Friday, August 19, 2011

Allllllmoooooossst Donnnnee!

Well after many schedule changes, a lot of stress and exhaustion we are almost finished with the MoonBots challenge for this year! We have overcome many challenges this MoonBots season and I am very proud of the work our team has done! Our biggest challenge was that we were having a hard time finding a space to set up our challenge board in so we asked if we could use the schools stage. That space was definitely big enough, but easily accessible to many people, (people who are very interested in playing with LEGOs) we had one day where we came in and our program wasn't working AT ALL and we were so frustrated, until one of the team members realized that the launch pad had been moved on the board!
Another major challenge was that the schools Internet would not allow us to use skype or any other public video chat feature, so the night before the competition we had to move the entire board to a house a couple of blocks away from the school. It was an interesting experience, one I would NOT encourage others to do. Lets just say that the challenge board is a LOT easier to disassemble (practically effortless) then it is to assemble! We basically had to rebuild everything before the competition.
Its okay though, it was all worth it at 5:30am Hawaii Time when we met to have our judges interview..granted the sun wasnt up and we had to get creative with the lighting so that the challenge board could even be seen with the webcam, and most of the team was half asleep, I think we did great during our interview, and our robot did exactly as it was supposed to the very first time!
Overall I think MoonBots 2.0 was a great experience for our island. We were able to educate 7,000 people about how they use STEM in their everyday lives, showcase a LEGO moonscape to 350 elementary school students, represent the entire state of Hawaii in a global competition, and expand our own critical thinking and inquiry skills. While we are happy that it is all over now and we can take a breather, we are looking forward to the possibility of competing in next years challenge!
Signing out for Molokai Mahina 2.0,
Aunty Jenn
Molokai Mahina 2.0 Coach

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Final Countdown!

Hi my name is Luke Kikukawa.
Today’s practice was really challenging, but I think that we got a lot accomplished! First of all we had to finish programming our robot. The total inaccuracy of it has been puzzling us for the past three weeks. It just won’t work some of the time! Yesterday we felt like our robot was having crazy “mood swings” and it was changing course on different tries of the exact same program! But today we came up with the simplest program ever. I hope… no I KNOW it will work but I’m still a little worried. The judges will be a little astonished when they see it.
Another thing we finished today was transporting the ENTIRE lunar surface to another location. We did this because we needed an internet connection that will enable us to Skype the judges. The internet at the school does not allow us to access Skype, so we had to move the competition somewhere we could use Skype. To move it we had to divide the entire playing area into sections. Despite this precaution, many of the sections ended up breaking apart, but we made sure none of the 2,000 orange moon rocks spilt on the floor or got lost. After a lot of hard work, we had moved the lunar surface to its new location and half an hour later we had finished “repairing” it and put it back together. Anyway, I think we’re ready for tomorrow morning and that we will be able to impress the judges. We’re all still frightened of the fact we’ll have to wake up at 5 AM or earlier on a school day!
Boy do we love MoonBots,
Luke Kikukawa

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Check out this great article from the Molokai Dispatch- They forgot to write about our sponsors so we will ask them for a correction in next weeks paper!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Latest Update!

Hey everyone,
It’s Michael Kikukawa again, reporting for my second blog this summer. Time has been flying by (and that’s not necessarily a good thing) for the Molokai Mahina MoonBots team.
With school already finished with its first week (yes, Hawaii ends summer way too early), we have been forced to spend less time with our robot and more time with our homework. :( Before I begin my blog on our advancement as a team, I would like to take the time to congratulate some of our individual successes. We have two freshmen on the team, and they have started their high school careers very well. Luke has had no problem at all making plenty of friends and Alex has advanced very well in volleyball tryouts and will find out if she made the team today. Congratulations Alex and Luke! James is our only senior and has been doing his part for MoonBots while working for the public library. I have been busy, busy, busy with Student Council and three or four other clubs. Our coach recently became the Executive Director for our local Humane Society, so she is very busy as well. All of us are also on the high school VEX Robotics team, which meets twice a week after school. So it’s definitely become hard to make time to meet.
Despite these difficulties, our team worked this week on completing our robot; finishing the CAD version of it; editing our video community outreach project; and submitting our newspaper community outreach photos, interviews and essay.
In terms of our robot, we have successfully built it (although we continue to make small modifications as we come across problems in our original design) and are working on successfully programming it. Programming has taken up a lot of our time as every inch counts! So far we’ve enabled our robot to pick up two (almost four!) hydrogen 3 pieces and climb a crater wall all by itself. Our next challenge will be to pick up the water ice and complete the other challenges. Hopefully, before we know it, we’ll be programming it to return to base.
We have also finished our CAD design, although every addition to our robot has to be transferred to our CAD version of it.
James is heading our video community outreach project (since he did such an amazing job on our Phase One video) and we can’t wait to see what he will think of for this one! Our newspaper article should be in next week’s paper (our paper is only published once a week!) featuring some of the photos we each took, an interview, and an article that Alex wrote and I edited. We can’t wait to see it!
In other news, our final judging interview has been rescheduled for August 18th (our original time was during school) but the timing will be hard… it’s at 6 AM Hawaii Time! Talk about tough. PLUS we dont think we will be able to get SKYPE on our schools internet, which is where the challenge board is currently set up. But it’s all just the price we have to pay to participate in this competition and we’re happy for the opportunity (although waking up at 5:15 AM or earlier isn’t my idea of a good start to the day).
Until next time,
Michael Kikukawa
Student Team Co-Captain