Students learned about gear ratios (we used gears to reduce motor speed and noise), conditional statements (if the color sensor finds a red LEGO piece, it plays music; else, the program exits), loops, and other programming techniques. They wrote a few versions of the program, depending on their level (beginners wrote simpler programs, more advanced students wrote more complex versions). Some students tried playing different music depending on the color of the LEGO “music chip”. It was a ton of fun, and lots of learning in the process.
Get your kids involved in TEAM-BASED engineering and programming that works in the real world. It’s different from regular classes and just as fun.
Camp is meant for kids who already go to class here, but anyone can sign up. There are three sessions per day. Your child can go to one, two, or all of them every day of the week
Call 818.292.8008 and sign up for the Great Minds Robotics 2012 Spring Camp today.
April second through the sixth promises to be one exciting and educational week. Engineers and programmers of all ages will work together to build, program and drive some awesome LEGO Race Trucks.
It’s more than just assembling a kit. Students are going to build and upgrade trucks with motors, gears, and sensors. Then they’ll program the vehicles to drive themselves and accept commands from a remote control.
Here’s how we set up the camp
Check out this little preview.
The photos are from the 2012 Spring Camp planning sessions. We started with LEGO Technic Limited Edition Set #8041 Race Trucks, some NXTSumoEyes sensors, and a few LEGO NXT bricks, motors, and gears.
After that, Chris E., captain of The A-Team of FLL fame, added the pieces to NXTify it as only a Great Minds Learning Center student can. Look at the truck on the left in the photo below. You can see that the stock, display-only drivetrain was removed and replaced with an NXT brick and motor.
Then Alex M., engineer extraordinaire, determined the best way to install the advanced NXTSumoEyes sensor. See him at work here…
All this results in an awesome-looking, remote-controlled, self-propelled truck that can see and react to obstacles. Check it out on the right in the following picture…
Chris and Alex put a lot of work into preparing the camp so other students can have a lot of fun.
This is what your kids get to do
Everyone who comes to the Great Minds Robotics 2012 Spring Camp gets to have fun while building, engineering, or programming. We’ve made sure that there’s something for every age group and skill specialty. What’s awesome is that this, like everything else we teach, gives your child a taste of real-world technological challenges and a chance to digest them with critical thinking.
This time we’re learning about technology that lets cars do everything from taking over control in an emergency to racing around a parking lot with no driver input at all.
We promise to keep your kids inside the building, but we can’t promise they won’t have too much fun. The week ends with students competing in a Race Truck Relay! The challenge will be to drive from one end of the course to the other without touching any moving obstacles.
To get a detailed picture of what goes on at camp, check out this jam-packed plan for day one…
Sessions 1, 2, and 3: Build the Trucks, Brainstorm the Required Programming:
Builders K-2 (Green/Purple classes) will put together the race trucks using original LEGO instructions.
Builders 3-8 (Red classes) will build moving obstacles designed at Great Minds Robotics using LEGO Digital Designer instructions. They’ll then free-build cool covers to make these moving walls look like, uhm… moving walls.
Advanced Builders (Blue classes) will discuss options for converting the race trucks to robots. They’ll also talk about the Race Control System for the relay race. Students will look at the pros and cons of detection using Lasers vs Touch Sensors vs UltraSonic Sensors. We’ll also plan remote control overriding to prevent cheating… wait… umm… untimely relay race starts!
Programmers 3-8 (Red classes) will be introduced to remote control communication protocols like Bluetooth technology. They’ll compare Infra-Red and Ultra-Sonic sensors to determine the best object detection methods. Sensor resolution is covered. Students will also write simple test programs to send commands remotely.
Advanced Programmers (Blue classes) will work on the actual RobotC framework running the final race. Specifically, Finite State Machine (FSM) behavioral model and Distributed Application Development via wireless communications will be discussed and tested. Also, Bluetooth vs. XBee vs. WiFi will be considered.
There are three 90 minute sessions per day. They start at 10:00 am, 11:30 am, and 1:00 pm. The cost to attend one is $37.50.
Get a discount! Purchase all three sessions in one day for just $100.
Your child can attend anywhere from one session to all fifteen.
Great Minds Robotics students get high score at the Blockhead 2011 FLL Food Factor Challenge Los Angeles Region Qualifier.
Our FIRST® LEGO® League competitors, The A-TEAM, planned, put together, and programmed their way to the highest score of the day at La Cañada High School’s Blockhead qualifier.
Watch the video to see the action.
That footage came from a special single elimination tournament: The Food Fight. Great Minds Learning Center’s The A-TEAM gained entry by earning an official top four score for the day. But qualifying was only one thing. Winning was something else entirely.
Single elimination tournaments are kinda tough. If you don’t score higher than your opponent, you’re out. Our students had to execute two winning excursions in a row. Fortunately, this competition was fun because official judging for FLL had already ended.
It turns out that The A-TEAM earned high score of the entire day in the final round of the Food Fight Tournament. They won!
Here’s the cool secret to their success: it was all expertly planned ahead.
If you’re new to FLL and robotics, our announcer forgot to mention this during his commentary: The robot you saw was not remote controlled. It was programmed ahead of time by our students to do those tasks on its own.
That kind of programming is one of many things we teach. Children enrolled here are taught how to plan, prepare and compete on their own. This works for FLL because adult coaches and instructors can only advise. They’re not allowed to design the robots or write the programs. It’s up to the kids to do that themselves.
Our instruction also works for life. We teach our students to think critically when solving a problem (and we do it in a fun and exciting way). The reward for this is more than just one solution; it’s the skills needed to find many solutions.
If you’re local to Tarzana, California and want to learn more of what we’re about, schedule a FREE VIP tour. There’s no obligation or pressure to enroll. We’re not into that.
If you take the tour and like what you see, but aren’t yet certain you should sign up, we even offer one-on-one trial classes. They’re only $50 and the money you invest can be put toward your child’s first month of classes.
Great Minds Robotics students program a LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT robot to interface with a NASA website and request a picture of Spain from orbit
We admit that Madrid is not really a secret location. However, we couldn’t help but feel a bit like international spies. Seriously, we told our robot to get intel from space.
Our Enhanced Robotics students built this robot and programmed the NXT Intelligent Brick to give coordinates to NASA’s ISS EarthKAM website. The data went from there to Mission Control at UCSD. From that point it got sent to the International Space Station (ISS) as a photo request.
Many of our requests were carried out!! The ISS took pictures of Madrid and many other places around the globe! We got to view and download our photos via the EarthKAM site.
Watch the video to see our robot get all “Secret Agent Man”.
Remember, we weren’t really pointing at the International Space Station or secretly hacking the website. But, hey, it was fun to make our project look cool while automatically typing data into the internet (which is a pretty cool thing all on its own).
All robotic movement was strictly for show. Students programmed the antenna to look as if it was aiming a signal into space. It was timed to match the NXT Brick’s interface with the website. If you missed it, look again to see the letters and numbers appear in the website data fields.
Here’s your chance to see new technology and how we teach at Great Minds Robotics
Picture yourself driving an electric sports car up the PCH. A quick glance at the dash says you’ve got about 50% charge. Sunlight flashing off an object ahead grabs your attention. It’s an intelligent, solar-powered charging station. You pull up next to it. Blinking blue lights agree with your gauge. Your car could use some juice. The station greets you by name and offers you a full charge in 3 minutes, 42 seconds. All you have to do is say yes and plug your vehicle in. The best part is that your charge is courtesy of the sun!
Sounds cool and futuristic, right? Turns out that your kids can experience this cool future now at Great Minds Robotics. Watch the video of this emerging technology recreated with Lego® Mindstorms NXT. This all happens right in our classrooms. Students learn to understand and then write the program for the charging station.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to attend one of our classes, take some time to watch the video. Compare our instruction style between the younger and older children. We adjust our teaching to match the age and ability of our students.
Students of ages 9 through 14 are invited to apply for this year’s FIRST LEGO League competition. Applications are available to enrolled students at Great Minds Robotics location in Tarzana, CA.
We updated our FAQ section based on recent questions from our students and their parents. Please review this section, as it may answer many questions you might have about the FLL competition. Of course, if you don’t see an answer to your question, please contact us – we’ll be sure to address it.
While we do not have a schedule for training sessions yet, we plan to have a number of sessions in the summer, and weekly sessions starting September 2011. We will post the schedule as soon as we have it.
Check out this blog entry from last year’s FLL event for in-depth understanding of what FLL competitions entail, the challenges the kids have to overcome, and the awesome rewards our team earned last year.
Not yet a student at Great Minds Robotics? Give your son or daughter an opportunity to shine as they contribute to their team’s success. Enroll today!
Know someone else who might be interested? Refer a friend and we’ll be sure to thank you!
Enroll today to guarantee spots for your kids at Great Minds Robotics
Seats are filling up fast because we’re running a special offer from now until May 15th, 2011.
Save $35 on your child’s first four weeks of classes by printing and presenting this PDF (you may have already seen it as a postcard in your mailbox).
The PDF and postcard are for only new parents and students. However, we are not leaving out our loyal customers. If you have already enrolled your kids at Great Minds Robotics, you can get a $35 reward for every student enrolled by friends that you refer.
Come to think of it, that reward should go to anyone who makes a referral resulting in enrollment. If you know someone with kids that are into what we do here, please use our referral form to tell them about us.
As I take notes on my students’ progress after teaching a typical Enhanced Robotics class at Great Minds Learning Center, I can’t help but smile. The students had a ton of fun. They built awesome robots and played with them. They noticed some “bugs” in mechanics and programming of their robots, and came up with amazing improvements. They made corrections, and played some more. As the class wrapped up, they did not want to leave. It was definitely fun. Yet, there is something far beyond playing with these awesome toys… I reminisced my own childhood, my commencement into the world robotics.
I am thrilled and excited beyond expression to see the recent developments in the world of robotics. I see students at our center that are likely to be a part of, if not the leaders of, amazing robotics projects in the not-so-distant future. Projects like NASA’s ATHLETE:
… which, by the way, can also dance:
Projects like uBot-5, a personal assistant for the elderly:
Quite possibly, our students can be a significant part of projects that will place a robot into your home in the not-so-distant future. Check out the awesome work by Dr. Cynthia Breazeal of MIT:
Projects like these require knowledge and innovation. Here at Great Minds Learning Center, kids in grades K-12 engineer and program awesome robots every day. They find original solutions to various challenges they encounter while building and programming their creations. They learn valuable skills while playing with really cool robots. They have fun while expanding their knowledge.
Launched in December 2009, Great Minds Learning Center wraps up its first full year of operation – 2010. Our students build many cool robots, and some very exciting robotic projects, such as the RoboGarage, and a Giant Ferris Wheel. Robotics and Enhanced Robotics students participated in exciting competitions, such a Medieval Robotics Competition and FLL Tournaments. Our FIRST LEGO League team – The NXT Generation – even got as far as Los Angeles Championship event, as one of only 40 teams [out of about 1,400 in the LA region]. We wrapped up the FLL season by winning the Quality Design Award for our robot at the Championship event:
With many new and exciting projects in store for 2011, we are very excited about our program for the upcoming year. We will be exploring green energy, such as solar and wind power. We will be making exciting games involving multiple robots. We will… give you more details in 2011. Enroll today to be a part of our exciting program in the upcoming year.
Want to learn how to build cool robots and compete with others in fierce, yet fun, tournaments? We are going to run two FLL teams for 2011′s Food Factor challenge – and we are looking for new team members now! Enroll today!
I just read this amazing article on MIT’s “Mims’s Bits” Technology Review blog, about an Apple engineer recreating an ancient Greek device – a mechanical computer, called the “Antikythera” mechanism. It was built over 2100 years ago (100 BC), and discovered in a shipwreck in 1901. This discovery was re-constructed; the LEGO design built by the Apple engineer is based on this reconstruction. It works by using precise gears, meshed in a particular way to perform mathematic calculations. Both the original device and the LEGO replica accurately preduct… solar eclipses!
Great Minds Robotics students have not built an ancient Greek mechanical computer [yet]; but they do build and program plenty of cool and exciting projects in our classes and labs. Check out our Enhanced Robotics Curriculum for details!
Want to improve your LEGO building skills, so you too can make awesome LEGO creations? If you are a Great Minds Robotics student, join our LEGO workshop [or mini-workshop] on December 26 (check our schedule for details). Not a student yet? Sign up today!