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Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program


Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program II. Coaching/Mentoring Techniques Workshop for Mindstorms NXT 2011 Opening doors to the worlds of science and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program

Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program
II. Coaching/Mentoring Techniques Workshop for
Mindstorms? NXT
Opening doors to the worlds of science and
technology for Oregons youth
Instructor Contacts
Ken Cone ken_cone_at_ous.edu 503-725-2918
Dale Jordan Dale_A_Jordan_at_msn.com
ORTOP Project Administrator
Cathy Swider Cathy_Swider_at_ous.edu (503) 725-2920
Todays Goals
  • Focus on being a coach or mentor using
    Mindstorms? NXT robotics kits
  • I hope you leave
  • Feeling more comfortable about your role
  • Having some more tools in your bag of tricks
  • Understanding better what it takes to solve a
  • Having gotten your questions answered
  • Have some fun!!

  • Review our Mission
  • Forming your team
  • Registering your team
  • Equipping your team
  • Managing your team
  • Body Forward Challenge kit from 2010
  • Use NXT Robots from last week to program more
    with the Mindstorms? NXT Software

Our Mission
Were asking you to help us!
  • Program not just about building robots and
    competing in tournaments
  • Teach skills
  • Specific technical skills
  • General life skills
  • Show that technical problem solving can be fun
  • The youngsters do the work Coaches Honor Code
    and Team Promise
  • Open up the possibility of technical careers
  • One secret opportunity

Forming Your Team
Where Teams Come From
  • School Based
  • In class Perhaps 45 minutes a day
  • After school Perhaps 1.5 hours 2 to 4 times a
  • Special block Several hours once a week
  • Club Based
  • Probably after school or evening
  • Independent team
  • After school, evenings, or weekends
  • We encourage you to find and include youngsters
    that normally would not have this exposure

Not a Drop-In Program
  • This is a project oriented program
  • Parents and team members need to understand the
    commitment required
  • Team members need to be available on a consistent
    basis to move their parts of the project forward
    from the first meetings through the season-end

FIRST TeamUp Program
  • A program at FIRST to help teams find team
    members or place extra youngsters on teams in
    their area.
  • Pay attention to the caveats and disclaimers
    noted at the site.
  • https//my.usfirst.org/FIRSTPortal/login/fc_Login.

Where to Meet
  • Large enough space to handle the number of
    youngsters on the team
  • Space for challenge field setup 4x8
  • Access to a computer
  • Storage space between meetings
  • Challenge table
  • Partially built robot
  • LEGO? parts

Team size
  • High initial interest may fade
  • Sub-teams of 2-3 can work in parallel
  • Experiment with prototypes
  • Learn programming techniques
  • Work on the project
  • Maximum team size allowed is 10
  • 5 to 7 team members is probably ideal

You Need Adults, Too!
  • Coach The person in charge
  • Organizes the team
  • Does not need to be a techie
  • Mentor The technical guru
  • Provides technical advice
  • Provides the technical basics
  • One person can play both roles
  • But, dont go it alone
  • Recruit other adults to supervise sub-teams

Coach The Person in Charge
  • Single point of contact for team
  • Understands the FLL and ORTOP programs
  • Management expertise more important than
    technical expertise
  • Point of contact for FIRST and ORTOP info
  • Recruits the team
  • Registers the team
  • Arranges for equipment
  • Schedules meetings
  • Sets the philosophy and instills team spirit
  • Is a good role model

Mentor The Technical Guru
  • Technical Advisor to assist the coach
  • Teaches both robot design and programming
  • Helps set achievable goals
  • Encourages structured problem solving
  • Follow typical engineering project models
  • Experiment with one variable at a time
  • Graduates of FLL can work as mentors

General Advice to All Adults
  • This is the kids project, not yours
  • Be a good role model
  • Keep a positive attitude
  • Encourage teamwork and insist on mutual respect
  • Dont over emphasize winning demonstrating a
    solution at a tournament is success
  • Have fun

FLL Core Values
  • We are a team.
  • We do the work to find the solutions with
    guidance from our coaches and mentors.
  • We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
  • What we discover is more important than what we
  • We share our experiences with others.
  • We display gracious professionalism in everything
    we do.
  • We have fun.

FLL Core Values Team Observations
  • Tournament officials observe teams during
  • Looking for exceptional positive or negative
    demonstrations of FLL Core Values
  • Observations can impact a teams score either
    positively or negatively

No-Touch Rule
  • Youngsters design, build, and program their
  • Youngsters are responsible for project work
  • During tournament, no adult may touch the
    computer keyboard, mouse, robot, robot
    attachments, or project materials.
  • Giving verbal directives on programming and
    building or during table competition is a
  • Same guidelines apply for team meetings

Registering Your Team
Team Registration
  • National registration through FLL
  • May through end of September or when max reached
  • 225 FLL registration fee
  • Receive Coaches Handbook, web forum access, DVDs
    on FIRST and FLL, and support
  • Optional ordering of kits
  • First-Come-First-Served, so REGISTER EARLY!!

Purchases at FLL Registration
  • Registration fee 225
  • FLL Robot Set (NXT) 420
  • Field set-up kit 65
  • Extra parts rechargeable battery and charger,
    motors, and sensors (light and touch)
  • They dont ship until they are paid

ORTOP State Registration
  • Takes place early October 2011
  • ORTOP Tournament fees
  • 75 for a Qualifying Tournament
  • 50 for a Championship Tournament
  • We notify all coaches that have registered with
    FLL in Oregon and SW Washington
  • Provide list of Qualifying Tournaments
  • Ask for 3 Qualifying Tournament choices in
    priority order
  • We assign teams to Qualifying Tournaments
  • Register early!!

Equipping Your Team
Minimum Resources to Start
  • A robotics kit
  • A computer with Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7
    (with Windows 7 use the latest NXT software V2.1)
  • A place to meet and practice
  • Classroom
  • Family room
  • Garage
  • Community Room

Additional Resources
  • 2011 FLL Food Factor Field Setup kit (only from
  • Mission Model Set
  • Field Mat
  • Practice table (design on FLL website)
  • http//www.firstlegoleague.org/media/twocol.aspx?i
  • Click on Field Setup link
  • 4x8 bottom
  • 2x4 railing around the sides (extra 2x4 thickness
    on one side for some Field Setup kit models)
  • Overhead light is no longer required

Robotics Kit Info
  • RCX-based kits
  • LEGO? kit used by FLL in past years
  • Can still be used in tournament in 2011
  • They will be phased out eventually
  • NXT-based kits
  • Brand new in 2006
  • 420 if ordered during FLL registration
  • Ship to registered teams starting in mid-May

Robotics Kit Info NXT-Based
  • FLL NXT -- 420
  • Only from FIRST
  • Complete kit with two tubs and sorting trays
  • NXT software
  • LEGO? Education NXT Base Set -- 279.95
  • http//www.legoeducation.us/store/detail.aspx?ID1
  • Fewer parts with one tub and sorting trays
  • No software
  • LEGO? Retail -- 279.99
  • http//shop.lego.com/Product/?p8547
  • Fewer parts with no sorting trays
  • Includes NXT software

Allowed NXT Robot Parts
Be sure to consult the final FLL rules when they
are released in Sept.
  • NXT controller (1)
  • Motors (3)
  • Touch sensors (2)
  • Light sensors (3) (FLL kit comes with only 1!
    See next slide for more details)
  • Lamp (1)
  • Rotation sensors (3 minus the number of NXT
    motors present)
  • Ultrasonic sensor (1)      

Allowed NXT Robot PartsLight Sensors
  • The LEGO manufactured color sensor is allowed
  • The HiTechnic color sensor not allowed
  • A color sensor comes in the retail kit but not in
    the other two
  • Any combination of color sensors and regular
    light sensors totally 3 is allowed

Be sure to consult the final FLL rules when they
are released in Sept.
Team Uniforms??
  • Many teams do something for the tournaments
  • Team shirts, hats, etc
  • Theme clothing
  • Team sponsor advertising on a T-shirt, etc. is OK

Example Team Budget
  • 2010 National Registration Fee 225
  • 2010 State Registration Fee 75-125
  • 2010 Robotics Kit 420
  • 2010 Field Setup Kit 65
  • Materials for table around 50
  • Misc. including batteries, shipping 50-100
  • Total 885-985

Possible Sources ofTeam Funding
Team Member Dues
Having some portion of costs picked up by team
members gives a sense of commitment
Fundraising Activities
Team Sponsors
ORTOP Scholarship
ORTOP Scholarships
  • Funding should not be an obstacle to a teams
  • Cover up to 800 in team costs
  • Accepting applications now
  • Awards made at least monthly
  • Last date is September 15, 2011
  • http//ortop.org/fll/res.htmschol

Scholarship Expectations
  • Financial need based awards
  • Coach/Mentor must attend all 3 ORTOP Workshops.
  • Commit to holding at least one 90 minute meeting
    a week to work on the FIRST LEGO? League
    Challenge from September until the Qualifying
  • Team provides location to practice.
  • Team provides computer with Windows XP or Vista
  • Coach must bring team to Qualifying Tournament
  • Coach must have an email address phone and
    promise to communicate with ORTOP.
  • If coach does not continue past one year, robot
    kit must be returned to ORTOP.

Managing Your Team
Meeting Organization
  • How often and how long to meet
  • Most teams meet 1-3 times per week
  • After school, evenings, weekends as team desires
  • Some add extras as get closer to end
  • gt 1 hr (set up and take down)
  • lt 3 hrs (attention span)
  • At least 2 adults present during meetings can
    use parents who take turns
  • Set ground rules -- E.g. dont turn kids loose to
    walk home by themselves after dark
  • Refreshments / snacks ??

Team Kick-off Meeting
  • Every child brings parent/guardian
  • Set expectations with both
  • Send kids off to build with LEGO? parts
  • Get assistant to help
  • Build with instructions, like the Constructopedia
    or ORTOP assembly booklet
  • Something they can all do at once
  • Explain the real situation to the parents

Parent Involvement
  • Explain program/FLL philosophy
  • Success Participation
  • Explain team rules (attendance, respect, ...)
  • Discuss participation commitment for kids
  • Review costs and funding sources
  • Communicate about tournaments
  • Solicit help

You Have A Team, Now What?
  • (Time Management)
  • Divide the season
  • Build A Foundation
  • Address the Challenge
  • Get It Done
  • Practice like the Tournament

(Approx) Field Challenge Timeline
  • Assume 12 week season (24 meetings)
  • 4 weeks Build Foundation
  • 6 weeks Complete Challenge
  • 2 weeks Practice / Minor changes
  • You may need to adjust these suggestions based on
    the time you have available to meet with your team

(Approx) ResearchProject Timeline
  • 1 wk Basic Research
  • 2 wks Narrow and Select Project Topic
  • 1 wk Focused Research
  • 6 wks Conduct Project / Prepare Presentation
  • 2 wks Practice and Present to Others
  • These tasks run concurrently with the Field
    Challenge Timeline on the previous slide

Build a Foundation
  • Introduce techniques and concepts
  • Build or bring demos
  • Discuss advantages and disadvantages
  • Let kids figure out how to apply concept to
  • One approach use 5-10 minutes at start of each
    meeting to introduce concepts
  • Pick 1-2 subjects per session
  • Can be more for first meetings / new teams
  • May stop about ½ way thru season
  • a bit late to incorporate new concepts unless
    they are stuck

Foundation Sample Concepts
  • Pick one or two new subjects per session
  • Structural strength bracing vs. snapped pieces
  • Gear ratios torque vs. speed
  • Traction tracks vs. wheels
  • Friction tires vs. skids
  • Programming techniques linear vs. loops vs.

Foundation Mechanics
  • Robot basics have team build 2-3 different
    robots with instructions
  • e.g. one per meeting
  • Discuss , - of designs
  • Team decides/combines for challenge robot
  • Gives team general robot building and design
    tradeoff experience
  • Build Field Kit
  • Dedicate 1 meeting, divide up elements
  • Ad hoc extra meeting for leftovers

Foundation Divide and conquer
  • Three basic robot functions
  • Locomotion how the robot moves
  • Concepts motors, gears/pulleys, wheels/tracks,
    friction, steering
  • Navigation how it knows where to go
  • Concepts time, sensors (rotation, touch, light,
  • Robotic Action function it performs
  • Concepts pushing, grabbing, lifting , dumping

Foundation Programming
  • Introduce basic programming
  • Can use Workshop handouts
  • Introduce sensors
  • If meetings start before Challenge is announced,
    can use mini-challenges to introduce concepts
  • Calibration of light sensor

Foundation StructuredProblem Solving
  • Teach them elements of structured approach to
    solving large problems
  • Defining problem
  • Brainstorming
  • Evaluating alternatives
  • Choosing alternative
  • Implementing
  • Evaluating testing

Address the Challenge
  • Pick up all information about the challenge from
    FIRST website when details announced in
  • Missions
  • Rules
  • Field setup
  • Game Rulings (grows during the season)
  • Project

Address the Challenge
  • Team must learn mission and rules
  • Send home copy and learn missions and rules
  • Discuss and test understanding at later team
  • Can overlap with build foundation meetings
  • You might want to find a rules expert among
    your team members

Address the Challenge
  • Have team group missions
  • Members brainstorm/generate prioritized list
  • Can prioritize group by ease, location, or points
  • Can group by program or trips out of base
  • Individuals present and team selects which to
    start with
  • Refer to team goals for how many to try
  • Can add more if finish 1st set and still have time

Address the Challenge
  • Team decides how to divide responsibilities
  • A) Builders / Programmers
  • B) Mission based (build/program by mission)
  • C) ??
  • Need duplicate coverage for illness/absences
  • Probably want area specialists (build, program,
    research, etc.) BUT
  • Recommended ground rule Everyone contributes to
    all aspects of teams work

Get It Done
  • Considerations
  • Introduce design rule concept
  • Shared, agreed upon design constants e.g.
  • Motors B/C drive and motor C is on right
  • Which end is forward
  • Light sensor is always in port 3
  • Programs need to share inputs/outputs
  • Attachments need to go together
  • Base robot with quickly interchangeable
    attachments, or
  • Attachments cant interfere with those for other
  • Target being done early (time for debug/rebuild)

Practice Like the Tournament
  • Field Competition Runs (tournament rules)
  • Start with individual missions/groups, then all
  • 2 ½ min, 2 members at the table at once
  • Practice working under time pressure
  • Switching between missions, programs
  • Try to limit big last minute changes to

Practice Like the Tournament
  • Judging Panels (Robot Design, Project, Core
  • Use Coach Handbook rubrics
  • Parents as judges
  • Work on smooth, clear delivery
  • Ask a variety of questions
  • Practice teamwork exercises

Budgeting Resources
  • Physical resource effectiveness limits
  • No more than 2 (3 max) at one keyboard
  • No more than 2-3 building one item
  • Cant research presentation and program robot on
    same computer at same time
  • Consider time sharing
  • 2 computers, one robot kit divide team
  • 1/3 building, 1/3 programming, 1/3 researching
  • Rotate during meeting

1st Team Meeting Getting Started
  • Set Team Goals
  • Decide responsibilities
  • Can rotate, especially near beginning
  • Usually will want to be fixed as near tournament
  • Need backup roles due to absences
  • Set milestones use project management analogy
  • Set dates for each phase of project to keep on
  • Include design, build, test, REWORK, practice

Sample Team Goals
  • Scale to experience level of team
  • Samples
  • Learn to program (...learn to use subroutines)
  • Learn about (topic of year)
  • Participate in tournament
  • Complete at least 1 mission (more for experienced
  • Everyone participates

Set Expectations For a Positive Tone
  • Encourage risk taking
  • Its OK to fail they are learning opportunities
  • Key is to manage the risk
  • Encourage experimentation
  • Expect failure focus on what is learned as a
  • Problem solving takes time Edisons experience
    with light bulb filament

Final Advice
  • Keep Meetings Fun
  • Usually means hands on LEGO? building every
  • Be flexible
  • Help keep them on task, but ultimately it is
    their project
  • The journey is as important as the result
  • Watch for teaching moments
  • Engineers need hard skills
  • Mechanical Design, Programming, Analysis, Problem
    Solving, Experimentation, and Documentation
  • AND soft skills
  • Timeliness, Teamwork, Tact and Compromise,
    Confidence, Courtesy, Perseverance, and Planning

With All the Focus on the Robot and the Challenge
  • Dont Forget the Judging

Robot Design Judging
  • Panel of experts interviews teams
  • Robot design Creativity and robustness
  • Programming Creativity and robustness
  • Prepare the team to
  • Explain their design of the robot and its program
  • Demonstrate at least one mission on the challenge
  • Bring a printout of the program

Project Judging
  • Another good learning opportunity
  • Research skills and presentation skills (remember
    the marketing kid? ?)
  • Good engineering requires research and
  • Must be a live presentation
  • Format includes setup time
  • 5 minute presentation, 5 minute interview
  • Posterboards, skits, models, Powerpoint (not the
    best format, can waste time with setup), . . .

Core Values Judging
  • A separate 10 minute judging session
  • No presentation is expected
  • Teams will do a surprise teamwork activity
  • Judges interact with teams to evaluate how the
    teams meet the FLL Core Values

Sources of ideas
  • Constructopedias/Manuals/Guides
  • NXT Software Tutorial http//www.ortop.org/NXT_T
  • Books http//ortop.org/fll/res.htmbooks
  • Web http//www.ortop.org/fll/res.htmlinks
  • LEGO? website
  • INSciTE -- Minnesota FLL
  • Tufts University Inventor of Robolab
  • Not all resources are NXT specific still useful
    for general techniques
  • Art of LEGO?
  • CMU (Carnegie Mellon University)

Names of Parts
  • Google lego part names
  • guide.lugnet.com/partsref
  • shop.lego.com/pab (Pick a Brick)

CanDo Challenge Discussion
  • Simple project, but good learning tool
  • Unexpected things happen cans get caught under
    the wheel, it goes the wrong direction
  • Take it in smaller steps Lets see what
    happens before it hits a can
  • Mechanical problems may do you in
  • Clarify the rules know the requirements
  • Experiment Just go try it. We can rework it.
  • Keep it simple

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009
Contact Us
  • Web site http//www.ortop.org
  • Email questions_at_ortop.org
  • Phone 503-821-1136
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