The other pages of our website show that we invest in:
- Our clients. We enable our clients to use Information Technology as a leverage to increase their profitability and productivity. Click here to read about some of our many happy clients.
- Our team. We hire the best, and then we provide training to ensure that their skills are always improving. Click here to read about the best group of geeks in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
- New technologies. Information Technology is everchanging, and we invest time and resources into staying ahead of the curve on the latest and greatest. Click here to read a list of the services we provide which take advantage of these new technologies.
We also invest in our community.
Since 2012, Holston IT has sponsored local teams in FIRST Lego League.
Every year, we take delight in watching these kids get excited about science and technology as they work together to solve challenges.
This section of our website is dedicated to cheering for the teams that we sponsor and encouraging other businesses to support FIRST Lego League, an excellent non-profit organization which is making leaps and bounds in STEM Education.
Cheering for our teams
Click any link below to read more about the teams we’ve sponsored over the years.
Kids, we are so proud of you!!
- The smart young people on the team we sponsored in 2012
- Our 2013 team: Flaming Phoenix, Rise from the Ashes!
- Holston IT sponsors a FIRST Lego League team in 2014
- The 2015 team made it to the state competition!
- 2016 FIRST Lego League Teams
- The 2017 Team: Hydro Hydras
Encouraging others to support this excellent STEM Education Initiative
What exactly is FIRST? When do local competitions happen? How can I support this program? Can my kids/grandkids get involved? How do new teams start?
On the rest of this page, we’ll answer all those questions and more.
When do new teams form?
Every year in August and early September, new teams form and begin to prepare for end-of-year competitions.
Spectators are welcome at competitions, which will be held:
- November 10th in Abingdon, at the SWVA Higher Ed Center
- December 8th in Jonesborough, at David Crockett High School
- December 8th in Kingsport, at John Sevier Middle School
What is FIRST Lego League?
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a robotics program for 9 to 14 year olds which gets them excited about science, technology, and innovation, while teaching them valuable employment and life skills.
Teams can be part of a pre-existing club or organization, homeschooled, or just a group of friends who wish to do something awesome together.
For more information about this nonprofit organization, scroll down and check out the list of links below!
Here’s a 2 minute video which highlights what happens at a competition:
It’s not just about the robots!
Each team also has to research and present a real-world project.
Here’s a video of one group’s presentation:
Here’s a 4 minute video of one group’s presentation.
What each team needs to get started:
1. Kids! 4-10 kids, ages 9-14.
- 5-6 kids is the ideal size.
- Fewer than that gives minimal opportunities to practice the Core Values and learn to work through differing opinions among team members.
- More than 6 makes it challenging for all team members to get a turn handling the robot.
2. Coaches: 2 adults; 1 or more youth assistants. A good way to assign responsibilities is:
- One adult to coach on robot design, programming strategies, etc.
- Another adult to coach on project definition, research, and creating a solution
- A youth, a former member of an FLL team, to assist however needed
- The two adult coaches must apply through the national FLL website and complete an online background check. Do this ASAP so that coaches can download helpful resources.
3. A place to meet, and time for at least one 90-minute meeting or two 45 minute meetings per week.
- Start meetings as early in the year as you like, but definitely by early September.
- One meeting per week can suffice through mid-October.
- About a month prior to your competition, you’ll want to meet 2 or more times per week.
- Additionally, you will need one or more field trips.
- Research is a key component of the Project aspect of this competition
- On the year when Trash Trek was the theme, our team visited a landfill and a recycling plant. We invited other FLL teams to join us on these events.
- As you talk through ideas of the focus of your project, you’ll figure out places/people you’d like to visit to enrich your research.
4. A LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 programmable brick
- If you already own one, you don’t have to buy another one.
- If you need to buy one, you can order from online vendors such as Amazon.
- $350 is about the cost of the EV3.
- $115 is about the total cost of a rechargeable battery and cord.
- This enables the programs to function consistently.
- Without this rechargeable battery, your robot will slow down and lose accuracy as your batteries lose power.
- Be sure to buy both! The battery and charging cord are sold separately.
5. Laptop Computers: 1 or more
- This laptop can be owned by anyone on your team.
- You can download the software for free.
- You have to use laptops or desktops to create programs for your robot.
6. Access to a Robot Game Table to practice your programs.
- The table is 4’x8′ with a guardrail.
- You just need to build a tabletop; you can put it on sawhorses.
- You may not have to build one, you may be able to share one. Sometimes a library, church, school, etc will set up a table for multiple teams to share. Only one team can use the table at a time. So, if teams simply have different practice schedules, sharing a table works.
- Instructions for building the table are found here.
7. Register your Team Nationally and purchase a Challenge Kit
- $225 is the cost to register your team for the year. Payable to FIRST Lego League.
- $75 is the cost of this year’s Challenge Kit
- If you are sharing a table with another team, you will also share this $75 cost.
- You just need one Challenge Kit per table.
- This kit has the pieces that, when assembled, become the obstacles around which your robot will navigate to complete its challenges
- Assembling the challenge kit is a fun part of your early meetings.
8. Sign up for a Regional Competition
- Local competitions are usually on Saturdays. A mid-November competition happens in Abingdon. In early December, competitions happen in both Johnson City and Kingsport.
- Click here to search for events in the USA near you
- On the left, under “Filter,”
- select Event (rather than Team) and then
- checkbox only FIRST Lego League.
- Enter your zipcode
- Click on appropriate links for events listed, to find out how to register your team for an event.
- Events typically cost about $100 for a team to register.
9. Calendar Reservations for all team members and coaches for an ALL DAY competition.
- Go to the link listed in #8 to find a competition near you.
- Competition day will probably be on a Saturday between mid-November and mid-January.
- Can be screen printed or just homemade
- A key part of team spirit on competition day
- You can also wear your shirts when you go on outings together (see field trips mentioned in #3).
11. Action by early September!
- Each year, FIRST Lego League sells Challenge Kits (see #7) until they sell out.
- You can go ahead and order one now.
- Using this starter kit, your team can begin to assemble the Mission Models which will become the “3D” parts of your competition table.
- “The Challenge” is a description of the missions your robot has accomplish by navigating around the table obstacles. Different missions result in different points. The goal: maximize how many points your robot earns in 2.5 minutes.
- The global release date for each year’s challenge is in late August.
- So, don’t delay starting your team!
12. OPTIONAL: These books are great resources.
You can find more information by going to...
Read and see specific information about local teams by clicking below: