On the 26th February 2017, IbnSina Mindcrafters ran its curriculum for the second time at the Islamic Center of New Mexico (ICNM), in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 23 children completed the curriculum which took place over 10 weeks. The curriculum was more streamlined, 5 weeks were dedicated to building the EV3rstorm robot and 5 weeks for the Robo-Olympics challenge.

The target age range for IbnSina Mindcrafters is 8-13 years, but in 2017 we also had two 7 year olds.  We also had nearly 50:50 split of girls and boys; 11 girls and 12 boys. The children were split into 5 teams and each team had a mentor from the 2016 FLL teams from ICNM. The mentors helped the children with understanding the problems and provided suggestions. The mentors had to develop ways of communicating ideas as they were not allowed to build or create software for the children.  Having the mentors allowed the FLL teams to grow their leadership skills and also allowed the curriculum to be taught with only one or two instructors per session. The teams were based on colors and the mentors for each team were:

  • Red – Hamza & Mahdi
  • Green – Ohafi & Essa
  • Blue – Ibrahim & Mutazz
  • Purple – Meera
  • Yellow – Rakin

2017 students, mentors and instructors

After the taught portion of the curriculum an updated Robo-Olympics challenge was released for the children to attempt. For the 2017 Robo-Olympics events where split into two categories. Category A events were: Shotput, 800M and Slalom, Category B events were: Maze, Steeplechase and Writing. Each team had to attempt a minimum of two Category A events and one Category B event. They could try more events but their final score was there total score from each event divided by three. Time limits were applied for all events and events had a different number of maximum attempts.

Strategy was an important factor for the Robo-Olympics. All the teams decided to do the Shotput from Category A, all but one team decided to attempt the maze from Category B, the writing was the other Category B event. Two teams based their robot on the EV3Meg, one on the Track3r and the other two teams created their own unique robots.

On the 21stMay 2017 the second Robo-Olympics was held, a fun packed and suspense filled afternoon took place. The winning strategy was to complete both Category A challenges and score well on the Category B challenge. The teams who attempted four events seemed to over stretch themselves. In second place were the Blue team, who had an average age of 8 years and in first place was the Purple team, who had an average age of 9.5 years.

Team Blue with their mentors in 2nd place

Team Purple with their mentor in 1st place

IbnSina Mindcrafters places a strong emphasis on promoting and rewarding good behavior during the course and the competition. Children are taught to compete in the spirit of friendly competition, to be respectful and helpful to other children and the instructors. The winner of the 2016 behavior award was Dima. In 2017 a Mentor award was given to the mentor who best demonstrated the behavior that IbnSina Mindcrafters promote during its program. The 2017 Mentor award was won by Rakin, a special commendation also goes to Ohafi who showed great maturity during the program. A special mention must also go to Waseem who was a member of the FLL teams and helped organize the Robo-Olympics.

The awards for the 2017 Robo-Olympics were presented by the 2016 New Mexico FIRST Lego League (FLL) Regional Champions, the FFEC Programming Wizards. This team won the champions award for the state of New Mexico and were kind enough to present to the children their experience in the FLL competition. After the 2017 Robo-Olympics the ICNM Albuquerque local chapter decided to enter three FLL teams into the NM FLL regional competition, you can learn more about their story here

FFEC Programming Wizards presenting to the 2017 students about the FIRST Lego League