck teams participating in Invitationals in May
  3. Teams needed to do demonstrations on May 6
  4. Getting Ready for Hydro Dynamics
  5. DonorsChoose.org and Newscorp Partner for FIRST
1) Good Luck Oregon Teams Going to the World Festival
The FIRST World Championships and World Festival for Oregon teams will be in Houston, Texas on April 19-22nd. 

Representing Oregon will be:
FIRST LEGO League Jr team:
8286 Bumblebee Jr, Friends & Family, Portland - chosen by lottery in January

FIRST LEGO League our first place Champion's Award winners
11687, The Pandroids, Wy'east Middle School, Hood River
1833, The G.E.A.R.S. (Girls Engineering and Robotics Superstars), West Linn/Tualatin neighborhood team, Tualatin 

FIRST Tech Challenge teams:
750, Gears in Motion, Tigard High School, Tigard - Lottery Winner
3525, Dynamite Robotics, Banks High School, Banks - Lottery Winner
4855, Batteries in Black, Washington County 4H, Portland - 3rd Place Connect Award & Winning Alliance
7013, Hot Wired, Westview High School, Portland - 2nd Place Innovate Award
7750, Mechanical Maniacs, 4H, Sutherlin - Highest Ranked Team from Cascade Winning Division
8045, Gromit’s Grommets, Pleasant Hill High School, Pleasant Hill - Control Award Winner & Finalist Alliance
8176, Steelhead, Hood River Valley High School, Hood River - Think Award Winner; 3rd Place Motivate Award
9769, Total Chaos, Total Chaos 4H Club, Portland - Connect Award Winner
10060, Klamath Coyotes, Eagle Ridge High School, Klamath - 3rd Place Innovate Award

FIRST Robotics Competition teams are:
955, CV Robotics, Crescent Valley High School, Corvallis - Alternate
997, Spartan Robotics, Corvallis High School, Corvallis - Rankings
1425, Error Code Xero, Wilsonville High School, Wilsonville - Rankings
1540, Flaming Chickens, Catlin Gabel School, Portland - Chairmans
2990, Hotwire, Hotwire Robotics, Turner - Rankings
3024, My Favorite Team, Ashland High School, Ashland - Engineering Inspiration
4125, Confidential, Umatilla High School, Umatilla - Chairmans
4488, Shockwave, Glencoe High School, Hillsboro - Rankings
4662, Byte Sized Robotics, Scappoose High School, Scappoose - Rankings
5468, Chaos Theory, Summit High School, Bend - Lottery
5970, BeaverTronics, Beaverton High School, Beaverton - Rankings
6442, Modern Americans, Pendleton High School, Pendleton - Rookie All-Star
6443, Falcons, Liberty High School, Portland - Rookie All-Star
6445, CTEC Robotics, Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC), Salem - Rankings
2471, Team Mean Machine, Camas High School, Washougal High School, Hockinson High School, Camas WA - Rankings
3674, 4-H Clover Bots, Team 3674 4-H Clover Bots, Battleground WA - Rankings
2) Good Luck teams participating in Invitationals in May
Going to LEGOLAND's North America Open in May:
FIRST LEGO League second place Champion's Award winners
16182, Brainiacs with Blue, Portland Neighborhood, Portland
6493, Robotek Xtreme, Bethany Neighborhood, Portland

Going to the Razorback Open in Arkansas in May:
FIRST LEGO League third place Champion's Award winners
96, Gears In Motion, Stem4Girls, Portland
6246, Full STEAM, Wilsonville Neighborhood Team, Wilsonville

3) Teams needed to do demonstrations on May 6
ORTOP will be showcasing FIRST LEGO League at 2 different events.
FIRST LEGO League Jr at Evergreen Aviation Museum - two expos are being planned, one from 9:00am to 12:30pm and one from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.
Intel Ronler Acres Open House, ORTOP will have a FIRST LEGO League table and space to engage visitors at the Open House. Teams are needed to help from 10am to Noon and Noon to 2pm.

If your team would like to help at any of these events please complete this form.

4) Getting Ready for Hydro Dynamics
As we approach the end of the school year there is a LOT your team can be doing to prepare for next season. I've been thrilled to hear from many new teams that they are already hard at work doing the following things. I hope your team is too!

  • Recruit new coach, assistants, and mentors
    • Have them plan on attending Coach, Mentor, and Parent workshops hosted by ORTOP starting in June! (schedule to be posted in May)
  • Recruit new team members or start a new team that will share your space or that you can help through their first year.
  • Fundraise for registration and seasonal expenses - Registration opens in May for Hydro Dynamics!
  • Learn to use a sensor, or use a sensor in a new way! 
  • Showcase your robot or project at a local event or on the news! - if you do please send articles, video, or photos to ORTOP!
  • Start your investigations into the theme of water. What are problems that people are solving that involve water? What happens to the water you use every day? How does it get to your faucet, where does it go when it goes down the drain? What about other parts of the world? We don't know the restrictions on the new theme, but if your team has a good idea of what is happening in the world they will have a good background to choose their problem to solve. 
Even if your team members aren't meeting right now, it's a great time to plan the occassional work day or encourage team members and coaches to come together (even if it's virtually) to think about the new season. If you wait until school starts there will be a lot to do in a short amount of time. It's best to organize as much as possible BEFORE the summer starts!

5) DonorsChoose.org and Newscorp Partner for FIRST
Through a generous donation from NewsCorp in partnership with DonorsChoose.org, funding is available to help start or support a FIRST® team. Funding is available to any educator in a public or public charter school located in the United States, employed full time by the school or school district and works directly with students at least 75 percent of the time. Funding can be used for registration fees, materials, reasonable and customary FIRST team travel costs. Tell the educators in your area to visit www.donorschoose.org/first to get started

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Congratulations Champions, Lots of Announcements

Greetings FIRST LEGO League Oregon,

In this post you will find:
  1. Championship Recap and Thank you
  2. Winners Lists
  3. FIRST LEGO League table in Hood River
  4. What your team should be doing now
  5. Teacher EV3 learning opportunity March 18
  6. Photos from the State Championship - NEW LINK
  7. ODE FIRST Grant may not be available for 2017-2018
1) Championship Recap and Thank you
Thank you, everyone, for an amazing ANIMAL ALLIES season! We overcame the winter, we built amazing robots, and teams presented remarkable innovative solutions! This all came together at the Intel Oregon Championship Tournaments presented by Rockwell Collins and I am incredibly impressed by all of the teams I have seen this season. Whether your team just figured out how to get the LEGO technic pieces together, or you've been together 5 years building and innovating your way to bigger and newer solutions, it is obvious that we have a lot to look forward to next season!

We had 113 of our 450 FIRST LEGO League Oregon teams compete. Nearly 175 volunteers each day made our event special for everyone who attended. Thank you everyone who participated this season, and especially those of you who helped or participated at the state championships!

2) Winners Lists
Congratulations to all of our award winners!
Teams 11687 The Pandroids from Hood River and 1833 The G.E.A.R.S. from West Linn/Tualatin will represent Oregon at the FIRST World Festival in Houston Texas, April 19-22nd.
Teams 16182 Brainiacs with Blue, 6493 Robotek Xtreme, 96 Gears In Motion from Portland, and 6246 Full STEAM from Wilsonville have been invited to represent Oregon at the North America Open at LEGOLAND California, The Razorback Open at the University of Arkansas, and the Mountain State Open with NASA at Fairmont University in West Virginia.
Teams 2242 Bananas to Bats and 13557 The Meme Team were invited to submit their innovative solutions to the ANIMAL ALLIES challenge to the Global Innovation Award sponsored by X-Prize.

Good luck to all of Oregon's continuing teams!

3) FIRST LEGO League table in Hood River
Chana, in Hood River, has a table that needs a new team to give it a home. If your team needs a table for the coming HYDRO DYNAMICS season please email -see email for address-

4) What your team should be doing now
Many teams have already started organizing for next year.
Even if your team isn't actively meeting please work on these tasks - you will be thankful in the fall if you do!

  • Fundraising - decide who, where, and what!
  • Recruiting - both new team members and mentors
  • Decide your team structure, some teams are growing and may need to become two or more teams!
  • Set a meeting schedule
  • Plan to attend an ORTOP workshop this summer, make sure your team parents are invited!
  • Learn new programming and building techniques - there are lots of fun challenges around the internet your team can do, or make up your own! Feel free to share it with us in the comments or on Facebook!
  • Schools - now is the best time to recruit and get the team member commitment forms (if you use them) sent out for next year's teams!
5) Teacher EV3 learning opportunity March 18
There are still a few spaces for Oregon teachers looking to learn more. This workshop will get you programming the EV3 brick with touch and light sensors.  This curriculum that is working well to teach students programming and incorporate NGSS and other standards. Sign up online with Eventbrite or go to the main page to learn more.

6) Photos from the state championships - NEW LINK
ORTOP recently moved all of the state championship photos to a new service. We are also in the process of closing our account with Zenfolio as we will not need it any longer. Please find the photos at their new home. Better yet, we won't confuse you with new passwords!

7) ODE FIRST Grant may not be available for 2017-2018
For the last several years many of our public school, both after-school and in-class teams have benefited from the Oregon Department of Education FIRST Grant.  At this time, the grant is no longer in the state budget. If your school benefited from this award, or wanted to, please make that known! This document has some suggestions to help you get started.

I know some teachers are counting on this award opportunity, so please be aware this is happening. ORTOP is doing it's best to approach sponsors, both continuing and new, to continue to offer Team Financial Support Awards, however; we do not have promised funds to cover all teams at this time. If your employer or friends would like to support FIRST LEGO League in Oregon, now is a great time to get started!

My apologies for this post being so long. My inbox became very popular this week!

Best Wishes,

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Oregon Champions Announcement 9: Paperwork, Parking, and Schedules

Greetings FIRST LEGO League Champions,

Please read ALL of these items:

  1. Paperwork for Check-in
  2. Parking Instructions
  4. Detailed Schedules

1) Paperwork for Check-in
Nothing is ever official without paperwork. For some teams a lot has changed since December, for others, it's pretty much the same. Either way, I need paperwork from everyone! 

At Team Check-in (at 8am) through the Main Entrance of Glencoe High School the COACH needs these items to check-in the team. 
  • The FIRST Team Roster - as printed from the online system. This is required even if your team is using paper forms. This must be printed BEFORE your team arrives.
  • Additional Consent forms for any Coach/Chaperones and team members who are not in the electronic system. This includes Teen Mentor Helper who have requested a badge. No one will be allowed in the pit without their form turned in!  Paper consent forms must be signed by a parent or legal guardian for all minors.
  • Anyone with a paper consent form, must be legibly handwritten onto the the FIRST Team Roster printout.
What if I have different chaperone's, or a new coach of the day?
They must appear on the roster, either through the FIRST system as a mentor, or by being hand-written on and signing a consent form. 
I have a teen mentor helper, but they just turned 14 and FIRST won't let them in as a mentor. 
Any mentor's helper or 14-year-old who works with the team, who was not 14 before January 2016 is a TEAM MEMBER. Even if they are on a FIRST Tech Challenge team. Their role on the team is to lead and mentor younger team members. 
We merged teams, added new members, etc.
New team members need to be added to the Team Roster and have the appropriate consent forms. Your team MAY NOT have more than 10 team members, 11 is too many, 12 is right out.
Ok, I read everything, now where do I get forms?
Your official FIRST Team Roster is available the two coaches only from their FIRST Dashboard.
  • As a coach login to www.firstinspires.org (upper right corner)
  • Select the team that is going to state (if you have more than one) using the down arrow on the right side of the screen by the team name.
  • Go to Team Contacts
  • Make sure everything is correct and print the roster (honestly this part is a bit of a mystery to me as I'm not a coach). 

PLEASE MAKE SURE THE COACH IS THE ONLY ONE WHO STANDS IN LINE TO CHECK IN THE TEAM. Team members can wait for their coach to check-in in the hallway or cafeteria. Teams can not go to the pit area until the coach has completed check-in and given each member their wristband and sticker.

2) Parking Instructions
There is a large parking lot at Glencoe High School where team's can park. IT IS NOT on the same side as the entrance. To help make things easier, teams may unload their equipment in the small lot on the Southwest side of the school, but the drivers MUST drive to the North parking lot to park. The Southwest lot will be used by our Sponsors, VIPs and short visit guests. Please respect this request so that we may showcase the team's work to the public, and keep working to keep the cost of the program down for all teams. 

Once you park in the North Parking lot (right across the street from the shopping center) near the tennis courts or the football field, please walk along the West side of the building to reach the main entrance. Parents who drive kids separately are also asked to park in the North parking lot. If you are by the baseball field you are on the South side of the school. Both entrances have a stoplight.

At this time only 35 teams have replied to the live stream survey. I need 113 teams to reply to authorize a live stream of the event. Having a live stream is beneficial for our teams from South Oregon and Eastern Oregon, as well as team members with family in other states. However, there are safety concerns with having a live stream and our lawyer will not let me proceed without 100% response. Please check with every parent before answering

Thank you teams, 6246, 19025, 19023, 11326, 28895, 26570, 18225, 96, 27480, 24810, 3163, 16188, 26425, 17074, 19940, 14025, 7699, 24456, 2657, 9568, 18585, 21641, 12416, 15769, 8241, 8654, 13557, 27751, 1833, 17659, 28161, 23871, 11687, 28968, and 8317 for responding already!

4) Detailed Schedules
For your team's convenience, Detailed Schedules for both days have been posted BY TEAM NUMBER. You can download them from the Tournament Website. They are pdf files designed to print on very large paper, so you may need to resize them if you want to print them. 

Your team will be given a schedule that just lists their events as part of the team check-in.

This is a great time to give the Project judging to the up to 10 adults (space is limited) who you would like to witness the Project judging, from behind the team. It is also a good idea to plan your lunch break as it will be slightly different for each team. Each team should have one 30 minute break during the day, but it may not be during the traditional lunch time. If you are ordering lunch from Jersey Girl Pizza, make sure you have a parent to pick up the items and that you tell them the time you will be having your lunch break. Parents can walk to Jersey Girl Pizza using the cross-walk by the North parking lot entrance. 

I know this is a lot, and I'm verbose. This is going to be a great weekend. Good luck to all your teams!

Best Wishes,

Thursday, February 23, 2017

FIRST LEGO League Champions Announcement 8: One Week Away

Greetings FIRST LEGO League Champions,

In this post you will find:

  1. Pre-Tournament Letter and Parent's Letter
  2. Advice and Reminders for the Head Referee
  3. Team Checklist!
  4. Jersey Girl Pizza Update

1) Pre-Tournament Letter and Parent's Letter
Both the pre-tournament coaches' letter and an updated parent's letter have been posted on the Championship Information Page. Please take time to read through the coaches' letter. There are MANY things that have been modified for our new venue at Glencoe High School. The team expectations, judging, and core values remain the same, but some of the queuing, permeabilities, and parking information is DIFFERENT!

Big things to be aware of:
  • Main doors are for drop-off only NO PARKING IN FRONT OF THE SCHOOL!
  • No stairs!!!! Everything is on the main floor
  • NO FOOD OUTSIDE OF THE CAFETERIA - including the halls, please respect this and make sure your parents know too!  Water bottles are ok.
  • Seating during the ceremonies will be cozy. Prepare to make new friends!

2) Advice and Reminders for the Head Referee
Greetings Coaches and Teams! This note includes some new information, along with a reminder of some information that was sent in December after the qualifying tournaments.
Do you have questions? Contact Tom Mosher (Championships Head Referee) at <fll.rules.or@gmail.com>
General Guidance:
Teams may bring a small table or cart into the competition area for their off-field storage. Or, in addition to the two Technicians, teams may have a third team member who acts as a table. For safety reasons, nothing may be placed on the floor near the competition tables.
Remember when you interrupt your robot, any objects it was transporting, that are not completely in Base, will be removed from the table by the referee and not available for a rerun of the mission.  This is a consequence of the "interruption" rule (R14).  Similarly the "stranding rule" (R15) states any objects a robot has stranded that are partially outside of Base will be removed from the table by the referee.  (Note, however, any objects stranded completely outside of Base are left as is and potentially available for the robot to use from there.)  Please review both of these rules in the Animal Allies Challenge Guide.
Field Setup Notes:
  1. On the Panda slider model (M07), the location of the palm tree shown in the Challenge Guide (page 23) is incorrect. The palm tree will be placed as shown in the kit Build Instructions (Bag 3, see page 1 and 31) - the palm tree will be placed and angled away from the red axle (see the red arrow below):
2) The setup position for the Flamingo should be facing East (this is shown incorrectly in some FIRST sources).

3) The Flamingo and Bat models are shown incorrectly in the Field Setup Guide and the Challenge Guide. They should be built as shown in the Build Instructions - see the red arrows in the images below.

The back of the Flamingo should be inset two rows of studs from the edge of its base.
The Bat should be flush with the edge of its base.

Mission Notes:
M01 Shark Shipment: Per R11, the Shark and Tank can only be loosely combined. For example, after the match if the referee gently shakes the Tank, the Shark should be loose inside the Tank.
M03 Animal Conservation: Teams who perform this mission are expected to exhibit Gracious Professionalism and to not use a non-cooperative strategy. If a team uses a strategy that intentionally prevents the other team in the match from completing this mission, the referees may submit a Core Values Observation.
M05 Biomimicry: Interrupting the Robot while the Wall is supporting the Robot’s weight will result in an “Interruption” penalty and the loss of any Transported Objects (R15). The Interrupted Robot can be left on the Wall, but these penalties will apply. If the team is attempting M05 at the end of the match, the team may not turn the robot off before the match ends.
M06 Milking: Scoring any points on this mission requires all three Milk to roll out. In addition, if any of the Manure rolls out, the lower point value will be awarded. If all of the Milk and none of the Manure roll out, the higher point value will be awarded.
M09 Training and Research: In the definition of Transporting (D10), we interpret “contact” to include indirect contact. To illustrate, if A touches B, and B touches C, then A is touching C.
For example, if the Robot simultaneously moves multiple Manure Samples to the Training and Research Area using a container, the “More” rule for M09 is not met; the Robot is in direct contact with the container, and the container is in direct contact with the Manure samples. Therefore the Robot is in contact with more than one Manure sample.
The “More” rule for M09 applies any time any Manure Samples are being Transported – not just between Base and the Training and Research Area.
M10 Bee Keeping: If the team combines the Bee model with anything, R11 also applies.
M14 Milk on Ramp: For Options 2 and 3, the East or West edge of the Ramp may touch the Mat.

The Refrigerator (from M04) is an example of a model that can exhibit a lot of variability. For example, operating the Refrigerator by pushing on the plunger on the North side of the model may or may not result in the door re-closing as quickly as you expect. The behavior of the door is influenced by a lot of factors, including how far and how quickly the plunger is pushed and released. Robots that use a robust method will be rewarded with more consistent results. The refrigerator door is a very simple mechanism - so a model malfunction ruling is extremely unlikely.

Additionally, teams should expect similar mats to those they encountered at the Qualifying Tournaments. These mats are being stored in a rolled configuration to prevent ripping in storage and transit. The mats will be laid flat on Friday evening during the event setup, and nothing will be added to the mats to help them flatten other than gravity and smoothing by hand.

Smartphones and Bluetooth:
Coaches and mentors are advised against smartphone and tablet use in the Pits, Practice Tables, and the Competition area. The use of smartphones by adults must be limited to such apps as running a stopwatch, taking pictures, or emergency communication. Specifically, the use of any bluetooth-enabled Mindstorms programming application is prohibited under the "no touch" rule, unless the team members are doing the work. Violating the no-touch rule may result in team disqualification.

"We do the work" and the no-touch rule:
The ORTOP "Core Values Observation Policy" includes the following concepts:
  • We do the work with guidance from our coaches. Note that "We" means the team members, not any adults or teen mentors.
  • The team adults are to serve as mentors, not implementers.
  • Giving team verbal directives on programming and building, or during table competition, is a violation of the "no touch" rule.
  • A single flagrant violation of the "no touch" rule - including programming the robot or giving direct instructions to the team during table competition - is basis for award demotion - including disqualification.
These guidelines apply not only at the tournament - they apply during all your team activities during the entire FIRST LEGO League season.

3) Team Checklist!
I have reposted the Checklist for your teams! I know it's been a while since we've had an event. Please don't forget anything critical, use the checklist!

Not on the list, but good to have:
  • Core Values Judges are expecting Core Values Posters
  • One Extra Robot Design Introduction Page for your Pit Table and the Medal Ceremony

Whatever happens, make sure you have:
  • Your team members
  • One lead coach for each team (MUST BE OVER 18), must wear nametag with the star at the event.
  • The robot
  • Your TEAM ROSTER!!!!! and any needed additional consent forms. Even if you turned one in at your December event, your team MUST have a printed forms at this event. ORTOP does not have access to your electronic information in the FIRST system.

4) Jersey Girl Pizza Update
Thank you all teams for your interest in pre-ordering your Jersey Girl Pizzas and Subs! The website is only set-up for day of orders (oops), but the owners assure me that they are MORE THAN HAPPY to take phone orders BEFORE our event. 
Again 10% of all sales for the attendees of the Intel Oregon FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournament will come back to ORTOP for use with the FIRST LEGO League program!

Schedules will be posted mid-week. Please find your largest break to schedule for your lunch.

Sadly, I was not able to reserve a room block with a nearby hotel. I will use your teams' interest to see if we can make this happen for next year's Championships. 

Best Wishes,