Resources for the 2017-18 Challenge: Hydro-Dynamics
Here are all the great resources we provide each year. Enjoy!
On your mark, get set, flow!
NOTE: This a long page with many resources. Be sure to scroll all the way down!
Drink in the 2017/2018 HYDRO DYNAMICSSM season and learn all about water – how we find, transport, use, or dispose of it. In the 2017/2018 FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge, students age 9 to 16* from 80 countries will make a splash with HYDRO DYNAMICS. What might become possible when we understand what happens to our water?What is FIRST LEGO League? Tomorrow’s innovators practice imaginative thinking and teamwork. Guided by two or more adult Coaches, FIRST LEGO League* teams (up to 10 members, grades 4-8**) research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS®, then compete on a table-top playing field.
Tomorrow’s innovators practice imaginative thinking and teamwork. Guided by two or more adult Coaches, FIRST LEGO League* teams (up to 10 members, grades 4-8**) research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS®, then compete on a table-top playing field.
What you will find on our 2017-18 FLL resource page
SCROLL DOWN FOR RESOURCES
- Kick Off PowerPoint's: Very Important Stuff!
- Images For Your Own Worksheets, Posters, and Clothing
- Group Exercises for Team Building
- Challenge Logos
- Worksheet for the Challenge Table
- 11x17 Field Worksheet for Strategy
- A Worksheet for the Challenge Elements
- A Strategy Worksheet for the Challenge Pieces
- Step-By-Step Programming Worksheet
- Awesome Lego parts that can win you a FLL tournament (5 pages)
- What is a Team Info Sheet?
- Cool LEGO Ruler With Stud Counters
- Mission Path Robot Speed Spreadsheet
- Digital Truths Articles
Disclosures and Recommendations
NOTE: IT IS BEST TO 'RIGHT CLICK' ON THE LINKS BELOW AND CHOOSE "Save Target As..." to download the documents.
It is always preferable to use the HTTP download method rather than just clicking on a file link. All you need to do is right-click on a link (on most computers) or click and hold on older Mac and choose the 'save as...' option. Depending on your browser this will read: "Save Target As..." or "Save Link As..." or "Save File As..." You can then save the file to your desktop or other location for use instead of opening it directly into your browser.
Check back throughout the season as we add resources for education and research for JFLL, FLL, and FTC challenges.
Scroll down for lots of resources . Get them now! Team Info Sheets, Maps, Rules, Worksheets, Rulers and more.
A Note about Printing Elements at Fedex or Similar Stores:
Some stores have refused to print our documents based on corporate copyright policy. However, the documents below do not fall under the policy. Got to the FLL Legal Notices Page and print out the PDF Titled: "Policy on the Use of FIRST Trademarks and Copyrighted Materials." See section II points 1 and 2
II. WHO May Use These Trademarks and Copyrighted Materials
1. Currently registered FIRST teams and FIRST participants may use the FIRST and the Joint FIRST and LEGO Trademarks (word marks and logos), and the LEGO word marks, in a way that relates to their FIRST team names and activities (e.g. the “FRC® Wonderbots” or the “FLL® Rocket Kids.” They do not have to obtain advance permission, use Disclaimers, or provide advance notice to FIRST.
2. Registered FIRST teams or FIRST participants (i.e., non-profit entities) may use the FIRST and the Joint FIRST and LEGO Trademarks (word marks, not the logos) and the LEGO word marks, and Copyrighted Material to conduct activities related to a FIRST program (e.g., an FRC team teaching skills to an FLL or Jr.FLL team) as long as they use the revenue to underwrite their cost of participation in FIRST programs and use the Disclaimers. They do not have to obtain advance permission or provide advance notice to FIRST, but as noted, they are not permitted to use the logos.
A Note about Acrobat Files for MAC/LINUX Users:
The files below are in Acrobat 8 format for high quality reproduction. If you are on an older Mac or Linux system you may have problems opening them. Sometimes the MAC native PDF viewer does not show complex PDFs correctly. You should install the actual ACROBAT READER to view them. You can download the latest Acrobat Reader from Adobe at https://get.adobe.com/reader/. Be sure to uncheck all optional offers.
FIRST RESOURCES: READ EVERYTHING AT THE CHALLENGE PAGES. DON'T SKIP ONE DOCUMENT.
Critical Warning From FIRST LEGO League READ THIS NOW.
While it's obvious that everyone needs to become an expert on the details of the Missions below, it’s also EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for everyone, veteran teams as well as rookies, to read the OTHER THREE CRITICAL ROBOT GAME PAGES: Field Setup + Rules + Updates, and go back to them repeatedly.
Look at the benefits...
TEAMS WHO HAVE READ EVERYTHING
* have fewer questions
* have less rework
* have fewer surprises at tournaments
* score higher
* have more fun
TEAMS WHO DON’T
* operate in a fog
* start over and lose time
* learn a lot from... referees
* lose points
* get stressed
Critical FLL Resources from FIRST INSPIRES
These are resources you must know and review frequently.
Please take some time to view all the key pages at FIRSTINSPIRES and watch all videos.
YouTube: Watch some of these videos
And the scholarship opportunities for FRC/FTC (and the future for FLL and FLLJr students!)
What is a Robot. Good Question!
A Great Article Sent to us by Hannah and her Jr. Girl Scout Troop
Robotics involves the design and creation of robotic systems. A robotic system has the capability of performing tasks and duties for humans to simplify life and streamline work processes. The people who design robotic systems are robotics engineers with specialized training in electrical and mechanical engineering.
This article provides useful links to a wide range of resources about robots. Great resource for foundational principles:
- History of Robotics
- Components of Robotics
- Robotic Mapping
- Roboitcs Resources
- And much more....
- USING PUFFY WHEELS: The basic pneumatic wheels that come with the starter kits compress easily and therefore constantly change diameter. The are also lumpy on the tread area. A robot of even moderate weight will force the wheel to compress as it drives creating unpredictable and uncorrectable changes in direction. The solution: Find wheels with hard, solid treads. The picture to the right shows many of the solid and thin tread wheels we've found on BrickLink and BrickOwl over the years. Many are UK only products. Please see the "COOL PARTS" article for more information. Click on the picture to see a larger view.
- USING A SINGLE AXLE MOUNT: If your wheel is attached by an extended axel only (not supported on both ends) then you again, create unpredictable and uncorrectable changes in direction. Why? The LEGO axles are very flexible, and the motor drivers have play in them as well. Wheels must have a rigid, matching mount on both sides to ensure stability.
- IMPRECISE TRACKER WHEELS OR GLIDES: Similar to "SINGLE AXLE MOUNT," if you have trailing wheels or glides (ball bearing or sliders or wheels) that are imprecise and not firmly mounted, it will wobble as you drive and respond to varations on frictional coeficient of the surface. This is particulary present in caster type wheels.
- NON CALIBRATED MOTORS: The NXT and EV3 motors are all amazing, powerful, and precise. But they are not all the same. We published a very simple way to calibrate your motors. See the article here.
- OUT OF BALANCE ROBOTS: Try to make your robots center of gravity in the center, seriously. A robot with a very heavy attachment or device on one side will cause the robot to track erratically.
- TEST TEST TEST: After you have followed all the steps above do multiple line runs on a smooth surface twice the length of the table. Try to isolate what is causing any drift and correct with that setup. Then document it.
- IMPLEMENT A GYRO SENSOR: This is very difficult to do and the Gyro sensors have their own drifing issues. However, there are hundreds links on Google on how to do this. Check them out: https://www.google.com/search?q=using+ev3+gyro+sensors+to+run+straight
Resources for Group Speaking Exercises
Over the years we've created some very effective exercises that we use to get our kids talking. It is essential that your team learn to community clearly and effectively, especially in impromptu settings.
Two of your four challenge tasks (teamwork and technical interviews) are essentially unscripted. Mentors pace back and forth outside the doors unable to assist their teams.
Remember public speaking is one of most people's greatest fears. You need to teach your team to speak clearly and spontaneously.
Our current mentors keeping producing great helping tools. This is Brice's mission recording system. One sheet per mission with room for notes and pictures of the mission. Very easy for students to visualize the mission and records the key points.
Helping Your Students Speak Well: Sing Gilbert & Sullivan
Gilbert & Sullivan wrote clever, engaging, lyrics in modern opera. This song poses a very difficult task indeed. One that most students have never faced. Give them a chance. Have some fun with this. Hand out the lyrics. Please view the live version on YouTube. Then play the music only version and have them sing along. Give out awards for students who can return the next week and sing it by themselves.
Lyrics and Definitions: TECHBRICKModernMajorGeneral.pdf
MP3 files with Lyrics and Music
More great Resources from FRC Team 1836: The Milken Knights
Jared Hasen-Klein and his team produce a range of useful helping tools for FLL each year. Their site contains resources designed for FIRST® LEGO® League teams and tournaments. We suggest you check them out!
Online Scoring Tools
The Milken Knights: Online Spreadsheet
These are three presentations TechBrick has prepared for the Maryland state coaches' kickoff. You are free to use them with your groups!
NEW (9/30/2017) TECH-2017-FLL-BrandingFundraising-v04.pdf
This presentation makes the case for good speaking and presentation skills. Remember, all your judged areas, the ones that get you from regional, to states, to worlds, are all about communications. Add to this decent branding and great photos for a full verbal and visual package for your team. And, how to pay for it. This is the latest version as of Sept 30, 2017, with more info on branding and extended discussions on fundraising.
You also need this essay by Mark Twain: "First Interview With Artemus Ward"
This is the five-minute motivational talk Marco gives most years at the state coaches' meeting. It reminds coaches/mentors why they do this and encourages them to make a commitment to start and finish the season.
This is the combined wisdom of three long time mentors who have coached and judged a number of competitions and teams. You will find lots a great tips and suggestions.
Remember, all the materials you need are at the "HYDRO DYNAMICS Challenge, Updates, & Resources" page and you should check it frequently.
These are the official scoring sheets that will be used in many events.
Standard Scoring Sheet
Graphical Scoring Sheet
IMPORTANT: You should be using scoring sheets NOW! Why, you ask?
- Running timed mission practices is essential to success. Make sure the missions you have work well and are consistent.
- Learn how much time you have left for other missions.
- Streamline current missions, look for time wasters.
- Make sure your students are familiar with the scoring and sheet since they have to sign off at events.
A Strategy Worksheet for the Challenge Pieces
We will send this home with our team on our next meeting. Their homework will be to read the challenge, write out each task, and come with at least two ideas for each task. Use this in conjunction with the table worksheet.
11x17 Field Worksheet for Strategy
This is a press-ready PDF in 11 x 17 intended for use as a planning tool with dry markers. Have it output at a vendor like Kinkos. Have mounted and gloss laminated. You can then use dry markers to try different ideas for missions.
NOTE: When you go to Fedex/Kinkos or a similar vendor you should specify:
- Print 11x17 no bleeds (no color off the edge)
- Print at 100% (not fit to margins or page)
- Mount on foamcore or a similar stiff material.]
- Gloss laminate.
- This should cost between $9-12 per board (USD)
Just Base for Practicing or Documenting Robot Alignment and Jigs
- 28.5" x 28.5 "
- Take to a local sign shop or FEDEX Office and have the print in B&W/Grayscale. (it will be very affordable)
- Right click and choose 'Save Target or Link As..." to save to your local computer.
A Fan Asked us a Question: We are a FLL team of middle schoolers and using some of the wonderful resources on your site - thank you! One of the resources is the 'Just Base' for practicing or Documenting Robot Alignment & Jigs. Is there any documentation that you can provide on how this can be used to align the robot ? Thanks! AR
Answer: This item was requested by another team. The purpose is to be able to have the base art, in the actual size, to use for planning and documenting jigs and other devices. You will have to print these on a wide format or poster printer, but printing just B&W at FEDEX is quite affordable on their basic oversize printer ($4-6 at most locations). You can use this to build jigs, then document the exact position for later use since you can draw on the paper. As a coach and tournament director I can tell you that jigs are critical for accurate missions. Any 'eyeballing' will waste too many seconds. However, jigs must be well designed and tested.
Worksheet for the "Hydro-Dynamics" Challenge Table
Use these to plan your missions and programming.
- Scaled 1" to 1'
- Versions in US Letter or UK/EU A4 paper.
- PDF full color image
- Images are sharp
- Right click and choose 'Save Target or Link As..." to save to your local computer.
Step-By-Step Programming Worksheet
A simple worksheet for mission/programming sequences. Right click and choose 'Save Target or Link As..." to save to your local computer.
Mission Path Robot Speed Spreadsheet
In 2009 our 'Senior Team’ (FLL Team 1), which includes our older FLL students and some younger ones in their 5th year of FLL, is took a different approach.
We are teaching them to do true product development by describing the challenge in detail BEFORE they pick up one brick.
One of the tasks as do a real calculation of the speed the robot must achieve to make it through all the missions. So Nathan W developed this spread sheet to make sure the robot can complete the missions.
- We've left some sample data in the sheet so you can see how it works.
- Begin by measuring the distance your robot must travel to complete all its missions.
- Then enter any stop times (in seconds) that represent the time you take to do a particular task.
- What you have left is the time your robot can drive. Divide into distance and you your IPS/CPS measurement.
- We will leave the calculations of IPS/CPS to you and of course the test of whether your robot can maneuver at that speed.
Season Planning Schedule
From Week 0 to Your Tournament in 16 weeks and Beyond (to Mars). A great resource from one of our mentors.
Ginny To, the lead mentor of the ELECTROBOTS in Maryland has prepared a very useful schedule for FLL teams. I know this is in the handbook and other places, but her presentation is concise.
Awesome Lego parts that can win you an FLL tournament
Over the years there have been thousand of parts made by LEGO. You can find them at BrickLink and many can give you a competitive advantage. Jonathan has compiled some of the more interesting parts. There are thousands more. Happy searching!
Angela W from the Netherlands Asked: "We saw the info about the parts made by LEGO. We looked at the link for the Lego parts and it is indeed a perfect link but for teams in the Netherlands it is hard to get parts. In the Netherlands there are no shops were you can get single items only boxes with total cars etc. BRICKSHOP Holland stores have none of the items and we don't know where we can go now. Can you help us?"
Answer: You can buy these parts directly from re-sellers. Most ship internationally. All you need is a free account at BrickLink ( https://www.bricklink.com ) or BrickOwl ( http://www.brickowl.com ) and a PayPal Account (also free http://www.paypal.com)
We have ordered parts from Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, etc. In fact many of the parts on BrickLink are not available from LEGO which is why it is fascinating. According to FLL rules you can use any official LEGO item every manufactured!
2017-18 FLL/FLLJr Challenge Logos
These zip files contain high res PNGs of each logo with Adobe Illustrator files.
Element Images For Your Own Worksheets, Posters, and Clothing
- All files are PNG format
- All graphics are RGB format and compatible with Word, PPT, and Web applications.
- All PNGs have a transparent background.
- Three sizes
NOTE: The Med and Hi res logos are blurry because of the way they created the challenge docs. But they are there for you to use as you wish.
Table in elements in four sizes (now includes HI res versions)
Table element layered photoshop files for each resolution.
NOTE: This was adapted so there may be some minor deviations in alignment. THIS IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR AN OFFICIAL MAT PURCHASED FROM YOUR LEGO DISTRIBUTOR. IT IS ONLY INTENDED FOR USE TO MAKE PRACTICE MATS.
With Elements on Mat
8 Inches Wide
Just the Mat! NEW!
Shooting the Mat!
Cool LEGO Ruler With Stud Counters
You can download a press ready PDF of the cool TechBrick ruler we've been giving out at tournaments.
The ruler features:
- English and metric scales.
- LEGO stud counter.
Read these special instructions first:
- You must print this on US Legal Paper (8.5 * 14 inches US)
- Print it on card stock for best results.
- Trim carefully at crop marks.
- Make SURE that Acrobat is set to print at 100% and NOT fit to page or margins.
- This file can be used for commercial CMYK (4 color) printing or printing on home or office color printers.
Photo Guide for FIRST Events and Other STEM Competitions
Along the way, you must try to get every team and participant in at least one picture if not more. Why? People love pictures of people they love. You’ll also be looking for those moments of triumph and learning and failure that illustrate the outcomes of this effort: To teach young engineers. You will be looking for smiling, engaged children and helpful adults. You will be looking for hard working, compassionate volunteers in all areas. You will be looking for innovative research and design. You will highlight the amazing facilities that schools and organizations make available to these programs. You will record the excitement of the spectators and messages of the special speakers. And you will record all that on ‘film’ to preserve the day, the outcome of months of hard work, for the teams, mentors, and parents.And you will become an important part of the event and its success.This guide provides ideas, resources, and examples of how to do this well. So do it well.
// Marco Ciavolino
Partner, Enktesis LLC
Executive Director, TechBrick Robotics
Mundane and Boring Subjects that will Change Your Digital Life
- FIVE IMPORTANT BUSINESS PRINCIPLES 3
- FILE NAMING SO YOU CAN FIND YOUR WORK 4
- FOLDER NAMING AND VERSIONING 5
- A MOST EXCELLENT TIP FOR OUTLOOK PART 1 6
- E-COMMERCE IS HARD: No Magic Bullets 7
- FORMAT YOUR EMAIL IN A SENSIBLE MANNER 8
- DON’T SEND TO, CC OR BCC WHEN YOU SHOULD SEND PERSONALLY 9
- NITTY GRITTY OF WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT 10
- WHAT IS A CORPORATE ID? 11
- DESIGNING A LOGO 12
- THE SIX BASIC WORD FUNCTIONS TO KNOW 13
- GOOD TYPE MAKES A DIFFERENCE. REALLY. 14
- CAN YOU WEATHER :) CLOUD COMPUTING? 15
- FROM 36 EXPOSURES TO 3600: HOW TO SORT DIGITAL PHOTOS 16
- PHOTOGRAPHING EVENTS: THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW 17
- MAKING ALL YOUR VIDEOS GREAT 18
- BIG COLLECTION OF TRAVEL TIPS: BE WARNED 19
- MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS FLOW CHART 20
- PRIMER ON THE REASON FOR REQUIREMENTS 21
- UNABASHED SELF PROMOTION 22