2007 Nevada Lego League Championship Tournament

Saturday, December 1, 2007 10 am – 3 pm Opening Ceremony at 11:00 am

Cimarron-Memorial High School

2301 N. Tenaya Way

Las Vegas, Nevada 89128

FREE ADMISSION

Park in the Student Parking area south of the school; use west school entrance closest to the stadium, follow the signs into gym.

What is the FIRST Lego League?

FIRST LEGO® League (FLL), a partnership between the LEGO® Group and FIRST, inspires future scientists and engineers by engaging children in a real-world engineering and problem-solving challenge. Guided by imagination and adult mentors, FLL teams of students ages 9-14 design, build, and program robots using LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ technology, a little ingenuity, and a lot of teamwork. Children spend about eight weeks investigating, building and testing their robots, and the FLL season culminates each year in friendly competition at tournaments held worldwide. Each year, FIRST teams up with scientists to design a new thematic challenge. This years challenge is “Power Puzzle”. To learn more visit www.firstlegoleague.org and www.lvfirst.org.

Our 30 FIRST LEGO® League teams will be joined by our 7 Junior FIRST LEGO® League teams ages 6-9 to investigate energy resources and how we might meet global demands while keeping the health of our biosphere in mind. The 2007 FIRST NV Lego League Championship is hosted by FIRST NV and Cimarron-Memorial High School’s FIRST Robotics Team 987, champions of the 2005 and 2006 FIRST Las Vegas Robotics Regional Competitions and 2007 World Champions.

Operation: Monster Storms

Hooray! A new (FREE) online science curriculum is available through the National Geographic Society’s Jason Project. Operation: Monster Storms teaches kids how powerful storms form and what tools meteorologists use to predict the weather. The online curriculum is so well planned out with both a student and ‘teacher’ section. You can browse through individual activities or jump through the curriculum sequentially. This is such a great program that it is hard to believe this incredible resource is free for us to use! Go sign up for your account today!

Pokemon Learning League Review

I first saw this advertised in an education magazine and was pretty excited about the concept. Basically, the concept is that the Pokemon characters teach mini lessons. The lessons are VERY similar to the ones found on brainpop.com or time4learning.com except that Ash, Brock, May and Pikachu take on the ‘teachers role’. In theory, this could be a great thing for those young Pokemon fans. Unfortunately, we found the program lacking in many ways. The site claims that it is targeting grades 3-6. From the site:

Primarily for grades 3-6, Pokémon Learning League can also be used with young gifted students, special needs students, and English Language Learners. Because it is a supplemental resource that supports differentiated instruction in core content areas, the program can be used with a diverse range of students and in a variety of learning environments and programs.

My 6th grader has absolutely no interest in Pokemon and the lesson content was far inferior to what you would expect on a six grade level. They are using the characters as a draw and lacks some real substance to the lessons. In contrast, my third grader loves Pokemon. He has what the public school terms ‘special needs’. The lessons were far above his head. The only thing he got from them was the fun of watching the characters walking around.

I probably would not have felt the need to write a review of this program if it weren’t for the price of it! For a family with three children an annual membership is $99!!! I would hate for anyone to plop down that kind of money without a little warning. There are far better online sites to spend that kind of money. Here are three of my favorites:

I Know That
Time4Learning
Brain Pop

We won’t be buying a membership to Pokemon Learning League. It is too bad because it is a fabulous concept. I would like to see it provide more drill challenges. The characters would be great in motivating kids to practice facts. Thank goodness they provide a 30 day trial. Try it out and if you disagree leave a comment. Maybe I am missing something…