Today the 2014 FIRST Robotics Championship starts. This annual event represents the culmination of all the FIRST programs, i.e. JrFLL, FLL, FTC, and FRC, and is a celebration of science, technology, engineering, and math. FIRST, For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a remarkable non-profit organization that started over 25 years ago in high-school gym in New Hampshire. Today the FIRST organization touches the lives of over 350,000 young people in 80 countries. The program consists of four core programs, the Junior FIRST LEGO League aka JrFLL for ages 6-9, the FIRST LEGO League aka FLL for ages 10-14, the FIRST Tech Challenge aka FTC for grades 7-12 and the FIRST Robotics Competition aka FRC for ages 14-18. The goals of all the programs is to be an incubator for the development of future generations of innovators, tinkerers, doers, and thinkers by introducing kids to the fun, wonder, and endless possibilities of science, technology, engineering, and math.
Much of the action at the championship will be streamed live at NASA TV including the opening ceremony. The full spectator schedule of the event can be found here. The FLL opening ceremony starts today (April 23, 2014) at 6:30pm Central Time Zone (i.e. what they have in St. Louise where the championship is held) corresponding to 5:30pm Mountain Time Zone (i.e. Edmonton). The FRC opening ceremony starts one hour later at 7:30pm local time (6:30pm Mountain time). The event runs over the next three days until Saturday evening. All the live streams can be found here.
I will particularly be keeping a close eye on the FRC part of the event with participating teams from wide and far, including Brazil (1), Canada (37 of which 2 are from Alberta), Chile (1), China (1), Dominican Republic (1), Israel (6), Mexico (10), Netherlands (1), UK (1) and USA (too many to count). There are three FRC teams I am rooting for, the two teams from Alberta, i.e. Alberta Tech Alliance (4334) and Sir Winston Churchill (4719) and the one Chilean team Corazón de Chileno (2576). All the latest scores and results for the FRC games can be found at the Blue Alliance.
Science classrooms are unique learning environments unlike any other classrooms. As a matter of fact, some things only happen in science classrooms. Here is a collection of event that happened in my own science classroom over the last school year. It's a growing list, so check back for updates.
Report from yours truly live-tweeting and navigating the melee at GETCA 2015 (Annual Greater Edmonton Teachers' Conference).
Can a pencil be more than just your average run of the mill pencil? The legendary Palomino Blackwing Pearl can take a student or teacher's writing to new heights. We have taken a batch of the Pearls for a spin and are blown away by how much writing and sketching can be transformed by this unassuming pencil.
Dr. Pineda's Classroom is going YouTube with the release of its first screencast on the exciting topic of calculating percents. Only time will tell if this is the start of something big and shiny or just a passing fad.
After several weeks working on setting up habitats for new classroom animals the big day finally arrived. The newest addition to our classroom include aquatic denizens in our new aquarium and a teenage bearded dragon with lots of attitude and no table manners.