World Festival in Houston, Texas

May 17, 2017

We arrived on Wednesday 19th to register and set up our Australiana booth. Flags, banners depicting Australian animals and landmarks, an Aboriginal backdrop, posters showing our Project research and Technical knowledge were displayed around the booth for all to see.

Everything was abuzz – teams getting to know each other, swapping badges and pins, team chants echoing throughout the hall, tasting of various foods, colourful costumes and team uniforms, beaming faces everywhere. The next day was the project, technical and Core Values competition.

All teams had to do these back to back, within 90 minutes. i-Bots were so excited to share their learning and creative skill in presentation. They were high in energy and enthusiasm and bounced off each other so well. The judges were very impressed.

After lunch, the students had the opportunity to practise on the board for three rounds, simulating the actual competition and receiving scores for their performances. These scores did not count for the competition results, but they gave our team a chance to modify any mechanical or programming problems along the way.

Our robot did not perform as well as it could, which was disappointing, but i-Bots were always positive, thinking creatively to solve the various problems that confronted them.

That night, there was a wonderful Welcome Party – games, all types of food to purchase, surround music and laughter and fun all around.

Our Robot Performance competition was held the next day. We were so excited and crossed our fingers that everything went well.

In between the three rounds, there were opportunities to use a practice board to solve our problems. Everything worked so well on the practice board, but when we competed on the competition board, things went wrong. Each round we achieved more missions and the team were excited by this, but we still could not complete all the aspects of the board to our usual standard. Our target score seemed to evade us. The team supported each other and kept positive all the way, showing much Gracious Professionalism and friendly competition, in the First Lego League fashion.

Judges visited the team booths to chat to the teams about their Project and Core Values for a second assessment. i-Bots had to be confident to talk to different people at any time either on their own or with a team-mate.

Saturday was the Celebration Day. Selected teams presented their Project or Robot Performance to the audience.

The award ceremony was so exciting to watch. Everyone lined up and were presented with a competition medal, then hi-fived everyone and danced to the music of the moment.

This competition was an experience of a lifetime! A memory forever.

An Unexpected Journey

Amy Sun, Glendal PS
May 24, 2016

When we started First Lego League I believe neither of us knew that this project would bring us to the other side of the world, but I guess that was part of all of the things we learnt. Our journey-from State to Nationals and then to Internationals is an inspiring one and definitely an unexpected one.

The International competition, I have to say, wasn't really a competition. More of a huge party and it wouldn't be peculiar at all if someone came up to you and told you to join in a game or dance, or have some lollies. No one was negative, everyone just seemed like a big family, laughing and singing and in general, having fun. And the board running, on the stage with the MC's dressed in brightly coloured suits was one of my personal highlights.

Day 1

Wednesday was the day of registration, and when we walked the short distance from our hotel to the competition stadium we were all extremely excited. From far away you could hear the laughing and chanting outside the stadium and see the colourful flags flying in the air. After meeting many teams and taking heaps of photos we finally lined up to go in. Once we got our passes that allowed us to go in and have food we headed into the stadium!!! We were team number 19 and each of the teams had their own cubicle, which is where they would set up their balloons and decorations. Our cubicle which was marvellously decorated in Green and Gold balloons, banners and flags was next to a Norwegian team and a Slovenian team. Then, we got to work, blowing up balloons and handing out brochures as well as receiving badges from other teams and eating lollies. That was all we did that day, as the competition officially started on Thursday. We thought that was awesome, but little did we know what was to come.

Day 2

Thursday was the first day of the competition, it wasn't very busy for us as we only had a practice run but there was also the Welcome Ceremony. When all of the teams arrived everyone went outside and stood under their country's flag. We got to go in first as it was alphabetical order for the countries and soon settled down in our seats. Then we watched some singing and dancing before watching an extremely engaging magic show where a person made a 'man' out of rubbish and somehow got it to walk!!! Once we had finished the fantastic welcoming ceremony. We went back to our base (the cubicle) and gave out some mini koalas and Minties. We wandered around the huge arena and soon got caught in a fun game involving a balloon. Later that day we had a practice run and didn't do too bad. We had lunch and dinner in the other half of the stadium, behind the stage and always had whipped cream and strawberries for dessert. Yum! After dinner the welcome party kicked off. We had a party every day of the competition and after dinner everyone went outside, where there was a stage. On the stage there were two ladies dancing and our DJ. The DJ handed out plastic tubes to blow up and people started jousting with them or just waving them around, they were all different colours and in was extremely fun!!! After the party we walked back to the hotel to get a good night's sleep because Friday would be our busiest day.

Day 3

Everyone woke up early and had all recharged their batteries and were very excited as it was our busiest day. We had 2 board runs, our project and core values, the rest was on Saturday. After we changed into our project clothes we did a few practices in a corner and then went downstairs to the room where we would present our project and core values. We had 3 judges and presented our project first and then our core values. Then after a short break we went on to the stage which was set up with boards for our run and did our first run. Then further on in the day we did our second run, both not being extremely good. Then after some delicious dinner and a nice dessert of whipped cream and strawberries we joined the Norwegian girls' team which we had met online and played with them. Earlier in the day we had played Limbo and balloon volley and it was really fun. In the friendship party the organisers had put cards on a table which you could fill out with your email address, name, country and hobbies and exchange them with others to keep in touch. We also had music and dancing and a dance school came to perform for us, they were very good and all dressed in black but personally I did not like the style of dancing a lot.

Day 4

The last day of the competition and the day where they presented the awards was Saturday. After we had finished our robot design presentation in which we had some extremely nice and funny judges we proceeded to our last board run and did reasonably well. We spent the rest of the day playing limbo and balloon volleyball with the Norwegian team, it was extremely fun. At last it was the end of the day and therefore the end of the competition, but everyone had a fantastic time and a lot of fun. We all went outside and went under our flag just as in the welcoming ceremony but we weren't in any order so we didn't go in first. Once we had sat down in front of the stage the MC's presented the awards and guess what? (Well you probably already know but) we won the 1st prize for Strategy and innovation!!!

I think this competition was simply marvellous and I would like to say thanks to our coaches, John Neilsen and Mrs Gilligan. I would also like to say thanks to Mrs Grossek and my teammates, and most importantly all of you for supporting us the whole way on this unforgettable journey!!!

I am so happy to participate in this awesome competition and cannot wait for next year's competition!!! I will never forget this one in a lifetime opportunity and can't wait to get into more robotics.

Report on the FLL Championship in Tenerife

Danil Yahnov, Glendal PS
May 17, 2016

It was a privilege for me to represent Australia and Glendal PS in the First Lego League Open European Championship. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet over 80 teams from 40 different countries. The organisation of the competition was fantastic, from meeting us at the airport, to the closing ceremony.

Each team got its own booth to decorate to represent their team and country. It was so wonderful to see the effort each team put into it to make it unique and memorable. We saw so many colourful costumes and hats from all over the world.

The atmosphere was so friendly and everybody followed the FLL Core Values such as Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition. We exchanged badges, presents, brochures and even national food with each other, making sure everyone had fun! Also, we all had great support from our coaches, mentors and parents.

The competition itself lasted for 3 days and everyday was packed with activities, full of excitement and fun! We met so many interesting and talented kids and some of them became our good friends.

We had three runs on the board, our project presentation with core values and our robot design explanation. Even after we presented, more judges kept coming back to us, questioning us about our robot, attachments and programming.

We all felt like famous people because we were surrounded by cameramen and photo correspondents, even during our presentations. There was even a live stream where people from all over the world had a chance to see everyone competing.

After three busy days, we felt like we were one group of kids from all around the world, coming together at the same place for our passion of Lego, learning, sharing experiences and having fun.

After all of this, the tensest moment came – the Closing Ceremony where the champions were awarded with trophies. There were 14 categories of awards given. And guess what? As you probably now know, we got first place in the Strategy and Innovation award. This award recognises a team that uses solid engineering practices and a well-developed strategy to design and build an innovative, high performing robot.

I am very proud that I was a part of the Glendal i-Bots team and had this experience. I would also like to thank my team mates Amy, Enda, Kai and Stephanie, our coaches John Nielsen and Mrs Gilligan, our principal Mrs Grossek, our school staff and students, parents and our community who have supported us during our incredible journey and made our dream come true! We would not be able to do this without all your help.