The annual kick-off is an event planned to help rookie and experienced FLL (FIRST Lego League) teams in Ottawa as well as their coaches and mentors to have an educational, yet fun FLL season. This year, the Ottawa FLL Kick-Off was hosted by our FRC team. This event took place at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School on Saturday September 23rd 2017. Throughout the day, there were several presentations, and sessions on the topic of the three main pillars of the FLL competition; programming, building, and core values.
The programming session was split up into two different presentations: Programming 101 and Programming 201. In these sessions, the kids learned the main concepts and how to program simple tasks. They were shown the proper way to use the programming software, and were given tips on how to improve their programming. In Building 101, they learned how to properly design and build a basic robot and its attachments. This session was more hands-on, since they got the opportunity to build attachments and build a robot, following instructions. In the Core Values presentation, the students got to do a team building challenge with their team and learn about teamwork. They were given the team building challenge, from last year’s competition to practice.
Every year, there are presenters and guest speakers invited to attend this event. This season, we were joined by Candace, FRC Team 2706 Merge and FRC Team 2994 The Astechz. These two FRC teams gave demonstrations of their FRC robots in action! There were also two Skype calls that took place in our school’s auditorium. We were able to talk to two different FLL teams: the Hydrators and CTRL-Z. These presentations were informative, as well as students in the auditorium were able to ask those teams questions that they had.
In the afternoon, after the presentations, there was a hands-on building opportunity for the teams to talk about the challenge and how they want to build their robot. A couple boards, with the challenges built, were set up in the atrium ready for the teams to use them. It was at that time that the students could use what they had learned in the presentations and apply those skills on building and programming their robot. Some coaches and mentors were also around to answer the questions asked.
Another great thing about hosting this event, is that we get to encourage students from all over Ottawa to get involved in robotics, along with learning important skills. This year we had 12 teams who showed up for the kick-off!. That is a lot more teams than last year’s event! Not only is this event interesting and fun, but it also helps develop interest in STEM, as well as getting new students to join the FIRST Robotics Competition.