Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sneak Peek: Inventioneers' World Festival Tournament Tips

The Inventioneers are developing a newsletter for teams invited to the World Festival for the first time. If your team has qualified and is making its first trip to the FLL World Festival this coming April, send us a newsletter request at TheInventioneers@yahoo.com for insider tips to a fun and successful World Festival experience!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jr. FLL Event Coordinated by Inventioneers Team Member

This season, Inventioneers' team member TJ created an innovative Jr. FLL curriculum and used it in coaching three Jr. FLL teams. The program was a great success. TJ was ably assisted by team members Jaiden and Bryeton, and the Jr. FLL Young Engineers program ran for 12 weeks in partnership with the Southern NH Montessori Academy (SNHMA).

For the finale, TJ organized the SNHMA Jr. FIRST LEGO League Exhibition at the school on December 15th. To top the season off, Ms. Dana Chism, Jr. FLL Global Program Manager was the "celebrity" reviewer for the day. Thanks Ms. Chism!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Inventioneers Win Young Adult Mentor Award

We want to thank all the teams who nominated us for the Young Adult Mentor Award at the NH State FLL tournament last weekend! It was great to receive the award from two presenters who are very special to us - Mr. Skye Sweeney and Ms. Kerry Creeden!

We were completely surprised because we were only thinking about giving an award (see post below) and were not thinking of receiving one! We have devoted collectively almost 2000 hours to helping new teams and promoting FLL in the past year and we only wish we had more time! (click image below for full story.)

We were thrilled to see so many of the teams we have helped at the tournament and want to say congratulations to all with high 5's to some of the teams we mentored this year: Holy Cow for their second place Presentation Award, Pantocraters for their Rookie Award, Sapientia Venatores for their first place Teamwork Award, and the Black Holes for their awesome fourth place ranking on the table!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Inventioneers Award First Annual Patent Scholarship

What a great time we had at the NH State FLL Championship Tournament! We slept in (we got to the tournament at the crack of 9 a.m.) since we weren't competing, gathered our camera equipment, and once we were at the tournament, we got to work on shooting the footage for our new project video! So many people came up to us to say hi and to say thanks for all the support, mentoring and training we have provided to them over the years.

The Inventioneers Big Idea Patent Scholarship Trophy

Then it was on to the Inventioneers Big Idea Patent Scholarship Award. We took the floor with our partner Attorney Vern Maine to present the award. We had an awesome trophy made which we customized - it was cool (see photo above). Congratulations to the winners - the Lego Mind Freaks from Manchester! They have a cool heart monitor device which they will be able to obtain a provisional patent on with the help of Attorney Maine and his staff. They were ecstatic and we were so happy to make this scholarship possible. Stay tuned for more on patent scholarships for next season! (click image below for the whole story)

The Inventioneers, scholarship sponsor Vern Maine,
and the scholarship winners, the Lego Mind Freaks

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our Column: Dear Inventioneers

This Week's Topic: Robot Performance Consistency

Dear Inventioneers,

Our robot missions will work 5 times in a row one day and then the next day will not work! It is very frustrating to us. How can we get our robot to perform more consistently?

Compiled from multiple teams from NH, VA and CA.

Dear Teams,

Robot reliability is a challenge every team faces - both veteran and rookie. It's one of the reasons coaches are tempted to provide too much "help" to the team - it can be so frustrating. There is only one secret to reliability. Here it is . . .

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Inventioneers Offer New Patent Scholarship for FLL Team

Great new opportunity for NH FLL teams!
Click the image below to learn more.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tips for State Tournaments from the Inventioneers

Many teams have just completed their local qualifying tournaments - congratulations to all! Now it's time to get ready for the state tournament. In most states, the time is short between qualifiers and championship tournaments - and there's Thanksgiving in there, too. It is important to take some time to relax after the high energy of a tournament, but there are a lot of things you can do to improve your team's performance at the next level. Here are some topics we'd like to cover over the next week or so.

1. robot performance consistency
2. teamwork activity tips
3. 3 important things to cover in research judging
4. 3 important things to cover in technical judging

Let us know if you want more information in these areas by voting in our poll in the right hand column!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Tournament Tips from the Inventioneers

Hi everyone,

Many teams are down to the wire now with qualifiers on Saturday. Here are some last minute pointers for rookies (and others!):

For teamwork judging - have fun, encourage each other, make sure everyone gets a chance to share their ideas either before you start the activity or while you are completing the task. If the teamwork activity is fun - laugh, be yourselves. Make sure the judges know some of the ways you worked on teamwork over the season. Think of the teamwork challenges your team faced early in the season, then remember how you built your team spirit. Bring your funny hats, smile.

For the competition table - don't bring your funny hat if you are going to be a human player unless it stays on really well and won't get in your way. Take off any extra buttons or beads you've collected. You don't want anything to hang over the table or to interfere with mission models or your robot's run. If you are not running the robot, cheer both teams on - remember, the other team is not your opponent. They are kids just like you, trying their hardest just like you are.

For technical judging - show off your robot with pride - you are the experts on your design. Choose the mission you want to demonstrate before you get to the judging session. Your team members should point out favorite features to the judges, talk about how you improved on your ideas over the season. Smile, even if your robot doesn't have its best run, don't be upset, just focus on the positive.

For research judging - try to memorize your presentation lines - it can be a lot of work but it lets you make eye contact with the judges during the session. If you don't have time to completely memorize, look up at the judges at least once during your part, it will help them feel drawn into your presentation. In the Q and A, tell the judges about the most interesting parts of your project, for example, your experts, why you picked your topic, and if you have them, tell the judges about the next steps you have planned for your solution, etc. Listen carefully to their questions and make sure you answer the question asked. Don't forget to have your resource list in hand to show the judges all the materials, websites, and experts you used to complete your amazing project. Be enthusiastic, passionate and confident - remember, you are the experts on your project

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Inventioneers' Latest Newsletter for Rookie Teams Now Available!

We just sent out our Tournament Newsletter to 200 rookie teams in our database! We've heard back such great feedback that we want to make the insider tournament tips available to rookie teams everywhere! We tell rookie teams that the main difference between rookies and veterans is that veterans know the inside scoop on tournaments.

If you are a rookie team, you are the expert on your research project, your robot, and how you developed your teamwork skills. What you are not an expert at is the tournament experience, especially judging sessions. That's where our newsletter comes in.

We've had such a great season mentoring rookie teams (we've helped about 30 teams so far!). We just heard from one team this morning that they took first place in research yesterday and will be going on to the state tournament! They found the Tournament Newsletter invaluable.

How about you? If you would like a copy of our newsletter, email us at TheInventioneers@yahoo.com and we'll be happy to send you a copy ASAP!

The Inventioneers

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Inventioneers Named Top Youth Volunteers in NH

The Inventioneers Named Top Youth Volunteer Group in NH

On November 9, 2010, the Inventioneers were awarded the Spirit of NH Award presented by Volunteer NH and the Office of the Governor. During the ceremony, which was hosted by Tiffany Eddy, WMUR news anchor and co-host of NH Chronicle, the Inventioneers were awarded the top prize in the youth category. Check out the story by clicking the image below.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NH LEGO Team, the Inventioneers, Finalists for Spirit of NH Award

We have been named as finalists for our volunteer efforts to get as many students interested in science and engineering as we can!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Network News Coverage of the Inventioneers at White House Science Fair

Here is a TV news segment on our visit to the White House to meet President Obama! Click the image below to go to the YNN website!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Inventioneers Meet With President Obama!

In an amazing turn of events, the Inventioneers were invited to the first White House Science Fair on Monday, October 18. We weren't sure what to expect but it was a fun adventure. The White House invited the top award winners from international and national science competitions and some were invited to have exhibits. Three FIRST teams were invited and we all did our best to make FIRST proud! We brought our STOW-or-GO table, our robot, our Don't DUIT materials and most importantly, our SMARTwheel! We never dreamed the President of the United States would try out our invention! He spent about 10 minutes with us asking us all about our FIRST LEGO League experiences and how we got our ideas. We joked back and forth and he encouraged us to bring our ideas to the marketplace. Check out some of our press coverage:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Inventioneers Say: Time for a Progress Check!

To New Teams:

The Body Forward Rubrics are a helpful guide for your team to make sure you are on track in all areas of FLL. Periodically reviewing the rubrics can help your team members gauge your team's progress! Since every team member doesn't have a copy of the Coaches' Handbook (the rubrics are in the back of the book), have members download the rubrics here: Body Forward Rubrics, 2010 and review them for homework. If your team members are young, have their parents go over the rubrics with them. Then, in your team meeting, review everyone's ideas about how the team is progressing according to the rubrics.

Team members should check the project rubrics to make sure they have covered all areas the judges will be evaluating. If you need to change any part of your project or presentation, it's easier to do that now than later!

For technical rubrics, review and make sure your team understands them and is prepared to answer any judging questions based on those rubrics. For teamwork, use the rubrics to make sure your team-building efforts are on track!

Live, Laugh, LEGO!
The Inventioneers

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Column: Dear Inventioneers

This Week's Topic: Table Talk

Dear Inventioneers,

Do you just lay the mat down on the table or do you adhere it in some way?

Rookie team in MA

Dear "Rookie",

Do not attach your mat to your table. At your tournament, mats will not be adhered to the table in any way. They may have just been rolled out the day of your tournament and may still have ripples in them and the ends may be curled up a little (which can be a surprise to rookie teams). Also, be aware that tournament tables (all tables, in reality) are often slightly different sizes, may not be level, may have knots and bumps under the surface or along sidewalls, etc. This is one of the main things new teams may not be thinking about. The robot can be affected by table surface differences - not foam v. plywood but any table to any other table.

One thing we encourage teams to do is . . .

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Inventioneers in Washington, DC

We had an awesome time in DC where we presented our ABCs of FLL workshop to close to 150 people. One new team even formed that day even though 99% of those attending were already on teams! Thanks so much to DC FIRST and the YMCA National Capital!

We met lots of great rookie teams who we plan to stay in touch with for the Body Forward season. We all had fun - which is one of our team's favorite FLL Core Values!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Great Visit to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in VA

We are jumping for joy outside the USPTO after a fun visit with a trademark attorney and the USPTO Director of Public Affairs. We saw the earliest patents and trademarks and did some patent searches of our own. It was all right up our alley since we're working on our utility patent now!

FIRST tweeted about our visit:


Friday, September 24, 2010

Inventioneers' STOW-or-GO Home Practice Table Update

Hi everyone,

Lots of teams are building our STOW-or-GO™ Home Practice Table this season so we thought since we're getting so many requests, we'd post the latest instructions here on our blog. Click the images below to see the documents and make sure you check out all of them before you start building. Have a great season and email us to let us know if you are using the STOW-or-GO™!

The Inventioneers

Monday, September 20, 2010

Inventioneers Win National Competition

The Inventioneers S.M.A.R.T.wheel™/Don't DUIT™ Campaign combination was named one of the top 50 youth safety programs in the entire nation! The $1,000 prize was presented to our organization by the Allstate Foundation/National Organizations for Youth Safety as part of their 50 Best Awards program. Click the link below to learn more:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Inventioneers Go To Washington!

Check out our "Inventioneers On The Road" blog for more about our upcoming trip to share our insider tips with new teams in our nation's capital!

Photos from our Manchester ABCs of FLL, August 19, 2010
hosted by FIRST Place

Check Out Our Newsletter !

We send out an email to all our contacts with hints, tips and opportunities for new teams. Check it out by clicking on the image below!

More Team Puzzle Fun from the Inventioneers

Check out this link: Online Puzzle Maker to make your own LEGO part puzzles. Make your list, create and print out the puzzle. When team members complete their puzzle, have them go to a parts bin and match the right parts to their word search list. Have FUN!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Inventioneers' Teamwork Pledge

Get off to a great start this season by developing some team rules. In the long run, you'll find rules are your friends and can resolve even the stickiest situations! Have the team members come up with the ideas for rules or have them select from a list of possibilities that you come up with. Don't forget to involve the parents in committing to and enforcing the rules. Post the team's selected rules prominently at your meeting location. After all, rules just focus in on the elements necessary for good teamwork.

From your team's list, create a teamwork pledge that all team members sign to reinforce their commitment and accountability to each other. Click below to see an example of a teamwork pledge we customized for our team.

Friday, September 10, 2010

More Press

We're really getting coverage around the country with our SMARTwheel invention and our Don't DUIT campaign:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Resource for New Teams

We've had a spectacular summer and have been busy supporting new teams with training workshops (more on that soon)! One resource we want to make sure everyone has access to is our "Top 25 Tips for Parents" booklet. Click the image below for a free download (don't forget to print it double-sided) of these helpful ideas for how parents can provide valuable support for their child's team!

Another LEGO Word Search

To all rookie teams,

Here's another activity to have in your toolkit for your rookie season. Need something fun for your next team meeting? Study the names of LEGO parts (use the list on page 2 of the puzzle, which also includes the answer key) and then give your team page one of the
LEGO Parts Word Search - New. Click the image below for a free download. Have FUN!

Your friends,
The Inventioneers

Monday, August 30, 2010

Rookie Year Fun

It's the beginning of another FLL season! Here's a fun activity to do with your team - a LEGO part word search. You should be learning the names of the LEGO parts so you can all "speak the same language" when talking about design and building your robot. We've created one for you to get started with. You can take it from here!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Inventioneers Star on Network TV!

Watch our Network TV debut on NH's Business
with host Mr. Fred Kocher - just click the image below!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Inventioneers Make the Front Page!

This has been a great week for the Inventioneers. We taped a segment for NH's Business with Fred Kocher for our ABC TV affiliate station, WMUR TV; we had an extensive feature interview with our regional paper, the Derry News (featured below, just click the image); we are preparing for our ABCs of FLL workshop and have 90 people registered already; we're celebrating our Allstate Foundation/National Organizations for Youth Safety 50 Best Award; and we're preparing for a demonstration at Autodesk's Kids Day. Wow, what a week!

Also, check out the editorial from the Derry News:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

We're in the FIRST Newsletter!

Here's an awesome article from FIRST's official newsletter
1st Place Champion’s Award

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Top 10 Tips for the Off-Season

Tip #10
Our best tip for the FLL off-season is to have FUN. Find fun things your team can do together whether it is to go bowling, go on a field trip, play outdoor games, or just have a party. You can contact other teams in your area and have get-togethers with them.

These things all build teamwork and great team spirit. You'll be ahead of other new teams if your team has already figured out how to work well together.

If you do these things in your team shirts, someone will be bound to ask what group you're with and the team can get practice speaking about FLL and what your team is working on!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

FREE Workshop for Rookie Teams ABCs of FLL

Hi everyone,

Do you have a child, age 9-14, who is a LEGO fanatic? Then don’t miss this great FREE workshop for newcomers to the exciting world of FIRST LEGO League* (FLL). We're offering our ABCs of FLL workshop again this year on Thursday, August 19th from 6-8:30 p.m. We can't wait to share our insider tips on how to have a great rookie season and how to build a strong team.

The ABC's of FLL and is open to all kids and their parents who are considering participating in FLL for the first time. All areas of the program will be covered from forming/finding teams to all the ins-and-outs of the FLL program. Ideas for preparing for competitions and an overview of what to expect in tournament judging sessions. Robot demonstrations, hands-on activities and a special session for coaches round out the workshop. We had over 100 participants last year and an amazing number of those people we able to find or form new teams last season, some on the very night of the workshop!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Teambuilding with Games

Hi everyone,

We're sharing another one of our top ten teamwork game resources. We call it the Inventioneers Stress Buster Jar. We use these activities at our meetings when we're starting to get tired, we need to reach consensus as a team and need to get the creativity going, or when we have a little frustration with the robot!

Here's how it works. Find a jar or cup (plastic, preferably). Print out the activity sheets: click here. Cut the strips apart, fold and put in the jar. Then just have team members pull one out as needed! Remember, be true to the FLL Core Values - HAVE FUN!!!

Have your team members come up with their own "Stress Busters" and send them to TheInventioneers@yahoo.com and we'll post them here to share with the FLL community!

Hey - maybe your coaches and parents can use the stress jar at work!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our Latest Road Trip:

We had a great time at the 22nd annual NH Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Banquet where we promoted FIRST and FLL, demonstrated our SMARTwheel, and met with NH's top high tech executives and entrepreneurs. Read more about it:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Body Forward New Coaches' Training

Don't miss this great opportunity to get a jump start on the Body Forward Season! We are going to working with BAE Systems FLL Operational Partners Mr. Chris Palie and Ms. Kristen Kelso as they offer free training for rookie coaches in NH and VT. The training session will be held on Saturday, May 22 from 10 am to 2:30 pm at FIRST Place in Manchester, NH.

We'll be featuring our Smart Move robot which proved it could score a perfect 400 in 91 seconds at the World Festival last month! Our coach, Lisa Evarts, will be sharing some great tips for rookie teams including how to avoid the major pitfalls faced by teams in their first season. We'll have handouts and other resources available. You can also sign up for our new team mentoring program to get ongoing help through the FLL season!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Inventioneers Top 10 Tips for the Off-Season

Tip #9

Take this opportunity to fund raise for the coming season. We’ll be posting our Top Ten Tips for FLL Fundraising in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Our Don't DUIT public service announcement is now available "on demand". Check it out!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Don't DUIT Video - Check it Out!

Click on the link below to read about our Don't DUIT public service announcement (PSA), which is part of our research project!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Video Slideshow

Here are some more photos of our team from the World Festival. Special thanks to Brandon Newendorp, FLL photographer extraordinaire for letting us use his photos (#3-13)! You can check out more of his photos at www.newendorp.com/photos.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Inventioneers are the FLL World Champions!

Hi everyone!

We are so excited to share our latest news - on Saturday, April 17, 2010, the Inventioneers became the FLL World Champions! It is a dream come true for our team! Our robot was awesome on the competition tables scoring perfect 400's in three out of four rounds and when speed was the goal, our robot scored a perfect 400 in 91 seconds - faster than any other robot at the competition!

We'll be sharing more at our other blog: www.TheInventioneersOnTheRoad.blogspot.com
over the next few days. It's been so busy and exciting and exhausting that we just haven't had time to post anything.

We want to thank all of our supporters and our sponsors - thank you for believing in us!!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Teambuilding with Games

The Costume Relay Game

Two sets of funny costume pieces like hats, scarves, capes, over sized shirts, baggie pants, gloves, etc.

Game set up:
Make a starting line and 30 feet away make another line. Divide the costumes into 2 equal piles at the starting line.

Playing the game:
Divide the people into 2 equal teams. Each team begins at the starting line behind a costume pile. The first person from each team quickly puts on all the costumes in his pile, runs to the other line, runs back to the starting line, and takes off the costumes. The next person on his team does the same thing until everyone on the team has a turn. The team that finishes first is the winner.

This is a fun teamwork game or play it with teams you mentor.

Teambuilding with Snacks!

As many of you know from our travelblog (www.TheInventioneersOnTheRoad.blogspot.com), we are heading down to Atlanta this week for the World Festival! Now that we're on the road, we're really missing all our homemade snacks! We're dreaming of our current favorite which we are sharing with you below. Yum, yum, yum!

Blondie Brownies

1c butter, melted
2t baking powder
1t vanilla
2 eggs
2c brown sugar
1/4t salt
2c flour
1c chocolate chips

Mix butter and sugar. Add baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Add flour. Whisk eggs and add. Add chips. Pour into greased 13x9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees f 25-30 minutes(center will be gooey).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Inventioneers are Invited to be Guest Speakers

Hi everyone,

We're spending lots of time at our new blog www.TheInventioneersOnTheRoad.blogspot.com but we don't want to get behind on this one! We're getting ready to speak at the New Hampshire Traffic Safety Conference on April 27th! We were invited to share our Don't DUIT Campaign and our SMARTwheel with traffic safety professionals from around New England! Check out the brochure:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Inventioneers Top 10 Tips for the Off-Season

Tip #8

Set up some robot design/build sessions to improve your team's skills in those areas. If you have a good builder on your team, this is a great way for him/her to share those skills. If you need some outside help, you can contact a veteran team – the Inventioneers are always available for this!

Check your local bookstore or the web for books about NXT robots. We like Eric Wang’s book Engineering with LEGO Bricks and Robolab (http://www.collegehousebooks.com/lego_bricks_3.htm ). Even if you are not using Robolab software (this is one of the two programming languages permitted by FLL – the other is the software that comes with the Mindstorms kit - NXT G. - we have 8 years of experience using Robolab and are happy to provide training workshops), the book has some good building exercises to try.

Also, check out internet sources for other building tips. Check out Youtube videos of other teams and other year’s challenges. These cool robots might spark creative ideas in your team.

Monday, April 5, 2010

We Have a New "Travelblog", Check it Out!

HI everyone,

We are going to be writing about our adventures getting ready for the World Festival, our trip (by car) down to Atlanta and back, and of course all our adventures at the tournament. Check it out at:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Inventioneers Top 10 Tips for the Off-Season

Tip #7

Design some mini challenges for your team. Using newsprint or a big sheet of poster board, use wide tip markers, draw a playing field featuring lines of different widths and colors and other “landmarks” on your customized “mat”. Make your own field elements. These don’t have to be made out of LEGOs for your custom mini challenges (though as we all know, only LEGO parts may be used for FLL) – you can use marbles as retrievables (to bring back to base) or deliverables (to deliver to a specified place on your mat) or even just as obstacles. Use your imagination. Break up your team into two teams, if you can, and use the same base robot with each “team” designing their own attachments and add-ons. Be creative, try something wacky!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Top 10 Team-Building Tips - Games

We love to share good ideas with other teams and fun games are at the top of our list. We think all teams should include games as part of team meetings to keep energized and of course to have FUN! Don't forget to let us know what you think at TheInventioneers@yahoo.com.
Here's another fun game to play:

The Manners Game
Sitting around a table, everyone starts with a piece of paper. The goal of this game is to write from 1 all the way up to 100 on your paper. This may sound simple at first but here is the catch, there is only one pen for everyone! So you begin with someone rolling a pair of dice and if that person gets a 3 or a 6 then he/she get to take the pen, which starts in the center of the table, and start writing their numbers. Immediately after that person has rolled, the next person takes the dice and rolls and if he rolls a 3 or 6 he grabs the pen (politely!) and starts writing. This keeps going until someone finishes writing their numbers. But if someone rolls anything other than 3 or 6 he/she does not get to take the pen and the the dice are handed off to the next person.

Everyone tries to roll as fast as they can so they can stop the person with the pen from writing too much and of course in the meantime, the person with the pen is trying write as quickly as possible. So this game is really fast and sometimes you do not get to write anything at all even though you rolled a 3 or 6 because the person after you takes the pen from you and you cannot hold on to it! Once you play this game you will understand why it is called the Manners Game!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spreading FLL and Jr. FLL around NH!

We were busy Saturday, March 13th (with Ms. Nancy Lane, FIRST Place coordinator), helping kids get excited about FLL, Jr. FLL, and FIRST Place Summer Camps at the annual Parenting NH Summer Camp Expo. Over 200 people came by to talk to us and of course the kids couldn't wait to try the robot! We saw lots of future engineers! We had an awesome day and we hope to see lots of the kids this summer.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Inventioneers Top 10 Tips for the FLL Off-Season

Tip #6

Focus on learning all the ins and outs of sensors. Design a basic robot and attach two light sensors, two touch sensors and an ultrasonic sensor (currently the allowable sensors plus the rotation sensors embedded in the motors). Using software, design a line follow program, test out your light sensors, experiment with them, look for line follow programming stubs online, download them and try them out. Put your own twist on them. If you are using Robolab software, contact us at TheInventioneers@yahoo.com with programming questions.

Find ways to use your touch sensors - put one on the front of your robot, one on the back, try one on an arm attachment - be creative and put them to the test. See how you could use your ultrasonic sensor - where does it work best? Now is the time to learn and have fun, when the pressure is off. Make sure your whole team learns how to maximize the use of these tools. Sensors are your friends!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fun at the Regional FRC Competition

Wow, what a great day we had at the 2010 Granite State Regional (GSR) FRC event! Hundreds of kids and their parents who had never heard of FLL and Jr. FLL came to our demo table to see an FLL robot up close and hands-on! We gave out almost four hundred of our Don't DUIT buttons and talked to many others to spread the word about the dangers of DUIT - Driving Under the Influence of Texting.

David Price, emcee extraordinaire, invited us down to the playing field area to introduce us to the entire crowd as the four time NH State Champion FLL team and we took the opportunity to present outgoing FLL Operational Partner, Ms. Kerry Creeden (who also co-chairs the GSR event!) with a token of our appreciation for the many years she has unselfishly devoted to FLL in New Hampshire. She's awesome!

Thanks to Ms. Nancy Lane of FIRST Place for inviting us to team up with her for this event! We had tons of interest in our program for helping people find and form teams - FLL TeamMatch Forum! If you are interested in this service, email us at TheInventioneers@yahoo.com so we can send you an invitation. More on TeamMatch coming up soon! Check out our slide show from the day's activity:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Getting Ready for the FLL World Festival

We've been working hard getting our team ready to compete in the FLL World Festival coming up in April. We took a look back at the NH State FLL Tournament and put together a little video. We'll keep you posted on how we prepare for tournaments so keep checking in!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Inventioneers Top 10 Tips for the FLL Off-Season

Here's another idea to make great use of your off-season!

Tip #5
Start learning about next season’s research project topic – biomedical engineering.
(click the logo for the official challenge page)
(Click here: 2010 FLL season calendar). The 2010 Body Forward™ Challenge “will explore the cutting-edge world of Biomedical Engineering to discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions, and maximize the body's potential, with the intended purpose of leading happier and healthier lives.”

Wow- that’s cool. Your team could be identifying and meeting experts in the biomedical field, planning field trips and searching out some other good resources, too! You can have a research meeting and the team can assign members some homework on the new challenge! Then everyone reports back to share their ideas. By working on some of the research ahead of time, you get ahead of the curve for September and it helps you get excited about the research topic!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Inventioneers Top 10 Tips for the FLL Off-Season

We are taking the next couple of months to share our best advice for the off-season. The months between your last tournament and the September release of the new challenge can be a real FLL goldmine if you use them wisely! Here's our next tip:

Tip #4

Start a website to help people learn more about your team. You can share your projects on your website, too! It also can be a way to help people contact you and can even help with fundraising. Your website can be free – Google has free websites and there are lots of other free sites, too. Websites designed by kids are always just a little more creative (sorry, our own bias), so have fun (final review by a coach is required before posting the site, though).

You can post team updates, videos, and introduce your team members. Remember to keep privacy in mind - we list team members' first names only. Check out our website at http://www.theinventioneers.com/!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In the News

We've been able to spread the message of FIRST programs and FLL throughout our state and beyond! Check out some of our press coverage that made it online this season:

The Manchester Union Leader

MIT Transportation Center News

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Don't Stop Thinking about FLL Now!

Hi teams,

FIRST is doing a cool new thing on YouTube! They are asking for video submissions for all parts of FLL. They are starting with project videos and tournament videos. FIRST's FLL Program Manager, Courtney Hoppe, and yours truly, the Inventioneers appear in the

Call for Tournament Videos clip (click here)!

FLL newcomers and rookie teams, check out the project videos and see the amazing range of creativity there is in the FLL community (click here).The clips are fun to watch but keep your team thinking outside the box and put your own magic into your research presentation. Remember, no team is as creative as yours!

Your friends,
The Inventioneers

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Inventioneers Update

We are getting ready for the World Festival!

As many of you know,right now our team is getting ready to compete in the World Festival in Atlanta, Georgia! We are so excited to be retourning to the Georgia Dome to compete with FLL teams from around the globe! Here are some of the ways we are preparing:

* Building up our teamwork skills though games, snacks, and just having FUN
* Perfecting our robot and then running lots of reliability testing!
* Following through on our research down at MIT
* Spreading our Don't DUIT campaign to even more people
* Telling lots people about FLL

* Finding new ways to raise funds to make our trip to Atlanta possible (any help is greatly appreciated! You can email us at TheInventioneers@yahoo.com)

Those are lots of ways how we are preparing to compete at the World Festival but there is one last thing to do, start a packing list! =)

Monday, February 1, 2010

From the Inventioneers' Recipe Book

Here's a quick recipe for another of our favorite team meeting snacks. We only have one thing to say about Donut Muffins - YUM!

Donut Muffins

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 milk
1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 salt
1/4 nutmeg

1/2 butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 c sugar mixed

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Inventioneers Top 10 Tips for the FLL Off-Season

Here's the next tip in our series of tips for the off-season:

Tip #3

If you are considering starting an FLL team, get started now instead of waiting until August or September. As a rookie team, look for off-season events and tournaments for your team participate in. The Inventioneers will be hosting an off-season tournament for new rookie teams and are willing to help teams organize scrimmages for fun and experience.

In this post, we're highlighting a new team that started in January 2010. Join us in welcoming the Mount Zion Christian School team to the FLL family! They have been meeting since the beginning of the year and are gearing up for our off-season tournament. We joined them for a team meeting to introduce them to FLL and to share our personal recommendations for a successful season with them. They are excited and can't wait to get to the robot!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Best Way to Good Teamwork is Through Snacks!

Here's a recipe which has hit the top spot on our team time snack list! Try them out on your team!

Banana Muffins
(makes 24-30 muffins)

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup chopped nuts or raisins(optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas (about 5 medium)
1 cup apple juice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Top 10 Team-Building Tips - Games

Here's another fun game to play during breaks at team meetings!

The Human Knot

Everyone stands in a circle and grabs hands. You cannot take the hands of the people next to you nor can you hold onto both of the same person's hands. Once everyone is holding two hands, the object of the game is to untangle yourselves without letting go of anyone's hands. It usually takes a while and actually sometimes it is impossible but it is a lot of fun! Check out our slide show below to see how the Human Knot is played!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Inventioneers Top Ten Tips for the Off-Season

As we mentioned last week, we're going to give teams some tips on how to keep the momentum going and how to prepare your team for the new season! Here is another fun idea for the off-season:

Tip #2

Plan to attend another FIRST event as a team. The high school FIRST Robotics Competition, called FRC, is fun to watch especially if you understand the game – check it out at FRC Regional Events. Here in NH, the FRC tournament, the BAE Granite State Regional, will be held at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester from March 4-6 with the finals on March 6th. Check out this link to see an animation of this year’s FRC soccer-type game “Breakaway”.

You can also check out another FIRST program called FIRST Tech Challenge or FTC, also for high school students. Check out the 2009-10 game “Hot Shot!”. The closest tournament to us in NH is the Massachusetts FTC Championship Tournament to be held February 27, 2010 in Palmer, MA. Check out events near you at FTC Events and click on the box next to FTC and then select your area.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Top 10 Team-Building Tips - Games

Because FUN is the best part of FLL, our team always has a game ready to play during breaks at team meetings. We already shared one game (http://theinventioneers.blogspot.com/2009/09/fll-tip-of-week.html) and now over the next few weeks, we'll share some more of our favorites! Here's one of the team games we love to play together and also with teams we mentor!

The Hoolahoop Game

Everyone stands in a circle holding hands for the entire game. Put a hoolahoop in between to people's hands so that it is in between the people's arms. Then every person has to go through the hoolahoop with always holding hands until you get back to the person that the hoolahoop started with and try to do it as fast as you can! You can even have two groups competing against each other to see who can do it the fastest!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Inventioneers Top 10 Tips for the FLL Off-Season

One of the things our team has done over the course of this year is develop a series of Top 10 Lists to help new teams have a fun and successful rookie season. We'll be posting some of these tips here on our blog. We're starting with the first tip from our newest list -

The Inventioneers Top 10 Tips for the FLL Off-Season


Tip #1:
After a short break from the local and state tournament season, get back on track! We recommend you meet at least once a month for team-building activities like the ones used in teamwork judging sessions. We’ll be posting some ideas over the next few weeks. Here’s a popular one to start with: build the tallest structure possible using dried spaghetti and mini marshmallows. A good twist on this would be to see how much weight the structure could support.