"Do not yield to discouragement in the face of difficulties and do not abandon yourselves to false solutions which often seem the easiest way to overcome problems. Do not be afraid to make a commitment, to face hard work and sacrifice, to choose the paths that demand fidelity and constancy, humility and dedication. Be confident in your youth and its profound desires for happiness, truth, beauty and genuine love! Live fully this time in your life so rich and so full of enthusiasm."
"Let us look with greater hope to the future; let us encourage one another on our journey."
~ Papa Benedict XVI

Tuesday, February 1

Life Skills

Saturday, if you looked for us, you would have found us in Greensboro, NC at NC A & T University.  NC A & T hosted this year's NC FLL State Tournament.

FLL or FIRST Lego League "introduces younger students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society."  Oh, but it is so much more...

Not only do they build lego robots but they program them, they research the year's topic, they come up with an original solution to a problem, and they present all these things to judges.  FIRST Lego League teaches many life skills far beyond the science and technology.

My husband and i like FLL because on top of academically challenging our children it helps teach them about teamwork, team spirit, communication, interviewing, courtesy, on the spot and critical thinking.  They learn to trust their ideas and question them as well.  They learn to push themselves beyond their initial ideas to look further up and out.  They learn to ask for help, teach others, find solutions or create your own quality one if none exist or are appropriate.  And they learn to do all these things while still working within rules and guidelines, while being good sports (FIRST calls it gracious professionalism). Gosh, and there is so much more....

Its definitely NOT about the Legos.

Anyway - the kids had a very long, very tiring, very educational day.  But they enjoyed it.  It was actually a pretty tough day as many things did not go as planned. 

 We left Raleigh around 5:00am so Dad could be there for the volunteer meeting (each team has to provide one in this particular state's events.) Team check in started around 7am.  Once checked in we headed to the Pit - the area set up for teams to use as their 'home base' for the day.  We get a 6 foot table and four chairs.  If you're lucky you're next to a wall and can then spread out a bit more ...we were lucky.
The kids and i spent the morning running around between the practice runs, teamwork interview, robot design interview, and project interview. 

We had our own small cheering squad....
and photographer (hopefully one day we'll get the pictures! :  ) )

The afternoon was spent practicing, 

queueing,

 and competing.



Overall it was a good day.  They did not win any awards but came away happy with their presentations and a little frustrated with their table runs.  The best part of the day was...

Ladybug: "the break in the afternoon" (they got to shoot hoops and play skeet ball)

T: "Just being there." (Not everyone goes to state.  They won 2nd place Robot Design at their qualifier to earn a place.)

B: "The robot design interview, because that was our best chance of winning something."

Me?  I liked spending the day with my kids! 

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