Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Lights Run; Lego League Tournament

Christmas Lights Run
Friday night I went to the Start Line (local running store) for a beautiful night time run around the marsh and through neighborhoods to view the Christmas lights. It was a full moon, so we really didn't even need our headlamps. Afterward, the owner, Charles, had wine and sandwiches for us. How can you NOT love Minnesotans - we definitely make the best of our less-than-desirable weather.

Out on the run. Hard to see but there is a great light display behind us:

Me with Jessie and Charles:

Post run spread at the store:

Lego League

What? You never heard of Lego League? I hadn't either until we switched schools, and Heritage Christian Academy has a team. 
Bobby loves Legos, so when he learned that five other kids in his class were on the team, he decided to join and be the 6th member. It's been amazing. It's sponsored by 3M and there are 160,000 kids worldwide who participate. Here's what they do:

Build a robot (base materials are Legos) that can accomplish tasks on a field course. 
You use a little computer to program your instructions and if successful, your robot will accomplish it. The course is a vinyl mat on a table, and all the teams get the same mat to practice on and to compete on. But the robots each team made varied widely, and had assorted attachments. The robot has to maneuver around the course, performing tasks, like picking up and dropping Lego people into a specific area, knocking Lego boulders off of rubber rings, pulling levers, turning out lights, etc. So these 5th graders used motion detectors, light sensors, and battery operated motors to program their robot to do all this stuff - I was so amazed and impressed. 

They also had to perform a 5 minute skit about Climate change. Theirs was a TV newscast. It was great!

Next they had a head-to-head competition with the 32 other teams. 

Anyway, their team is called Steel Claws, and at the tournament yesterday they won 1st Place in Programming and came in 2nd Place Overall, so they are going on to the State Tournament next month! 

The boys were so excited they were jumping up and down. They really worked hard on this project.

The boys with their 1st place plaque for Programming: Daniel, bobby, Spencer, Isaac, Josh, and Tanner in front.

What a smart way for 3M to get kids inventing stuff - then 3M can hire these little geniuses in the future!