Guest Post written by FLL Team Project Bucephalus, Wallongong, Australia
FRC in LEGO-scale – that’s how an Australian FLL team promoted FIRST and gave children a taste of the different FIRST programs. A school holiday Robotics workshop featured a FRC-themed day where the highlight was a LEGO Mindstorms version of the 2010 FRC game “Breakaway”.
Project Bucephalus is a team of home-schooled children from Wollongong, Australia. The team has been participating in the FLL since the 2010 “Body Forward” season. To fund the team and provide opportunities for local children, the team runs regular workshops at the University of Wollongong.
The team wanted something special for the culmination of their most recent LEGO robotics workshop focused on Bluetooth communication and remote control. Inspired by material provided by FRC team 3132 “Thunder Down Under”, Project Bucephalus tried for something new! The team created a playing area mimicking the goals, ramps, and tunnels of the Breakaway field, and developed a game incorporating as many elements of the 2010 FRC game as possible.
Taught by the Project Bucephalus members, pairs of students aged 7-13 used LEGO Mindstorms to design, build, and program a robot to compete in the game, and a handset to control the robot. This was the final Challenge after spending the previous two days learning about Advanced Mindstorms programming and Bluetooth communication.
The FLL version of Breakaway saw the formation of Red and Blue alliances with different players each game. Points were earned by scoring goals and by finishing the game balanced on ramps or fitting within the tunnels.
The children worked intensely to finish their creations in time for the mini-tournament, with excitement and sense of competition growing as the day went by. The finals were hotly contested and were observed by cheering parents and siblings.
Whilst the field was obviously created with both limited budget and preparation time, Project Bucephalus would be more than happy to share the details with anyone wanting to run or improve on the event.
Those interested in seeing some footage compiled by the team members should visit http://youtu.be/Q_uGTw6yzZM.
Good luck to all teams participating in the Senior Solutions season!