Show Time! High Blocks' first in-person FLL Explore Festival

December 11, 2021

Today was a much-anticipated day and the first highlight of our Team Journey. We presented our Distribution Center at an official local FLL Festival Event. The festival was hosted by the Mount Paran Christian School in Kennesaw which is a beautiful private school north-west of Atlanta. We brought the 'extended team' with us. Brandon's brother Wesley and Leon's sister Alina were added to the team roster. 

None of us has been to a Festival Event before so we did not know what to expect. Our first surprise was how huge it was. This FLL Explore event was co-hosted with an FLL Challenge event. Although the Challenge Event was the main event, the organizers did an amazing job integrating the Explore League into their competition agenda.

Before the official part of the event, the teams had a chance to check out how other teams presented themselves and their projects.  The first thing we noticed is that we did not have a team poster. It was clearly mentioned in the season material, but we somehow completely missed that. We expect to attend at least one more festival, so we took note and add it to our to-do list. 

The next milestone of the day was judges reviewing the model. We encouraged the kids to be communicating as much as possible and explain the different sections of the model. Another item we missed is that the judges also would quiz us about how about things such as the FIRST Core Values  (Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork, and Fun). We covered those in our working sessions, but did not think about encouraging the kids to be able to remember some of them. However, the team did an amazing job explaining the different areas of the model.

There have been around 10 Explore Teams and every single team had an amazing display. We knew we would not get a prize for the best team poster, but we were all hoping for a prize. Before that, it was time for a team photo. 

The next agenda item for us was to watch the higher-tier FLL Challenge Team compete next door at the school gym. We were inspired by so many older kids having their robots complete the tasks on the FLL Challenge Level. There were probably around 20-25 teams on 6 competition tables going through the challenges and collecting as many points as possible. 

The last agenda item for the FLL Explore Teams was the prize ceremony. We won an award for innovation and it made everybody's day

The FLL challenge event went on for the rest of the day. But for us, it was time to pack and head home. We took a few learnings and more important a lot of inspiration out of the event. In particular seeing the kids getting recognition for their hard work and getting a glimpse of the next level of the FLL challenge league