Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hydro Dynamics materials

All of our reference material for the season challenge can be found here!

Hydro Dynamics Challenge Guides

Take a look to get an idea of what we'll be working on this year.

Monday, September 11, 2017

First meeting this week!

Our team will have its first meeting on Wednesday, September 13. 

We'll begin at 5:30 sharp!  Same room as last year (just past the 3/4 classrooms on the left as you walk towards the Common Area). 

At 6:40, parents should join us for the last 20 minutes where we'll cover team expectations for the season. 

Want to see what this year's theme is?  Take a peek...



The project...

And the Robot Game!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

2017-2018 Team Forming

Our Westford School Robotics team is gearing up for another great year of exploring engineering and programming.  

In order to best serve our students, I'd like to get an idea of how many children are interested in joining the team.  Our First Lego League (FLL) team participates in the state/national competition which is split between three main goals:  the robot challenge (design and program a Lego Mindstorm vehicle), the innovation project (research and invent to solve problems on this year's topic, "Hydro Dynamics"), and building the skills of teamwork/cooperation/gracious professionalism.  

Please fill out this short survey if your child is potentially interested in joining the team.  We anticipate starting to meet by early September. 


Students are only eligible if they are between the ages of 9-13 at the start of the school year.  Although we have a lot of fun, our team requires students to commit and work hard both during and outside of practices.  Last year we met for 5 hours per week, and even more as competition time neared.  Our hard work paid off, and we hope to build on that experience this year.  

If you are interested in being a team mentor, please contact me to learn more.

Thanks for helping us plan for a successful year!

Friday, June 16, 2017

BeeFinder.org goes 100% live

Innovating on a new idea has some pretty big milestones.  The first comes when you get your big "aha moment".  The next when you make your first mock-up prototype.

It's those next steps, though, that can be the toughest.  After you know what you want to build and what it takes to do it, then the realities set in.  Do we have enough expertise to turn the mock up into reality?  How about the money to get it done?

We have some very exciting news to share...

Our team collaborated with Erik Engstrom, the GIS Pro at Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources to validate our project ideas and future direction.  He was an excellent source of information.  In fact, he believed in our concept so much that he volunteered his time to take our specification, and code it into a real, working demo that can find native bee habitat ANYWHERE in the entire state of Vermont.  

This is incredible!  It not only proves that our concept works, but it shows just how inexpensive the idea is to implement.  It's a launching point to demo our concept and find the right connections to take it to the next level.  It shows the power of our innovation.  Thank you Erik!

You can give it a test.  Hop on over to the site (yes, that's a vermont.gov web address!) and give it a go.  After loading in the maps, you'll be able to click on "Tools" to pull up various layers and see what ideal potential native bee habitat you have in your yard, town, county, or state!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Our BeeFinder.og commercial

Here's a sneak peek at our "advertising campaign" for our project.  Enjoy!



Monday, May 15, 2017

Period Pandas in the news

Check out the great spot that ABC22/FOX44 did about our team!

http://www.mychamplainvalley.com/news/westfords-periodic-pandas-heading-to-washington-dc-for-first-lego-league/712806786

Here's some behind the scenes pictures...







Friday, May 12, 2017

FLL Semi-finalists announced!

The list of semi-finalists for the Global Innovation Award has been announced.

Check out the list on the FLL website to see our team's info (and 19 others).  We'll have the opportunity to meet and work with teams from across the world.

See any ideas that inspire you?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Gofundme to help fundraise for our trip to Washington DC

Our goal is to fundraise in support of sending our entire team to the Global Innovation Awards in Washington DC.  While the event itself has no fees to participate, the team will need to provide their own transportation, lodging, and meals for team members, coaches, and chaperones.

Though challenging, every family is committed to doing their part.  Our students are crafting and baking items to sell at our school's upcoming craft fair.  Donations and raffles are in progress.  Families are committed to making a personal donation.  Corporate and business sponsors are being contacted.

We are also reaching out to our community, family, and friends for their support.  Please visit our Gofundme site and consider making a donation to our team.  

We'll do our best to make Vermont proud!

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Resolution at the State House

It is such an honor to be able to represent Vermont in this competition.

Today, we had the amazing opportunity to have some team members visit Montpelier to hear a resolution read honoring our team's accomplishment.







The text of the resolution was read and adopted in the assembled chamber.



Afterwards, Representative Bancroft continued by asking the team to stand and be recognized.



A few pictures and some quick handshakes later, we made our way back to school just in time for math!





Monday, April 17, 2017

DC or Bust

I'm thrilled to share the news:

Out of 28,000 teams in 30 countries, the Periodic Pandas have been chosen as one of the twenty finalists for the Global Innovation competition!  We're going to Washington DC!

This is a huge honor for our team, school, community, and state.  Thank you to everyone for helping make this possible.  The top team is competing to win a mini XPrize of $20,000, with $5,000 prizes for the first and second runners-up.

Congrats most of all to our team members.  Your passion is what made this possible.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

And now we play the waiting game.

We submitted our project portfolio!

Judging will take place by April 18th.  Cross your fingers.

Monday, March 20, 2017

BeeFinder.org

Want to check out a prototype of the project that is taking us to finals?

Visit http://www.beefinder.org

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The March to Washington DC

Our project portfolio application for the Global Innovation Award finals is coming up at the end of the month.  This will require several team meetings to get prepared.

First of all, some resources to help get us moving in the right direction...

Our goal will be to study the rubric versus our existing project work, then write each section of the application form.  We'll do this collaboratively, using a shared Google doc with the application questions on it.  

The challenge here is that we have a limited number of words for each question, ranging from 200 to 500.  Our answers should be straightforward yet rich with details.  Remember--the judges will not have the benefit of seeing your presentation, so you have to pull them into it through your writing.  

Practices will be scheduled for the coming weeks.  We'll start with three, and see what we need from there.  Remember to work on this at home.  Use your teamwork skills to add or comment to anyone's work.  

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Code for BTV presentation

The local chapter of Code for America, Code for BTV, recently held an event where they invited folks to come and give lightening presentations of their projects that used open data.  Sounds like a job for the Pandas!

Several of our team members made the trip into Burlington to join the event.  There were local coders, graduate students, people from the Department of Transportation, artists, and more.  Though a little nervous at first, we got up in front of the gathering and presented our project concept and plans.

The reaction and reception was fantastic.  Everyone was very impressed with our team's work, and we made several key connections.  The DOT folks had the most experience with GIS maps, and thought that all of our concepts were implementable, giving us some good ideas of where to go next.

Great job, guys!  Every good engineer and inventor should be able to not only explain your ideas, but get others excited as well.  It looks like we managed to do that...