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Week 11 (11/01/19)

Final Preparations Practicing the Presentation Today we have been practicing for the presentation and making some final adjustments to the order and some speech. All of the other aspects of the competition have been finished and everyone mostly knows their words for the project presentation. The Core Values poster has been printed after some more final edits and the robot and all its attachments are complete. To see our FLL code, please go to https://github.com/rs-blackthunder/fll Sumo Competition After the FLL, we will be running a Lego robotics sumo competition in the Friday club. the area that the bots will fight in is roughly the size of the FLL test board and the robots will fight until one robot is destroyed or cannot move. We also did this last year and receive a lot of positive feedback from club members. 
This week members have been starting to build their robots that they will use in the competition and brainstorming what good tactics are and what attachments to use to carr…

FLL December Update

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Over the past few weeks, we have been unable to run Robotics Club as usual at school, so the team spent two full days (approximately 20 hours) together working on the FLL. Most of this was spent on building attachments; we now have six independent attachments and one add-on. We also completed our robot game plan towards the start of the month; this specifies which missions will be completed in each run, and also gives routes to each of the mission models, viz.:
This plan allows coding to be far more efficient, as we can use the My Blocks we created (moveForward, which takes a value in centimetres; leftTurn, which takes an angle in degrees; and more) to perform the required movement, inputting rough values to start with and then refining them. We find this to be the most efficient method of coding.

Over the past two weeks, Matthew has been hard at work coding our robot; we have now completed run one and half of run two. All of our FLL code is open-source and available online at https:/…

Week 8 (23/11/18)

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Robotics Club Competition This week, the year 7 and 8 teams have been redesigning some of their robots, after they realised they weren't very sturdy, and movement was restricted. They had some tips from Matthew and have learned a lot this week. They are now well only the way to producing effective robots. Coding has been put on hold until the robots and tasks for the robots to complete (of which each team will design and build two) have been completed. However, many people now understand the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 programming environment.
FLL Project Research has begun this week into a method of absorbing cosmic radio waves in space, using an attachment on the front of spaceships. This is after the project team decided it would be the best idea of theirs to pursue, as it is a challenging and very interesting topic. The research document has started taking shape; should be done within the next few weeks. Work will then begin on the presentation. FLL Mission Attachments Lucas has been…

Week 1 (14/9/18)

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Introduction to the FLL

Today we were introducing the new year sevens to Robotics Club. They were shown an introductory presentation that went over the details of the FLL competition. The more experienced members of the club started to set up the practice board. They used the mission models that the new year sevens had started to build. Some of the year sevens shared their opinions on the prospect of going to a competition outside of the curriculum. Parth said 'it's Awesome!!'.

In the following weeks, The club will be split into three groups: Project, Building and Coding. These groups will work on the appropriate sections of the competition requirements. The coding team will work on the code for the robot; the building team will build the robot; the project team will work on a document researching a chosen topic on the theme 'into orbit' and a presentation on how to solve problems regarding the theme.

Competition Day - Regional Win

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Earlier today, nine of us went to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, in Didcot, to compete in our regional FLL. Core values was first, at 10:15, and went quite well, with us all saying things and our pre-prepared poster helping us out too. We achieved second place in the core values ranking.

Next, as 12:00, we had our first robot game, which went terribly. Because there was no practice table and we didn't have enough pre-game time, we weren't able to calibrate our colour sensors and turning constant, so none of our movement worked properly. We scored zero (although also had three penalties for interruption).
At 13:00, we had robot design, and this went amazingly. The judges were very impressed - especially with the robustness of our robot and the modular, fully-commented code (which is available, open-source, on GitHub). We ranked second on this and received comments from the judges afterwards that our robot and coding were exceptional.
Next was another robot game session, w…

Week 10 (14/12/18)

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Building Attachments In the final week of term, some of the older students have been building attachments for our FLL robot. These will be multi-use attachments, with the aim being to make our robot & runs as efficient as possible. We currently have an attachment for use with the payloads & core extraction and will produce multiple more before the competition day.
Coding the Robot Today, Matthew was adding experimental values for movement in run 1, creating the script to lower and send the payloads onto/down the ramp and drafting the rest of the runs. The speed of coding should ramp up considerably with only a few weeks left until the competition and an operational robot. Project The project is coming along nicely; the team has decided to solve the problem of cosmic radiation in space. Our idea is to create a magnetic shield - more details to come!

Robotics Club Competition - Missions (30/11/18)

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Deadline for RobotsToday the year sevens and eights have been given the deadline for the completion of their Robots. They have been given 3 weeks, starting from today, to finish completing building their bots. This date has had to be delayed as some of the teams have missed some weeks so they are behind on the building of their robots.
Missions There is now a new plan for what missions they will be completing. Each team will be creating their own missions based on current and previous missions from the FLL website:
https://www.first-lego-league.org/en/season/robot-game/missions.html
This is to help develop creativity skills in the younger students at school.




Week 7 (16/11/18)

FLL The Project Today we made a start on the project. They have been researching about different apps to help counter isolation and pass time. They have also hypothesized different techniques that let them see family and friend back home by using VR or AR technology. Mission Attachments The building team have been theorizing attachments for the robot so that it can complete several of the different challenges successfully. They have also started to create and refine these attachments so the work to maximum efficiency.  Some of the team have also started to write the code for these attachments, they will finish this and start testing it next week. 
Robotics club competition All of the year 7 and 8 teams have been given an EV3 Brick and a battery. They were using these to test their code, if any changes needed to be made they will most likely make the necessary changes next week. Most of the groups have almost finished their robots and some have started on attachments. However, the pro…

Week 6 2/11/18

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FLLToday, the entire team came together to look at which challenges that we will attempt to complete in the competition. They are exploring the mechanics of motion to help with the accuracy of the motors, for example how much to turn the wheel to turn the robot by one degree. We have been evaluating the difficulty to number of points ratio to determine which of the challenges we will complete. Some of the team have been researching about moments to see if we would be able to complete the explosive force challenge. Some methods we have been thinking about are using an elastic band to maximize the force output or dropping a weight onto the lever.  Robotics Club Competition The Year sevens and eights were finishing building their robots and starting to write the initial code for their robots. They have started to evaluate which mission models that they will complete and are refining their robots to compensate for the different attachments that they will need to use to complete the differ…

Week 3 (27/9/18)

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Building the Robot
This week the building team started building the actual robot. they are trying to find the best ways to fit the pieces together to get the most efficient outcome. They have also been watching a video on how all of the mission models need to be used. They are using this knowledge to come up with a concept for the different attachments hat are going to be used on the robot to perform the separate tasks that need to be carried out in the competition. The coding team have been trying to comeup with the preliminary code that the robot is going to use.

The year sevens and eights  are continuing with the FLL competition from last year. This week they have started to build their individual robots. They were first split into groups of ten and given some parts to use. They have been told about the different tasks that they will have to perform using these robots, to further help them design and build the robots.



Week 2 (21/09/18)

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Building the BotThe building team from last year have started to build the robot. They took robots that have been used previously at the club and were working on ways to improve them and make them more efficient. They have been working with the coding team to figure out better ways to have the code for the different attachments. They have also been discussing the matter of a giro and whether it should be used. In previous years, Black Thunder has not used a giro as it has not proved trustworthy; they have been speculating how to increase the accuracy, thus making it very useful. This came about as the new board has hardly any lines on, so it will be hard to use an infrared sensor.
Mission ModelsThe year sevens and eights finished building the mission models for 'Into Orbit'. Once they finished, they started building the mission models from last year's FLL competition. They will be building their own robots and using last year's board to try and complete the robot based…