FIRST LEGO League Challenge Kickoff Celebration and Conference

Whether already registered or still deciding whether or not to coach a FIRST LEGO League Challenge team this year, you and your team are invited to attend this year’s Virtual Kickoff Celebration and Conference! This will be a great opportunity to learn from and share ideas with both new and experienced coaches and teams about promising practices for a successful and enjoyable season. The fun starts with the Kickoff Celebration on Saturday, October 3 and the learning continues with the Kickoff Conference from Monday, October 5 – Friday, October 9.

FIRST LEGO League Challenge

Kickoff Celebration Agenda

October 3

Time (EDT) Description Audience
10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.  Welcome from FIRST Canada  Coaches and Students
10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.  Keynote Speaker: Tai Young Coaches and Students
10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Meet the teams Coaches and Students
11:00 a.m. – 11: 30 a.m. Robot Game Coaches and Students
11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Robot Game Q & A Coaches and Students
11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Kahoot & Closing Remarks Coaches and Students
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Program Updates for Coaches Coaches
1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Coach Networking Session Coaches
2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m Panel Discussion: Promising Practices Coaches
2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  Game & Closing Remarks Coaches

Kickoff Conference Workshops – Monday, October 5

 

Time
(EDT)

Description

Speaker

6 PM
  • Coaching Strategies for Robot Game Success
  • Home Educating with FLL Challenge
  • Ultimate Guide to a Winning Presentation
  • Richard McMullin
  • Melanie Glassford
  • FTC Team 15534 VERTEX
7 PM
  • Managing Chaos: How to Effectively Run FLL Challenge Teams
  • Running an FLL Explore Team alongside your FLL Challenge Team
  • Virtual Robotics Toolkit
  • Taegen Poles
  • Christine Bibic
  • Annika Pint

Workshop Descriptions & Presenter Bios - 6:00 p.m. Sessions

Workshop Title

Description

Presenter

Presenter Bio

Coaching Strategies for Robot Game Success

Many new and experienced teams have great projects and core values but struggle with the basics of the Robot Game. In this basic workshop, learn how to coach for success at the Robot Game by using the kit bot and basic move blocks to score lots of points on the robot table! 

Richard McMullin

Richard has been coaching FLL Challenge teams for over ten years. His teams regularly qualify for the Ontario Provincial Championships and have even travelled to international competitions. Richard is an engineer and entrepreneur. His company, Altairix, creates custom, cloud-based software solutions.

Home Educating with FLL Challenge and Beyon

Do you want to introduce STEM skills to your kids or students but aren’t sure how? Are you homeschooling and would love to add FLL Challenge to your education plan? Have you ever wondered how community-based teams start and operate? In this workshop, attendees will learn how to start and run a team, the benefits to your whole family and how to run a team, even through COVID-19. Some common challenges, along with how to overcome them, will also be discussed, as well as FIRST programs for older students.

Melanie Glassford

Melanie has been homeschooling for the past 8 years, throughout which time she has taught STEAM skills to all ages. Over the past two years, she has coached 3 rookie FLL Challenge teams, helped to facilitate a local FLL Challenge Kickoff event and has volunteered with the FRC program. Melanie has a passion for creating opportunities for parents and kids to connect through learning together and it is important to her to give kids tools to use technology responsibly and build ethical intelligence. This year she will be coaching a rookie FTC team and continues to mentor with FRC Team 7480 Machine Mavericks.

Ultimate Guide to a Winning Presentation

This workshop is about how to communicate ideas clearly and effectively during presentations, with a focus on promoting and teaching robotics and on being informative while engaging. Speaking and presenting skills are essential in every field, including robotics, and we hope that this workshop will help you and your future FIRST teams to spread knowledge and love of robotics!

FTC Team 15534 VERTEX

Team 15534 VERTEX is an award-winning FTC team, consisting of a diverse group of students who are passionate about using knowledge in robotics and STEAM to benefit the larger community. This third-year team has inspired hundreds of students of all ages to pursue further education and careers in STEAM fields by giving tutorials, holding workshops, and speaking at International STEAM Festivals. VERTEX hopes to encourage others to discover the engineering world, embrace differences via Gracious Professionalism and keep pushing towards a larger goal of unity.

Workshop Descriptions & Presenter Bios - 7:00 p.m. Sessions

Workshop Title

Description

Presenter

Presenter Bio

Managing Chaos: How to Effectively Run FLL Challenge Teams

It can feel hectic coaching FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams! In this workshop, participants will explore a few different team structures and learn how to make them as efficient as possible so that you can handle a large cohort of kids, both in-person and online.

Taegen Poles

Taegen Poles is the Lead Mentor for the W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics FIRST LEGO League Challenge Teams, running four teams this past fall. She is a FIRST Alumna, mentor of FRC Team 4476 and President of the Queen’s University FIRST Robotics Club. She is currently in her final year of study for her Mechanical and Material Engineering degree, having recently returned from a 16-month co-op program as a Quality Control Engineer.

Running an FLL Explore Team alongside your FLL Challenge Team

Engage younger siblings (and others) and get them prepared to join your FIRST LEGO League Challenge team through FIRST LEGO League Explore! Participants will learn about this program for youth ages 6 – 10 years old and learn tips for running a FIRST LEGO League Explore team alongside a FIRST LEGO League Challenge team.

Christine Bibic

Christine has over 10 years experience coaching FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams has attended World Festival twice as a FIRST LEGO League Challenge coach. She has also coached teams in all other FIRST programs and has organized many FIRST LEGO League Qualifying tournaments.

Virtual Robotics Toolkit

The Virtual Robotics Toolkit is a robotics simulator, designed for use with LEGO Mindstorms, that allows users to design, build, program and test virtual robots without the need for physical equipment or space for testing. Join this session to learn about some of the basic capabilities and applications of this powerful learning tool and lean how to access curriculum-based lessons and additional resources. 

Annika Pint

Annika is a mechanical engineering graduate and educator who strives to inspire youth, especially girls and young women, to pursue studies and careers in STEM fields. During her time as a classroom and centrally assigned teacher at the TDSB, she coached award-winning FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams and supported the curricular integration of coding and robotics in classrooms throughout the school board. She is currently the Program Manager for FIRST LEGO League Challenge at FIRST Canada, where she continues to support the curricular integration of robotics and the formation of robotic teams at schools and in communities across Ontario.  

Kickoff Conference Workshops – Tuesday, October 6

Time
(EDT)

Description

Speaker

6 PM
  • EV3 Programming
  • FLL Overview, Deliverables and Incorporating Core Values
  • Intermediate Programming – Line Following & Colour Sensor Calibration
  • Angelina Tseng & Zachary Xie
  • FLL Challenge Team 37524 Planet Robotics
  • Daniel and Brianna Gonzalez
7PM
  • Core Values Deep Dive
  • Building Tips & Tricks: Strong Robots & Effective Attachments
  • FRC Team 7480 Machine Mavericks
  • Logan and Eden Bibic

Workshop Descriptions & Presenter Bios - 6:00 p.m. Sessions

Workshop Title

Description

Presenter

Presenter Bio

EV3 Programming

In this workshop, participants will learn the basics of programming using LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Lab software, learn how code affects a robot’s performance and reliability and be inspired by the experiences of a internationally-renowned FIRST LEGO League challenge team.

Angelina Tseng & Zachary Xie

Angelina and Zachary are experts in programming using the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 software to program robots for FIRST LEGO League Challenge competitions. They have twice participated in international competitions and their team won both the Robot Performance Award and the Champions Award at World Festival! 

FLL Overview, Deliverables and Incorporating Core Values

This workshop will explore the three components of the FIRST LEGO League Challenge program, goal-setting and how to establish and follow realistic timelines. The presenters will suggest resources to help improve the Innovation Project, including field trips and experts, recommend strategies for success in the Robot Game, including documenting the Engineering Design process, and recommend ways to demonstration the Core Values throughout the season.

FLL Challenge Team 37524 Planet Robotics

Planet Robotics is a third-year neighbourhood team from Providence, Rhode Island. They were the Champion’s Award-winning team from Rhode Island and were destined for the 2020 World Festival in Detroit. They participated in Virtual Open Invitational 2020 and Razorback Invitational in Arkansas 2019. Recently, their Smart Trash Can project from the 2019-20 City Shaper season earned them fourth place alternate for Global Innovation Award semi-finalist. A fun fact about this team is that they teach free Rubik’s Cube Workshops and have taught over 100 kids how to solve the 3×3 cube!

Intermediate Programming – Line Following & Colour Sensor Calibrationa

In this workshop, participants will learn about two-stage line following and light sensor calibration to help your robot better navigate the Challenge mat. Daniel and Brianna Gonzalez Daniel and Brianna are former members of internationally renowned FLL Challenge team 5831 CTRL-Z and have 15 years of combined FIRST experience. They are excited to share their extensive knowledge of programming, as well as lessons learned while hosting a virtual coding camp this summer, with conference participants.

Workshop Descriptions & Presenter Bios - 7:00 p.m. Sessions

Workshop Title

Description

Presenter

Presenter Bio

Core Values Deep Dive

This webinar will focus on how teams can internalize the FIRST core values. Teams will learn strategies for active listening, empathy, and other skills outside of the core values that will enrich their ability to work as a team. Moreover, we will give ideas for socially distant team building activities. Finally, we will provide insights gathered from Core Values judges on how to avoid common mistakes in the judging room and things that differentiate a good team from a great one.

FRC Team 7480 Machine Mavericks

Austin, Charlotte, and Ella have 13 years of combined experience in FIRST. In addition to winning many Champion’s awards, Ella’s team was short-listed for the Core Values award at the Carlsbad Invitational World Championship and Austin won the Core Values award at his regional tournament. Ella and Charlotte both have experience mentoring teams at the provincial level and successfully developing Core Values in rookie and veteran teams.

Building Tips & Tricks: Strong Robots & Effective Attachments

In this workshop, participants will learn some of the building tips and tricks to help their FIRST LEGO League Challenge team experience success in the Robot Game. Topics discussed will include strong building techniques, modularity, and simplicity in design, with specific examples.

Logan and Eden Bibic

Logan and Eden both have five years of experience on a successful W.A.F.F.L.E.S. FIRST LEGO League Challenge team, advancing to the provincial level several years and to the World Festival twice in Eden’s experience. Since graduating, they have both stayed involved in the program as mentors and event referees and have worked as counsellors at the W.A.F.F.L.E.S. LEGO robotics summer camps, where they teach programming concepts and help students to design and build their own robots. They are excited to share their knowledge through these workshops and hope that FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams across Ontario find them helpful!

COMING SOON

Kickoff Conference Workshops – Wednesday, October 7

Time
(EDT)

Description

Speaker

6PM
  • Preparing a Project from the Starting to the Finish Line
  • Coaching & Fostering Inclusive Robotics Teams
  • Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at FIRST
  • FRC Team 7480 Machine Mavericks
  • Nicole Buchanan
  • Annika Pint
7PM
  • FLL Challenge RePLAY Build-a-thon
  • Tips to Save Time On & Off the Robot Game Table
  • FLL Explore to FLL Challenge
  • FRC Team 7480 Machine Mavericks
  • Logan and Eden Bibic
  • FLL Challenge Team 50857 IncredGirls

Workshop Descriptions & Presenter Bios - 6:00 p.m. Sessions

Workshop Title

Description

Presenter

Presenter Bio

Preparing a Project from the Starting to the Finish Line

This workshop will outline a successful approach to preparing a good project from start to finish. Teams will learn how to choose a good problem, incorporate science into their innovations, and consult experts. They will also learn how to divide the work, perform research, iterate on their prototypes, and document their progress. Finally, they will learn how to present their project effectively to a panel of judges. When they are ready, participating teams will also have the opportunity to receive feedback on their finished presentations!

FRC Team 7480 Machine Mavericks

Mackenzie, Nicolas, Olivia and Oliver have 18 years of combined experience in FIRST. Collectively, they have won 6 project awards, including 1st place for Innovative Solution at the 2018 Detroit World Festival. Oliver and Olivia also mentor L-Cubed, the FIRST LEGO League Challenge team that won the Innovation award at the 2020 Ontario Innovation Celebration.

Coaching & Fostering Inclusive Robotics Teams

In this workshop, participants will learn about an amazing school at which the robotics program has grown over the past 5 years from one team of 6 boys to nine teams of over 60 students, including 31 girls and 3 students with moderate to severe disabilities. The goal of the program is to never turn away a student who wants to participate, is built on the premise that everyone can excel in robotics and prioritizes learning over winning. Participants will learn how to establish and maintain such an inclusive program by setting and managing expectations, including everyone regardless of (dis)ability, successfully structure meetings, troubleshooting behavior and building bridges within the community.

Nicole Buchanan

Nicole Buchanan received her undergraduate degree in education at Springfield College in Massachusetts, where she started her teaching career. She moved to San Diego in 2001 and taught middle school science for 14 years in San Diego Unified Schools. During this time, Nicole was honored as an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Lego Master Educator. Nicole is a proud mom of four and now loves being able to teach science and robotics part time at her children’s school, Kelly Elementary. Her primary focus is on innovation, collaborative learning and fun. She pushes the importance of learning through student inquiry. She directs students toward outside-the-box innovative thinking, digging deeper, and finding a passion to become change makers of the future.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at FIRST

FIRST has created a series of free training modules not only for coaches, mentors and volunteers who work directly with students but also for team members who are committed to identifying and removing barriers to the creation and sustainability of diverse, inclusive teams. In this workshop, we will explore the training modules, designed to equip coaches and teams with strategies to recruit and retain team members through the creation of equitable and inclusive learning environments.

Annika Pint

Annika is a mechanical engineering graduate and educator who strives to inspire youth, especially girls and young women, to pursue studies and careers in STEM fields. During her time as a classroom and centrally assigned teacher at the TDSB, she coached award-winning FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams and supported the curricular integration of coding and robotics in classrooms throughout the school board. She is currently the Program Manager for FIRST LEGO League Challenge at FIRST Canada, where she continues to support the curricular integration of robotics and the formation of robotic teams at schools and in communities across Ontario.  

Workshop Descriptions & Presenter Bios - 7:00 p.m. Sessions

Workshop Title

Description

Presenter

Presenter Bio

FLL Challenge RePLAY Build-a-thon

In this workshop, participants will learn how students on a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team approach this year’s FLL Challenge game. Groups of FRC students have each built and programmed a robot in a short period of time to complete missions on this year’s RePLAY game field. By demonstrating their process, FLL Challenge students will learn strategic design and programming principles that they can apply to this year’s game. This process is based on the successful “Robot in three days” model seen in the FRC program. The goal of this project is not to build a robot for teams to copy, but to demonstrate a series of different approaches to design and strategy used by experienced FLL participants.

FRC Team 7480 Machine Mavericks

Austin, Mackenzie, Nicolas, Ella, Olivia, Oliver, Charlotte, Ben, Sarah, Ethan and Zoe have 42 year of combined FIRST experience. Notable FLL awards include 2 provincial programming awards, 2 provincial robot performance awards and 7 other robot awards. Since graduating from FLL Challenge, they continue to expand their design and programming abilities on FRC Team 7480, the Machine Mavericks.

Tips to Save Time On & Off the Robot Game Table

In this workshop, participants will learn some of the time-saving tips and tricks to help them experience success on and off the Robot Game table. Topics discussed will include tips to save your team time before and during competitions, ranging from commenting and version control while programming, to planning out robot runs and navigating the field table.

Logan and Eden Bibic

Logan and Eden both have five years of experience on a successful W.A.F.F.L.E.S. FIRST LEGO League Challenge team, advancing to the provincial level several years and to the World Festival twice in Eden’s experience. Since graduating, they have both stayed involved in the program as mentors and event referees and have worked as counsellors at the W.A.F.F.L.E.S. LEGO robotics summer camps, where they teach programming concepts and help students to design and build their own robots. They are excited to share their knowledge through these workshops and hope that FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams across Ontario find them helpful!

From FLL Explore to FLL Challenge

In this workshop, participants will learn how one team made the transition from the FIRST LEGO League Explore program to the FIRST LEGO League Challenge program and learn tips about how to have a successful rookie year.

FLL Challenge Team 50857 IncredGirls

This team participated in the FIRST LEGO League Explore program for two years before “graduating” to the FIRST LEGO League Challenge program. They are a group of grade 4 girls who have been friends for a long time and although they have different interests, they all love to have fun while participating in FIRST LEGO League Challenge.

Kickoff Conference Workshops – Thursday, October 8

Time
(EDT)

Description

Speaker

6 PM
  • Project Topic Selection & Research
  • 2020-21 RePLAY Season Strategy
  • STEM Hub Journal – Communication Platform & Teambuilding Tool
  • FLL Challenge Team 578 Tiger Techs Team Orange
  • Dr. X Academy
  • FTC Team 14437 Ro2D2
7PM
  • How to Develop a Robot Strategy
  • Robot Reliability
  • PyBricks MicroPython Programming
  • FLL Challenge Team 577 Tiger Techs Team Black
  • FRC Team 8027 Not the Droids You Are Looking For
  • Yannick Yu

Workshop Descriptions & Presenter Bios - 6:00 p.m. Sessions

Workshop Title

Description

Presenter

Presenter Bio

Project Topic Selection & Research

Teams will learn about the process of conducting research and of picking a project topic that are applicable for teams meeting either in-person or virtually. The rubric will be used as guide to help develop this process.

FLL Challenge team 578 Tiger Techs Team Orange

Team 578 Sharon Tiger Techs Team Orange are known in their community for their outreach events spreading STEM and robotics to area children who would otherwise not be able to experience it. Two years ago, Team Orange was Southwest Pennsylvania’s Champions’ Award recipient. The team then advanced to the World Festival in Detroit, where the team received the First Place Inspiration Award! This season, Tiger Techs Team Orange were the Champion’s Award Runner Up in Southwest Pennsylvania and were destined for the Carolina Open in Myrtle Beach until the pandemic hit. The team was also a Global Innovation Award Semi-Finalist and was able to travel to San Jose, California for the event.

2020-21 RePLAY Season Strategy

In this workshop, participants will learn about one team’s approach to this year’s RePLAY Challenge and be inspired to develop creative solutions of their own.

Dr. X Academy

This group of experienced FIRST LEGO League Challenge team members from Dr. X Academy of Coding and Robotics is excited to share their knowledge and experience with conference attendees. 

STEM Hub Journal – Communication Platform & Teambuilding Tool

The workshop will highlight the importance of digital journalism as a tool for the improvement of communication between robotics teams, but also as a means of improving team building skills during a time when restrictions on gathering size and social distancing affect our ability to meet in the same ways as we have in the pas

FTC Team 14437 Ro2D2

Members of the Ro2D2 FTC robotics team.

Workshop Descriptions & Presenter Bios - 7:00 p.m. Sessions

Workshop Title

Description

Presenter

Presenter Bio

How to Develop a Robot Strategy

In this workshop, teams will learn how to develop an effective robot strategy using various tools that applicable for teams that are meeting wither in-person or virtually. The rubric will be used as guide to help develop this process.

FLL Challenge team 577 Tiger Techs Team Black

FLL Challenge Team 577 Sharon Tiger Techs Team Black has had the opportunity to compete in several international events. This past season, they were the Champion’s Award winners in Southwest Pennsylvania and were destined for the World Festival in Detroit until the pandemic hit. Two years ago, Team Black was Southwest Pennsylvania’s Second Place Champions’ Award winner, who then advanced to the North American Open at LEGOLAND California, where they also received the Second Place Champions’ Award. The Tiger Techs Teams value outreach and are heavily involved in their community, holding outreach events for thousands of children each year.

Robot Reliability

Building and programming a reliable robot is a very important component of FIRST LEGO League Challenge. It is also what teams find the most challenging and frustrating. Whether you are a rookie or an experienced team, creating a reliable robot is essential. In this workshop, participants will learn how to build a solid robot to increase reliability, along with specific programming techniques to make either your LEGO Mindstorms EV3 or SPIKE Prime robot perform consistently.

FRC Team 8027 Not the Droids You Are Looking For

Arvind and Sanjay have a decade of experience in FIRST LEGO League Challenge. They were the World Champion’s Award winning team in 2018. Prior to that, they also won the Coach Award in 2017 and the First Place Programming Award at the 2016 at World Festival. In addition, they are the founders and authors of the lessons on EV3Lessons.com, Primelessons.org and FLLTutorials.com. Their lessons and resources are used by nearly a million users globally. They enjoy supporting FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams and giving back to the FIRST community.

PyBricks MicroPython Programming

This workshop offers a beginner’s guide to getting started with programming and debugging using PyBricks MicroPhython

Yanick Yu

Yannick is a Senior Software Engineering Manager in the Cyber Security sector, Lead Mentor of LFL Challenge team 51093 Lightning TECH and is the proud father of a human son and a canine daughter.

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