LigerBot Tracks FLL Donut Sales with Statistical Precision
December 8, 2018

The LigerBots sell lots of donuts made by team sponsor Dunkin’ at our FIRST LEGO League competitions. This tasty snack seems to hit the spot with our FLL teams, their families, and our maker fair visitors during the long and exciting day at Newton North High School. But we often run out of certain kinds of donuts, and end the day with other kinds left unsold.  Before this year’s FLL Newton Qualifier on November 17 team COO Jordan Y., who usually helps staff the concession stand, became curious about which donut types sell the fastest and which the slowest, and at what times of day. He figured that analyzing this information could help the team make good decisions at our future FLL tournaments about which kinds of donuts to buy for resale.

Clara, Jordan and Ben look over the stats on LigerBots donut purchases

During the Newton Qualifier Jordan took data. The LigerBots at the concession stand had a lively discussion, trying to predict when the most donuts would be sold. Although many team members believed that more donuts would be sold in the morning than in the late afternoon, it turned out that they sold at a fairly consistent pace throughout the day. Jordan found that although the donuts that sold out first were Oreo and Boston cream pie, the donut that sold at the fastest rate was plain glazed!

In this graph the slope of the trend line can be viewed as the rate at which each doughnut type was sold. Ironically, the doughnut type that had the most left over at the end of the day (chocolate frosting with tree sprinkles) sold at approximately the second fastest rate. We should buy fewer of the chocolate frosting donuts in the future even though the fast sales during the Qualifier gave the illusion that we would need more.
This graph shows all types of donuts in one line, demonstrating that donuts sell at a constant rate throughout the day, and not significantly faster in the morning.

While the results were incredibly interesting, Jordan plans to improve his data sampling at the FLL E. MA State Championship on Dec. 15 because of some flaws in gathering data at the Qualifier. There was a false fire alarm that caused everyone to have to exit the building for thirty minutes of our donut-selling time. Also, the number of donuts sold during certain time spans was approximated because of the rushed atmosphere at the concession stand, when selling food was prioritized over taking data. 

LigerBots Host Captain of Israeli FRC Team

This week the team captain of Israeli FRC team 6740, Glue Gun & Glitter came to visit the LigerBots to promote international cooperation and get a feel for LigerBots operations. Glue Gun & Glitter is based at the Shvilim democratic school in Pardes-Hana Karkur, Israel. Although this is only their third season they have been doing tremendous work helping form new FIRST teams internationally. After helping in Israel and Africa last year, they set their sights on China and America. Their team captain, Amit, came to a LigerBots meeting this past week. After a quick tour of the shop and meeting areas, he met with team member Doug and business mentor Chuck Tanowitz to discuss 6740’s outreach efforts and what they could do in America. Among other plans, Amit expects to represent his team at the upcoming FLL Eastern MA State Championship, to be hosted by the LigerBots on the December 15 at Newton North High School. Then LigerBots who concentrate on technical projects joined the group for a discussion about potential collaboration between the technical sides of both teams. After figuring out how to navigate language barriers and time zones, a decision was made to try and coordinate weekly calls between the teams during build season. The hope is to discuss strategy, design, and build issues to help eachother grow and problem-solve. For more on team #6740 Glue Gun & Glitter please visit their website, Facebook page, or Blue Alliance page.

Glue Gun and Glitter team captain Amit (at the white board) discusses CAD with Misha and Gil during a LigerBots team meeting

From staffing and scheduling to the timing for the many events and booths, all hands are on deck in preparation for the coming FIRST LEGO League (FLL) tournament! From 9am to 3pm on December 15 the LigerBots will host the Eastern MA FLL state championship at Newton North High School, along with a maker fair and robot zoo of FIRST Robotics Competition robots from around the region. Along with 48 competing FLL teams and 10 FLL Jr. teams, 60 Girl Scouts in grades K-5 will be hosted by our volunteers when they do hands on activities provided by maker fair exhibitors to earn STEAM merit patches. Since the LigerBots will be providing many of these STEAM activities, we are hard at work gathering supplies and making informative flyers about our offerings.

Photography mentor Vicki McKenna helps Nicole get images for Nicole’s origami instructional flyer in preparation for the FLL E. MA State Championship on Dec. 15

LigerBots who have not been planning for the tournament have been in the workshop preparing for the start of build season. The disassembly of our 2018 robot has been a sad process, but it’s remains are being used to teach our rookies and salvage parts. Our rookies have also been learning CAD so that they are able to participate on the same level as returning members when the season comes.

Ethan helps team rookies Brian and Yonik disassemble the 2018 robot

Eastern MA State FIRST LEGO League Championship is December 15th at Newton North
November 28, 2018

Mark your calendars. The LigerBots are hosting the Eastern MA State Championship FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics competition on Saturday December 15th. We are expecting about 48 teams of Massachusetts students in grades 4-8. Also open to the public will be displays of student solutions to real-world problems related to the outer space theme for this year’s game, which is called “Into Orbit.”

Alongside the competition, the LigerBots will hold a maker fair with hands-on activities for kids in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

The event takes place at Newton North High School from 9am – approximately 3pm. FREE and open to the public.

LigerBots Host Newton Qualifier FLL Tournament and Maker Fair
November 20, 2018

The LigerBots hosted one of our most exciting events of the year last Saturday at Newton North High School: the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Newton Qualifier robotics competition and maker fair.  About 300 competitors, spectators and visitors attended the event–a mashup of sporting event, science fair, family reunion and dance party!

Twenty-three teams of students in grades four to eight competed with their LEGO robots in this year’s space-exploration-themed FLL game, called “Into Orbit.” The teams also displayed research projects on space-based themes. Among the six teams from Newton were the Supernovas, which is being mentored by three LigerBots students.

LigeBots-mentored team the Supernovas react to their robot’s progress
The LazerRobotics drive team waits for referee Jeffrey’s verdict on their points earned
The Day Dragons earn their spot in the Eastern MA State Championship
The Brattle Street Bobcats FLL team with their Into Orbit project

By the end of the Qualifier seven teams, including Newton-based Roaming Rovers and Day Dragons, had qualified for the Eastern MA State Championship. This state championship competition will include 48 teams and an even bigger maker fair, and will be hosted by the LigerBots at Newton North High School on December 15 from 9-4. Bring your families and come watch!

The Newton Qualifier award winners
The competing teams with the LigerBots

Accompanying the qualifier tournament was a maker fair featuring hands-on activities brought by local companies and organizations, including the Newton Free Library, Green Newton, Einstein’s Workshop, Empow Studios, Droid Builders, SharkNinja, Hatch Makerspace, and Johnson String Instrument.

Students try out cellos at the Johnson String Instrument maker fair table
Staff from Einstein’s Workshop help FLL team members make straw rockets
An family takes apart a robot vacuum at the SharkNinja maker fair table
Visitors make Perler bead designs at the Newton Free Library table
The Empow Studios table welcomes visitors
Members of the Techno Rangers FLL team interact with the Droid Builders’ replica Star Wars robots

LigerBots trained with FIRST officials to be competition field resetters and referees, and our entire team staffed the event from start to finish. As well as doing all of the set up and breakdown for the event, LigerBots MC’d the competition, queued up teams for their matches and judging sessions, ran the concession stand, and assisted the FLL teams in finding their way through North High School. LigerBots staffed many hands-on STEAM activities of our own at the maker fair, including button making, paper airplanes, origami, 3D printing, brush bots, pb&j robot, and binary beads. And, of course, we demonstrated our own robot!

Members of the Supernovas FLL team try to give LigerBot Jadon, who is pretending to be a robot, some precise instructions on how to build a Sunbutter and jelly sandwich
Ethan explains 3D printing to maker fair visitors
David helps students make a custom button
LigerBots mentor Greer helps children do origami at the maker fair
The LigerBots robot demo and outreach table

Near the beginning of the event, a fire alarm was set off, forcing a evacuation. The students staffing the event handled it very well, ushering the FLL teams outside to safety. Even with the fire alarm delay we were well ahead of schedule after all the matches were finished, so we rewarded the FLL teams and LigerBots with a limbo session, dance jam, and soccer party!

Meredith leads the dance party
A long limbo line forms during the wait for awards announcements

We can’t wait to do it all over again on December 15 at the Eastern MA State ChampionshipFor more photos of the Newton Qualifier and maker fair, please visit our Flickr album for this event.

The Friday before our FLL tournament the LigerBots helped put together a Women In STEM event at Newton North High School. This event, which spanned the entire school day, celebrated the accomplishments of women in STEM fields with the goal of inspiring girls to pursue STEM careers.

Several LigerBots worked with the Newton North science team and engineering classes to host a series of talks and question-answering sessions by accomplished women professionals in a range of STEM fields. These women discussed topics such as how they came to choose STEM careers, what obstacles and encouragement they encountered, and how they define success. Two of our LigerBots mentors, physicist Noa Rensing and software engineer Carly Buchanan, were part of the professional panel. In addition, the LigerBots set out an outreach table and taught fellow students how to drive our 2016 robot during Newton North’s three lunch blocks.  We hope that some of the students we talked to will be inspired to join our team and to pursue STEM careers!

LigerBots Assist with Newton Inspires
November 15, 2018

This past Tuesday a group of LigerBots had the opportunity to act as guides at the eighth annual Newton Inspires, an annual fundraiser for the Newton Schools Foundation. Since 2011, Newton Inspires has gathered Newton residents for a showcase of Newton’s talent, creativity, and intellect. Some of the best and brightest from Newton come to give fascinating speeches on their areas of expertise to crowds of local residents.

Gideon explains the 2016 robot to guests at Newton Inspires

The LigerBots did outreach in the cafeteria before the speeches started and then helped the attendees find their way through the (at times confusing) halls of Newton South High School to get to their speech events.

Doug answers questions about the LigerBots for Newton inspires guests

During our outreach, eleven LigerBots had lots of fun speaking with entrepreneurs, lawyers, engineers, and trailblazers from our hometown. We demonstrated our 2016 robot while the attendees enjoyed great local food from Anna’s Taqueria, Blue Ribbon Barbeque, Panera, Sweet Tomatoes, Rancatore’s, L’aroma, and more.

Lily explains the LigerBots to Newton Inspires guests

Newton Inspires is a great way for us to give back to the Newton Schools Foundation, our parent organization, which has been an incredible supporter of the LigerBots through the years.

Gideon with the 2016 robot

A huge thanks to Newton Schools Foundation, and we look forward to the next Newton Inspires!