Summer Is Flying By

Posted by Lori Dale On July 26, 2020 Comments Off on Summer Is Flying By

It is nearly August and the Gearheads are not meeting yet, but we are anxiously waiting to see what will happen with the schools in District 742 and whether we will be able to meet as in previous years.

We hope to be back in the Woods Lab at Apollo soon! We will announce when we are going to start meeting as soon as we know. Once that happens, we will gladly welcome new/potential team members to come to visit. We accept any student in grades 8-12 who wants to be a part of our team, though we are primarily aimed at students living in District 742.

In other news, our ‘little brother’ team the RoboWarriors from St. Cloud Christian School will be having a Kick-Off meeting on August 4th. That is the day that FIRST issues the game reveal for the FLL (Challenge) teams. We know that the season name is Replay, and we have seen what the field will look like. Here is a picture:

I (Lori) am the administrative mentor so I have the joy of being the person who receives the kit in the mail. The kit came this week. I am excitedly waiting until the meeting to open it so that everyone gets to see it at the same time. I can’t wait to see what the game design people have in mind! Until then we can only make guesses as to what we do with the game pieces.

Here is a picture of the robot our team built last year. It is shown on one of the practice tables at our tournament in Alexandria last December

I want to add a word about FLL, in case anyone is not familiar with the term. FLL stands for FIRST LEGO League. FIRST recently added a new division to FLL. There are now 3 programs/divisions. Students in all 3 FLL programs build robots with LEGO parts, because who doesn’t love LEGO’s?

Starting with preschool-1st grade there is FIRST LEGO League Discover, this is a new program. It will be interesting to see how it is implemented. The FIRST website says this about the program:
For children ages 4-6, this playful introductory STEM program ignites their natural curiosity and builds their habits of learning with hands-on activities in the classroom and at home using LEGO® DUPLO® bricks.

The next program is FIRST LEGO League Explore for grades 2-4. This program was called FLL, Jr. until the addition of the newest division for younger students. In FLL Explore, students study the game topic, build a basic motor, and make a presentation at a showcase. This program is non-competitive.

The last (oldest) group is FIRST LEGO League Challenge. That is the division that the RoboWarriors are a part of. Students build a robot to accomplish as many of the 14-15 challenges that are a part of the game as they are able to do in 2 minutes and 15 seconds. There is also an engineering/innovation challenge as a part of the game. Students are challenged to come up with a new invention or service related to the game challenge, or an improvement on an existing one. Students compete on tables side-by-side with other teams.

For further information about the program and starting a team in your neighborhood or school, you can contact me at the team gmail:, or check out the FIRST website at

or the Minnesota affiliate


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