FIRST LEGO League Q&A

What is the Robotics Club?

The Robotics Club is a program that is run similar to Odyssey of the Mind (OOTM). It’s through FLL (FIRST LEGO League) and is available to students in grades 4-8. Teams form and work together to build and program robots using LEGO’s EV3 bricks and Mindstorms software and attempt to score points by having their robots interact with obstacles (“missions”) on a playing board. Teams register for tournaments and compete against other schools in regional competitions midway through the school year. In addition to the LEGO building/programming portion, there is a large team research project and presentation that is scored by judges.

How can my child participate?

At the end of May each school year, an invitation is sent home to all Broadalbin-Perth students who will be entering grades 4-8. Over the summer, parent volunteers take on groups of five to seven students who returned the invitation and attended an info night in June. Most students who return the invitation will find a spot on a team, but it’s not guaranteed. Much is dependent on parent/coach volunteers and the strength of student interest. Students who express interest after the school year begins are put on a waiting list until the following season.

When do teams meet? How long is the season?

Teams begin meeting at the end of August when the “challenge” is released and continue to meet through competition season, which ends in February. The coaches set weekly meeting times and a location that works best for the team. Usually, it’s for a few hours per week at either the coach’s house or one of the robotics rooms at school. December through February, teams start meeting more frequently as competition day nears. With such a heavy workload, we ask that students not participate in OOTM and FLL simultaneously.

Does it cost anything?

Our school registers teams and buys the necessary kits. Parent cost is kept at a minimum. The only required purchase is a team T-shirt to wear at tournaments.

Are third-graders eligible to participate?

At this time, third grade is an “in limbo” year for FLL. Second-grade students have the opportunity to join our Junior FLL team at the The Learning Community with Mrs. Sullivan and Mrs. Staie.

What is Mr. Aery’s role?

Art teacher Jon Aery is the coordinator/mentor of all of the teams in the program. The middle school teams meet in his room after school to receive guidance on their research project portion of the season. If any parents have questions about the program, they can email him at aeryj@bpcsd.org.