Thursday, August 28, 2014


At our last practice, kids found out who makes up their teams.  Here's the run down:
   Team 38xx Team 4010
    Ainsley                                             Anna
    Ashton  Attia
    Cashion  Bryce
    Charlotte  Harper
    Eva  Isaac
    Fiona  Jackson
    Graham  Margaret
    Hudson  Melena
    Mateo  Sally

We know everyone's busy studying the challenge, so here's a handy picture of the table to help with understanding the missions (click to make it bigger or get the original here):

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

World Class Challenge is Released!

Today is challenge release day!  Follow the link below to download a copy of the challenge.  Kids need to look at the project information (pages 2-5) and the Missions (pages 26 – 29) before practice on Friday. 

Of course, they can read the whole thing and/or have a look at the videos as well.  We will be going through the mission video in particular as a group as we get the table is all set up and ready to go.

Also, we asked kids to bring in a folder/binder (with pockets) for FLL.  If they can get those before Friday, that would be ideal.

See you on Friday!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Welcome back 2014 Claxton FIRST Lego League!

First practice THIS Friday – August 22

Thanks to everyone who got their registration in early, we are ready NOW with our field kits!

Friday will be an ALL HANDS ON DECK practice.

In an ideal world we will have at least 10 adults at practice
on Friday to manage building.

Practices moving forward Monday & Friday – we pick the kids up in the gym after school and will be done at 4:00.  Please make sure kids know NOT to take the bus home on Monday and Friday.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Registration Opens TODAY!!!

Interested in the FIRST LEGO Robotic League this fall?

If you are the parent of a rising 4th or 5th grader, and if your child is interested in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) program, please plan to attend a parent meeting on Monday, May 5th at 5:30 in the Claxton gym.

For the 2014 fall season, the theme is all about the future of learning -- Learning Unleashed! From the challenge preview: “Teams will teach adults about the ways that kids need and want to learn.” Teams will research current solutions and propose innovations of their own.  Each team also designs, builds and programs a robot to compete in a game based on the same theme. Through all of this, teams must embrace the core values of teamwork, community service, "coopertition" and fun. Teams will compete in a regional tournament in November.

There are a limited number of spaces per team, and students must apply to participate. Applications are due Friday May 16th and can be downloaded here or a hard copy can be picked up from Ms. Stewart in the front office. 

At the parent meeting, learn more about the program, what students can expect and the commitment required to participate.  We also need parents to make this happen!  If you may be interested in helping to coach or mentor a team, please come!

If you can't attend, please contact Jenny Manner at or Sarah Thornburg at

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Recap of Hotshots Monday 9/23/2013

We divided the problems into humans and animals. We discovered that there were not that many WNC wildfires that caused the animal habitat destruction that we were hoping to find. “How could you create an emergency shelter for misplaced pets” was one thing she brought up that could be a problem/solution even though we have not encountered it, per se, here in WNC. Thus, some of these potential problems are things that MAY happen in WNC, but not necessarily something that DID happen. I know Sally hit a few roadblocks with research and  Pascale was frustrated with research as well, as problems from WNC fires seem to be limited (lucky us!)

The human problems that we looked at and will, hopefully, vote on on Friday are:
  • Erosion caused by trees burning. Could lead to mountain slides erosion could harm our water supply…
  • Fruit trees burning. Thinking of Hendersonville and the farmers not having any income
  • Smoke related problems for those with sinus/asthma
  • Houses/shelter/hospitals burn.
  • Defensible space -- How do we arm ourselves against flammable surroundings? 
  • Lack of electricity
  • Lack of water/contaminated water

We did NOT get to the animal problems yet, as we ran out of time. Once we played our core values and had snack, then discussion time was limited as I had to leave, but I was very encouraged at how much they wanted to discuss water problems. (perhaps Tim’s notes were soaking in). Would be neat to steer (gently) in that direction as it is a current/real problem in WNC when dirt and ash end up in our watershed.

For Monday, we plan to continue discussion of problem and land on one (either human or animal) and also brainstorm solutions.

Homework:  Look at the above human problems, find two that they like and research a possible solution, plus ALSO come in with 3 possible general animal problems.

Project Update -- Piermont, NY

Team Hurricane Hunters spent the first half of practice on Monday sharing their research findings.  They were fantastic!  We got a lot done, and we still have some gaps to fill.  So, homework...

More than one team member references a video Sandy, the Aftermath.  I promised to find and post it.  I'm not sure which is right, but I trust the kids will let me know.  Pick one:


We decided that it would be VERY helpful for everyone to understand a little bit more about the town.  Anna did a great job helping us understand the topography.  We agreed that EVERYONE should have a look at Piermont on Google Maps.  Please take a few minutes to flip through the different views -- satellite, map and terrain.  Very informative!

Remaining and follow-up questions:

  • Gray - How long did the storm last?  Two parts:  How long over the life of the storm and how long in Piermont?
  • Hudson - Possible follow on questions:  How many students could not go to school?  How many people were out of work due to storm damage?
  • Margaret - Cost of storm damage?
  • Charlotte - General facts about Sandy.
  • Anna - What's the difference between a hurricane and a super storm?
  • Lilith - When did Sandy officially become a super storm?
  • Attia - Does Piermont have an emergency manager?  If so, who it it?
And, an interesting question came up... What happened to all that trash?  Will, want to look into that?

I will post a link to the article Lilith found when I get it so everyone can read that too.  

Great work, Hurricane Hunters! 

First Whack at Missions

On Monday we had some exciting times!  We took our first whack at breaking down missions!  

Before a program can be written to accomplish a task, the kids have to understand the minute detail in order to communicate the task to the robot.  So...

We started with two volunteer "robots" -- we had Gray and Anna act as sample robots – demonstrating that if you follow the same directions but start from two different places, you don’t get the same result. Then the idea that base is a box with tall sides.  Then that you can use a jig made ONLY of Legos. Then the idea that the table sides of the base are the FIXED elements, so make a very reliable place to start.  We covered that A, B & C are motor ports and that 1,2,3 are sensor ports.  Then quickly showed breaking down a mission (not one they would be using to start).  

Last 10 minutes of practice!  3 kids from HS/2 kids from HH on obstacles (with me), 4 kids from HS/3 kids from HH on People & Pets with Eric in the hall, 3 kids from HH with Blake trying to fix/prep the cargo plane. ONLY ONE ROBOT!  The plane is still in process.  Eric's group came away with a page full of notes.  And, the kids looking at obstacles made some great discoveries about the obstacles mission. 

It was frantic, but it felt like success in the end!  Good work!

Now, who's ready to get started programming?