Saturday, December 19, 2009

Congratulations, Supernova - Off to State!

Great job by the team today at the Batavia regional competition. Their coaches and parents are very proud of their hard work, extensive research and preparation that went into this years challenge. They earned the Technical Award, were 3rd place in robot performance points and earned an invitation to the State tournament.

We're especially proud of the way they handled a misunderstanding with the 1st round Ref. They asked him to remove the truck, which must happen for mission2 to succeed and the Ref did not do it, causing a rescue and loss of items collected. They did get the benefit of the doubt and were given back some points. We have 3 jockey teams and they had agreed ahead of time that the team with the highest score would get to run the 4th round unless they all agreed otherwise. After out teamwork judging we huddled to firm up who would run and they had already talked amongst themselves that they wanted the team with the truck collision to get a chance to run again. This showed great teamwork and gracious professionalism.

Way to go Supernova!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mount Prospect Regional

We're very proud of the group of Supernova students that helped out at the Mount Prospect tournament yesterday. Thank you Bridget, Patrick, Michael, Andrew, Joey, Paul and Danny.

Our Project Coach, Mrs. Naughton has her own team, Scrap Metal, that competed and it was great to have Supernova there to cheer for them and the Rams, a team coached by her brother-in-law Mr. Dan Naughton. Scrap Metal did very well for a rookie team and took 2nd place in robot points. Great job!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Perfect Run!

Congratulations to the team for their first ever 400-point run in their 3 years as a team. 2 of our 3 jockey teams were practicing today and on the last run, Michael, Andrew and Bridget had a perfect run.
Congratulations to everyone - this was a real team effort. Each time they practice, they've been refining and improving reliability. This isn't a routine score, but it was exciting to see everything run as right as it can, all on the same run.
The team is still working on handouts for the judges, team information sheets and practicing the project presentation, but tomorrow we're taking a break to go to Scrap Metal's regional in Mount Prospect. Some of the team are volunteering while others are just going up to encourage and cheer them on. Good luck Scrap Metal!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Getting Close!

We did video taping of one sequence of the project presentation yesterday. Paul was the videographer, Michael was the son and Alex was "the dad" with a tie on.

Bridget, Patrick and Andrew worked on other team tasks during the "taping" and they all worked together for a couple hours afterward. Danny came down for a while too. It was like a mini-meeting. Paul and Danny's little brother Scott is in the foreground in the shot. He likes to help out with field setup and hang out with the team.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chicago Technologies Sponsors Supernova

Supernova is pleased to have Chicago Technologies as their new sponsor.

Thanks to the Toennies family for introducing us to them through Mr. Chris Fuller. We hope to be able to promote FLL even better with this new relationship.

Thanks for your support, Chicago Technologies.

Down to the Crunch

The team still has a lot to do, but they're spinning up for the final push.

They started the year driving hard on the project. Lots of research and they're hard at work putting together their presentation. Thanks to Mr. Allen for helping out teaching Michael how to do calculations for water flow rates and advising on the robot table.

With the great start on the project, robot work took a back seat. In the last few weeks, though, they've gone from no missions working to having solutions to all challenges. Reliability is still an issue and they're working on known best methods from previous years to reduce run time: software organization for the jockeys, robot alignment, use of sensors where necessary and implement attachment time.

The technical board is blocked out and they now have the robot designed far enough to start putting in real info in the place holders.

A lot of work to go, but Supernova can do it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Argonne, Clean Car Show, Mr. Fieseler, Naperville Sun

A lot has been happening the last few weeks. Details will be posted on the teams own public website but highlights here.

Argonne National Lab-
We were very lucky to tour the Center for Transportation Research and see the hydrogen engine test lab, their test dyno, robotic driver and modular test platform, and a lot of other cool stuff. Our thanks to Thomas Wallner, Henning Lohse-Busch and Mike Kern for their time. In addition, we visited the advanced photon source.

Clean car show -
The event was not as heavily attended as planned but we were visited by a lot of interested families and kids. Another FLL team stopped by as well as Mayor Pradel. The kids (and I) liked all the cool cars - especially the Tesla. There were a lot of green vendors, including our friends from Litter Free Lunch.

Mr. Fieseler is a Naperville city Councilman and patent lawyer and is very interested and knowledgable in hydrogen's potential for a greener and cleaner future. He generously shared his time and talked to the group about hydrogen, bringing along fuel-cell car kit for them to build. A big thank you to him for the valuable insights that he shared.

Finally, we were in the Naperville Sun promoting FLL. The on-line link is below but the print version has a 2nd picture.,naperville-lego-building-esteem-na102209.article

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The team is struggling with organization. Now that they are all in middle school, outside activities mean that not all members make it to all meetings. During the first meeting's post- mortem of last season, they realized that a means of collaborating outside our normal meeting times would help them prepare for tournaments. They're also growing in responsibility and want to take more of the meeting planning responsibilities.

So, the last couple weeks of meetings, besides working on project and robot ideas, have focused on how the team can collaborate outside the meetings and generating schedules. As a result, they can now post and track their progress on line and share ideas that all can see. They still have a way to go as they refine and settle into using the new process, but it looks promising.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thank you Supernova

The team surprised the coaches on Tuesday with these tie-dye star plaques, designed built and signed by the team.
Thank you very much. We are proud to be your coaches.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Field Setup Kit Is Here!

I hope everyone has had a good summer vacation. I'm really looking forward to the new season.

Meeting Agenda, Monday, 8/10/2009, 10:30-12:00

  • Spend first ½ hr discussing the new season and schedule ideas plus agenda for next meeting – so everyone will be prepared for post mortem and Brickworld and The Taste reports.
  • How would they like to organize new season?
  • Remember that Mrs. Naughton is mostly unavailable Thursdays, but Mrs. McCurdy will be able to help out as her schedule allows.
  • Most project research work will be done outside the meetings.
  • Thursdays may be partial meeting with ½ team every other week.
  • Robot table work outside the meetings is encouraged and we will support as much as possible.
  • Remaining time – build field setup

Meeting Agenda, Monday 8/17/2009, 10:30-12:00

  • Nail down this season’s organization based on last meeting ideas.
  • Reports back from Brickworld and The Taste.
  • Discuss WF - small post mortem on what went well, what can be improved?
  • What work we can do now to prepare for challenge announcement?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Taste of Chicago, Brickworld

Alex and his mom, and Trevor and his dad attended Brickworld, promoting FLL and checking out all the cool stuff. The robot had light trouble, just like world festival, but they were able to run a number of missions and give a good showing. They made a lot of good contacts, plus Alex and Trevor met the CEO of LEGO International and the main developer for the Mindstorms project, plus another LEGO executive from CT. It shows how sharing our talents with others ends up benefiting us as well. Thank you to Mrs. McCurdy and Mr. Allen for organizing the Supernova support of this event.
The picture shows Paul and Patrick at The Taste of Chicago, where Inscite had a FIRST booth. Michael and Andrew and their family plus Joey attended as well. Supernova was complimented on their presentation. They had a great time. Thanks to Mrs. Naughton and Mr. and Mrs. Toennies for organizing this event.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Back from World Festival

We're back from World Festival and had a fantastic experience. We learned so much from being there and the team is already busy thinking about and building next season's robot(s). Seeing the creative solutions, teamwork and spirit of the other teams was inspirational. Teams were also encouraged by Dean Kamen at the opening ceremonies and Woodie Flowers at the close.

Congratulations to Team STEELE for being honored with the 2nd Place Champion's Award! Very impressive. They were right behind us at the closing ceremonies and we were proud to have IL so prominently represented.

We also got a taste of the bigger robots. My oldest son Paul and I saw the WildStang FRC team compete Saturday and ran in to the Burnin' Rubber! FTC team in the stands. We found out later that WildStang was in the Winning Aliance and that Burnin' Rubber! won the PTC Design award. Way to go Illinios!

Thanks to FRC and FTC coaches Dan, Cathy and Eric for coming over to our pits and encouraging us at World Festival. Dan came out to welcome us as we entered the dome for our first practice round and came to watch 2 of our competition rounds.

We also had an exciting opportunity for a new 2009 FLL participant. Our project coach, Carol Naughton, will be starting a new team next year for her youngest son Matthew. His enthusiasm was noted by one of the volunteers and they invited him to meet Scott Evans on the floor of the dome, where he also signed Matthew's shirt.

Supernova was nominated for a programming award and for gracious professionalism. We did have some frustration with our robot performance, but we take it as a learning experience and, after all, that's what it's all about.

Thanks to everyone that supported and encouraged us this season.

Scott Evans signing Matthew Naughton's shirt.
(how cool is that!)

This is about 30 seconds in. Is the referee supposed to be holding the house?

They boys didn't run "find agreement" due to communication problems with the Taiwan team.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Illinois State Champions

Supernova being honored with the
Illinois State Champion's award on 1/17/2009

They also earned the 3rd place robot performance award.

Their coaches and parents are very proud of the hard work, dedication and teamwork that lead to this accomplishment.


This video shows their 1st round table run. The early robot rescue during the first mission group cost them 45 points. The rest of the round ran perfectly for 270 point run.