Classroom Resource: Parent Letter

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September, 2007

Dear parents of 4th or 5th grade students interested in Robotics,

My name is Stacy Boost. I am a new teacher here at Butte Creek Elementary School. Prior to coming here to this great school, I taught in Mt. Angel. I have run LEGO Robotics teams for the last 6 years and have been an instructor of LEGO Robotics coaches through the SuperQuest program that meets in Monmouth as well as Hillsboro. I am so excited to be here and to begin LEGO Robotics at Butte Creek! This is a program designed to encourage more people to pursue careers in the sciences (computer, mechanical, physical, engineering, etc). This program was designed with the help of MIT and Intel.

The program itself is designed for students under the age of 15 to compete in teams with other teams from the surrounding areas as well as at a state, national, and even world level. Each team has an estimated start-up cost of $700 which includes the cost of the competition kit, materials, as well as registration for the competitions. I have purchased some kits and materials and have received grants and a scholarship to help pay for the expenses. Each team can have as many as 10 students (however we try to make them 4-6). It is my belief that this club should be free for all of the students to participate in.

The competition involves programming, designing, and making robots, which will complete a series of challenges. The team members are responsible for all of the work; they will also have to do a research project as a team about some aspect of Power (research and analyze energy choices, their impact, and consequences). This is a very intense yet supportive environment where learning and creativity are celebrated. Students from all across the nation are participating in these challenges. The official challenge was just released on September 15th through the First LEGO League (FLL). The competitions are usually in the middle of December.

I am asking for a very high level of commitment from each of the team members involved. We will be meeting four days per week for approximately 1 1/2 hours per meeting. We will meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 3:00-4:30pm in the computer lab. As we approach the tournaments, we may have

non-mandatory Saturday meetings where the materials and support are available at school. We will have very strict behavioral requirements regarding teamwork, attendance, and respect for others and property.

We are asking that any student who is interested in joining this club has his/her parent’s permission as well as a commitment to the requirements of the club.

The first 20 students to come in with this paperwork will be accepted as I only have funding for two teams this year. Our first meeting will be Tuesday October 2nd at 3 pm.

 

We are also in need of the following:

  1. Parents or family members who have an interest in mechanical engineering, mechanics, computer programming, research, design, and helping kids learn, to come and provide mentoring support. We are not looking for people to “make them for us”, but more to be willing to answer questions and support the team members who are creating their robots. We would love help from people who can only donate a few minutes, to those who can come and stay.

 

  1. Any LEGO pieces that you have to give. The Technix LEGO parts are especially structurally helpful, but the doors, windows, people, trees, and everything else also really helps to “spruce up” our program. We will not be able to keep track of items that are loaned to us, so please only bring what you would like to donate.

 

 

  1. Any help or ideas for fundraising as well as donations. We are committed to not charging students to participate, as well as to not turning anyone away. The ideal ratio of robot kits to students is 1:2.

 

 

OK, so now if you and your child are still interested, please fill out the information below.

 

I_________________ have read the requirements and agree to a high level of commitment and to follow the rules outlined in this paper.

I would like to join a robotics club.

______________________(Student Signature)

 

My child has my permission to participate in the LEGO Robotics club and I understand that if he/she does not attend regularly or does not follow the rules, that he/she will be asked to leave the club.____________________________(Parent Signature)

 

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Stacy Boost. School (503-829-6803) hm. (503-845-9307)

 

Internet Resources to learn more about robotics are:

 

http://www.firstlegoleague.org

http://webclass.superquest.net/sboost/

http://www.ortop.org

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