Monday, December 20, 2010

Our COLD Camping Trip

The day after the practice debate tournament we went camping! Our original plan was to stay at a state park in Florida for the first two nights then move to Disney and camp there at Fort Wilderness. On Monday we were going to visit University of Florida (the reason we were there!), Tuesday, move to Disney, Wednesday, visit Grandma, Thursday, relax and visit all the resorts with cool decorations then Friday, travel home. A few days before the trip, however, we found out that the first two nights at the state park, which is in Gainesville, was supposed to get down to 18 degrees (Fahrenheit) during the night and we knew that some of us couldn't handle that. So we switched our plans and stayed at our grandmas for the first two nights and visit her all day on Monday. Then Tuesday we moved to Disney and Wednesday we visited University of Florida then Thursday we did the same as planned.

On Sunday we drove down and we ate Fried Chicken for dinner then watched the finale of The Amazing Race. The next morning Carl and I went for a ride with my mom's aunt and we drove to the beach. She stayed in the car while Carl and I had fun for about 5 minutes on the cold windy beach! We pretty much relaxed and rested that day.

On Tuesday we departed from our Grandma's house and we traveled to Disney World. We set up camp then mom and dad went shopping for food and then mom worked on her job for our homeschool co-op, SEEK. So they were gone all afternoon and all of the kids were able to walk to the 'Bike Barn' and make a cel (yes, that's how 'cel' is spelled!). We traced a character onto a piece of plastic then colored it in. It was a lot of fun and very cold! That night we cooked fajitas. That evening we all (the whole and dad are back now) walked to the campfire and roasted our gigantic marshmallows. Then we were heading back to camp and that night was miserable! It was way below freezing and we were hurting so badly...especially mom. She almost moved to the bathhouse since it was heated...(it's Disney!). The next morning we woke up and cooked a very fast breakfast since we were going to University of Florida. Mom and I were wanting to go as soon as possible so we could get into a warm car! Our tour guide was awesome. We were able to visit The Swamp (the football stadium) and a sample dorm room. Later that evening we dropped mom off at the Contemporary Resort so she could work on descriptions for our homeschool co-op, SEEK, then the rest of us headed off to Downtown Disney. We visited all of our favorite shops and traded pins. We were up very late that night and mom was definitely stalling at the resort once we arrived to head back to camp. She was in NO hurry!! She didn't mind if we slept in the lobby because it was warm!! :) But that night wasn't as bad. We slept and then woke up...nobody woke up during the night. We were bundled up had a blanket on her feet and she felt a lot better. The hard part was getting out of the sleeping bag. So we quickly walked to the bathroom and right to the warm showers. The second hard part was getting out of the showers. Once we were all clean and ready for the day we made our breakfast then headed out to the bus station and started to look at all the resorts.

After looking at all the resorts we went swimming at the swimming pool. We mostly went down the slide, not much swimming...meaning actual stroke swimming! Then the kids played corn hole.

Later that night we went to the campfire then walked around some of the loops and looked at all the Christmas decorations that Disney guest put up to light there area up! Then we walked to the beach area by the boat dock and watched the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom and after that the parade on water. These boats put on the show!

That was pretty much our trip in a not too long post!!

Practice Debate Tournament

This year I learned how to debate and we had the practice tournament the weekend after the First Lego League Regionals Tournament...December 11th. Everybody who signed up got to debate four times. The first round I was able to debate my friend, which was exactly what I wanted, and we also had a great judge! This round was not really how a real round was like. One because we had a new timer and needed a bit of assistance so we ended up with a bit more time than what we're actually supposed to have (with the prep time) and two because we were having too much fun!! This round, though, gave us a feel of what a round was like. The second round I did OK. My opponent's value for me was a bit difficult to argue...especially since I had no idea what it was! The third round I was up against someone who has done this kind of stuff before and then the fourth round I was up against a guy who had democracy as his value. I actually didn't do so great, but somehow I ended up winning the round....
So I won half of the debates I debated. The rounds I won I was the negative speaker. I didn't really care what I won and what I didn't. I had a blast! It was so much fun...I don't know why, but it kind of became addicting!

By Bethany Colglazier

First Lego League Regionals Tournament

In case you all didn't know, I am on a First Lego League Team (Bethany is). First Lego League has two main parts: an engineering side and a project side.

On the engineering side we program a robot to complete missions. Each year First Lego League has a theme and this year was on Biomedical Engineering. Each year is different with it's missions. This year we had missions in which we needed to push things, grab things, and place things. So we came up with some attachments to help our robot complete those missions. At first it's pretty easy and it's a lot of fun....but then toward the middle it can get pretty frustrating, but still a lot of fun!!

On the project side we come up with a problem related to the theme of the year then come up with an improvement or solution. We focused on hearing loss and came up with a survey to send out to those who have hearing loss. One of the big problems that the majority had was batteries. The batteries didn't last too long and they had to keep replacing them. So we came up with body powered hearing aids that run by the beat of your heart, sound waves, blowing from your mouth or bit of quartz. One of our team members took all of our ideas and put it into a funny skit that we presented to the judges.

Now onto the tournament part! On Saturday, December 4th, 2010, we had our regional tournament. Each team got judged in three parts: Teamwork, Robotics, and the Project. Then later in the afternoon there were three rounds of robot runs. First was teamwork, which went great and we had a lot of fun with the teamwork challenge. We had to pick out something that we wanted to act out and we chose an airplane. The second judging round was on Robotics. We were able to show them our attachments and our robot runs. Then finally our third judging round was on the project. We presented our skit and then went over some things that we did over the season. Also during each judging round the judges would ask questions about whatever they were mainly judging on.

In the afternoon we ran our robot and the best score we ended up with was a 95. This was fine by us because we knew the robotics part wasn't exactly our strength. We did know, however, that our project and teamwork part went well and we figured we had a chance at that.

The day went pretty well and we were all exhausted at the award ceremony. They did first and second place for Robot Runs, Robot design, Teamwork, and Project. We place 2nd in Teamwork and that automatically put us in the states competition!!! We were all very excited and very unexcited. We just knew it was going to be another long day!! Anyway, states competition is in January!!!

Oh I forgot to mention that one other team member and I created a website to educate the "WORLD WIDE WEB" about our ideas and about First Lego League! We had lots of help from our Young Adult Mentor (or "YAM" for short) to make this website look good and to be on the web! So thank-you Christian! Our website link:

By Bethany Colglazier