RESTON, VA — Sundays at Nova Labs are now a flurry of activity thanks to the kids and parents of Herndon Robotics, a local robotics group for kids who are preparing for this season’s FIRST Lego League (FLL) competition, which kicks off August 27th.
Organized by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics, boys and girls ages 9-16 use robots they design and build out of Lego to autonomously complete a set of tasks on a playing field.
Led by head coach Tom Welsh, the program is now in its 5th year and continues to grow. Last year’s effort saw 4 teams and nearly 40 kids in the official FLL age range and another 10 kids in the Jr. FLL program. This year, they expect to exceed 50 kids in the FLL program.
“Similar to scouting, our ability to expand this program is directly related to the parents’ willingness to volunteer,” said Welsh. With each additional surge of interest, Welsh seeks to recruit a parent willing to coach the newly formed group of kids wanting to sign up.
“Ultimately we don’t turn away anyone unless we can’t get a parent to coach the overflow – and that hasn’t happened yet,” Welsh added.
The group holds larger meetings so that coaches can pool their resources to teach the kids the principles that all FIRST team participants need to know:
MindStorm Robotics and Sensors
Engineering, Design, and Building Principles
Programming, Psuedo-code, Logic
Research and Presentation Skills
The groups then break into smaller “dens” (< 10 kids per team) to develop individual team strategies and project concepts for the competitive portion. FLL fully supports FIRST’s concept of COOPERTITION!
The FIRST LEGO League group supported by Herndon Robotics will be meeting at Nova-Labs every Sunday during the new FLL season themed “Nature’s Fury” which officially kicks off on August 27th. For more info on FIRST LEGO League see http://www.firstlegoleague.org/