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FLL "Buffalo Bytes"

What is FIRST LEGO League team "Buffalo Bytes"?

FIRST LEGO League team “Buffalo Bytes” will research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and will develop a solution to be presented to a panel of judges at competitions.  We will also design, build, and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS, then compete on a table-top playing field.  Please visit our FIRST page to learn more about FIRST and FLL.  For even more information, visit FIRST LEGO League's website.

Are there Pre-Requisites to join "Buffalo Bytes"?

Yes.  In order to be a member of "Buffalo Bytes" a student must have participated in a SuGO session.  This provides a common core background for the student and allows the student to explore robotics before making the major time and financial commitment to "Buffalo Bytes".  Participation in SuGO includes anyone participating in the previous 2015/2016/2017 SuGO sessions.  Please visit our SuGO page for more information on SuGO.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  For the 2019/20 season, we are only accepting previous students who have been on the Buffalo Bytes team AND have participated in a Buffalo Bytes competition.  We may open up signups in future seasons.

Are there team size limits?

Yes.  There must be a minimum of 5 students and a maximum of 10 students.

When does "Buffalo Bytes" Practice?

"Buffalo Bytes" practices during the "Buffalo Adventures Program" on an after school basis.  We practice on Tues/Thur starting in mid-August from 3:15pm to 5:00pm during the first three nine week sessions of the "Buffalo Adventures Program".  This is a 27 week commitment to be on the team!

Can I volunteer to help "Buffalo Bytes"?

YES!!  "Buffalo Bytes" is in desperate need of volunteer coaches and mentors.  Please visit our Volunteers tab for more information.


Will "Buffalo Bytes" actually compete?

Unfortunately, the "Buffalo Adventures Program" does not provide any support or vehicle for "Buffalo Bytes" to compete.  Competitions are not allowed as part of the after school program.

As a result, it will be up the parents of team members to make the decision on competitions on their own time and effort independent and separate from the "Buffalo Adventures Program".  The coaches are willing to assist in this process if desired.

Competitions are usually on Saturdays from January through March starting at 8am and lasting until 5pm.  There will be at least one 'local' competition within an hours drive from the Middle School. Parents would need to self transport their child to/from the competition.  Carpooling is encouraged. Snacks, lunch, and drinks should be packed for the kids to eat at the competition.

What is financial commitment?

For the 2017/18 year, the cost per student per nine week session is $130.  This may sound high, but please remember that for the three nine week sessions, it covers nearly 27 weeks of instruction at two days of practice per week.  That is well under $4/hr and does NOT include the competitions or field trips (if required).

If Buffalo Bytes elects to attend competitions, there are entry fees ranging from $75 to $125 per team.  Competing would also require the purchase of team T-Shirts at a budgeted cost of $200.  So, the total cost would be ~$450.  If this is split evenly across a team of 5 to 10 members, each team member would need to contribute between $45 and $90.  This is in addition to the $130 per nine week session.

What is the time commitment?

As an absolute minimum, the time required is the practice times for "Buffalo Bytes" and whatever competitions the parents decide to attend.  The coaches will do their best to manage the time requirements inside those practices.  There may be a 'field trip' associated with the research project.  There may, however, be additional time required if "Buffalo Bytes" falls behind schedule on researching the real-world problem or the design/build/programming of the robot.

When/Where do I sign up for "Buffalo Bytes"?

Sign up through the "Buffalo Adventures Program" during their normal sign up process.  For the 2019/20 season, we are only accepting students who participated last year and attended previous competitions.

In the future, we may open sign up again to new students that have been in a SuGO session.  If so, we will accept sign ups only through the end of the first nine week session.  This allows new students to get access to a SuGO session prior to making the final decision to participate.  This also allows "Buffalo Bytes" to come together as a team prior to an actual competition.

In addition to signing up with the "Buffalo Adventures Program", Buffalo Bytes has an application that will need to be filled out and given to the coach.  Please click here for the application.

Lastly, if the team parents elect to compete, each team member's guardian will be required to register their child with FIRST through FIRST's website.  The coach will supply additional information on this at the beginning of the season.  For more information, please visit FIRST's Youth Team Member System Overview.

How will Coaches/Mentors Communicate with team members?

All communication will be handled electronically through this website, texting using a service called "Remind" (click here for instructions), and possibly a Facebook page.  Parents will be included in all communications.

What are the Philosophical Values of "Buffalo Bytes"?

FIRST LEGO League Core Values:

We are a Team.
We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our Coaches and Mentors.
We know our Coaches and Mentors don't have all the answers; we learn together.
We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
What we discover is more important than what we win.
We share our experiences with others.
We display "Gracious Professionalism" and "Coopertition" in everything we do.
We have FUN!

Every team member participates:

Every team member treats others with dignity and respect at all times.
Every team member does project research.
Every team member is part of the project presentation to judges.
Every team member is responsible for a robot mission.
Every team member programs her/his robot mission.
Every team member builds attachments for his/her robot mission.
Every team member runs her/his robot mission at competitions.

Every idea is considered:

Every idea is treated with respect.
Every idea is given full consideration.
The team as a whole elects to move forward with an idea.

Coaches/Mentors guide, they do not "Do"

Team members must "Do", not coaches/mentors.
Coaches/Mentors guide, suggest, and ask.  They do not 'give' and 'provide'.
Team members solve problems, not coaches/mentors.
Team members learn more through trial and error.
Team members must learn, improve, and excel in the experience.

When in the 'heat', remain calm and carry on.

Things will be challenging, difficult, and frustrating at times.
Stay 'cool', remain calm, and persevere on.
FLL is "the hardest FUN you will ever have"!


Research?

FLL combines solving a real world problem with building a robot to accomplish missions themed around the real world problem.  "Buffalo Bytes" will need to do research to address the real world problem, document their research, share the results locally, and make a presentation with their results to a panel of judges at each competition.  This makes FLL NOT JUST ABOUT THE ROBOT.  Engineers and scientists need to understand the issues in order to adequately address the problem.  The research component of the competition reinforces this concept.

What is the 2019 Challenge/Project?

FLL issues a new challenge every year for the competition season.  This 2018 Challenge is "CITY SHAPER".  There is a research project and robot project for "CITY SHAPER".  The Official release date of the challenge is first day of August.  For detailed information, go to FIRST LEGO League's Challenge Page.

LEGO has shipped the "CITY SHAPER" Challenge Set!  The coach(es) have the Challenge Set and the team will be assembling it during the first two weeks of practice.

Has there been any Press coverage?

YES!
The Villages Daily Sun ran an article on April 6, 2016.  Please click HERE to view the article.
The Villages Daily Sun ran an article on January 31, 2017.  Please click HERE to view the article.