Tag Archives: LEGO

I’m BACK! Helloooo 2014!

5 Jan
sparkling_2014_lights

Photo credit christmasstockimages Licensed under Creative Commons

 

I’ve missed everyone!

I’m back from my blogging break and ready to go! Tomorrow I will get back to reviewing books. I’ve read some great ones over my break and can’t wait to tell you about them!

But  first – some silliness!

einstein

I am pointing at a sign that says Pi = 3.14 = Pizza Pie = yum.

The picture is for Mrs. RoZo (Julie Rowan-Zoch at julierowanzoch.wordpress.com). When I told her I had an Einstein wig, she wanted pictures. I thought I lost the mustache, but then found it with the lab coat. I tried to smile but every time I did, the mustache fell off! ;)

How was your holiday break?

I had a great time (even though my parents made me stay off the computer for about a whole week, but I had lots of fun anyway ;) ). I got some great things for Christmas: A wonderful mug with two of my favorite things (besides raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles, warm woolen mittens, and brown paper packages tied up with string) on it – Doctor Who (the person who said the quote) and books (the subject of said quote):

mug

So true, Doctor, so true.

A cool light switch cover! It totally shows my geekiness, but WHO CARES??? It’s my room after all! :)

switch

Hey, I just noticed… If you choose the Dark Side of the Force, you save electricity… Hmm…

I really love this home-made Snowglobe Josie made for me. She used Legos, some glitter and a mason jar. Isn’t it great?!?

snow

It’s a Capture the Flag scene… That never ends. ;)

And I really love my bookshelves. My dad and I built them over Christmas break.  I filled them up on the  day we got them done. :) Now my bedroom feels like home! :)

library

Notice the stunning hat – it was a present too! :)

I am wearing a very cool t-shirt I got for my birthday -

shirt

I made Josie some really cool home-made fairy wings for a Christmas present. Here she is, modeling them. :)

fairy1

Notice the beautiful artwork. ;)

fairy2

The Gathering Books Blog had a feature about Fairies a while back and Fats Suela posted the instructions for making the fairy wings. When I saw it, I knew I wanted to make them for Josie. I was happy Josie liked them so much. :) I told Ms. Suela I’d post pictures of them when Josie opened them… so here they are! You can see the post that has the video on how to make them HERE.

One really cool thing our family did for the season is that my family helped out at Toys for Tots in our county. I never knew what happened to all the toys that get donated and now I do. We helped a great Marine named George who danced with the Princess of Denmark when he was stationed there (George had a ton of great stories). George had to fill orders for 600 kids from our county and he needed a lot of help. I couldn’t believe how much work there was to do. Our job was to get a description of a kid (like boy – 8 years old – likes Star Wars and comics) and try to match toys to the kid. The room we were in had toys all over and we had to search through everything to find things that we thought the kids would like. I tried to do the best I could. I was kind of sad because so many kids were asking for bikes and George literally had one bike in his donation pile. It made me think how lucky I am to have a bike. Mostly we were able to get the things kids asked for and that made me feel great. We helped George out for 2 nights (about 5 hours each night). It was hard work, but I hope we get to do it next year too.

I didn’t make any “resolutions.” Did you?

Check out my Books I read HERE. I started counting them March 7, 2013. I ended up with 276 books in 2013. I have 6 read for January 2014 so far.

How have you been? :)

Two Great Graphic Novel Series from Papercutz

10 Dec

Today I am reviewing two comic book/graphic novel series from Papercutz, a great graphic novel publisher. I really like that Papercutz has a huge selection of comics and that they make comics for every age group. Check out all the titles they have at their website by clicking HERE. As you may know, I really like comics and graphic novels and I think they are a great way to get kids into reading.

The first series combines one of my favorite things – LEGOs with another of my favorite things – READING!

ninjagobanner

The Papercutz LEGO Ninjago books are based on Ninjago (LEGO ninja warriors)  toys (and there is a LEGO game called Spinjitsu that you can play). The graphic novel series has 7 volumes so far. The story starts in book 1. Kai (the red ninja)’s sister, Nya, was kidnapped by Lord Garmadon, so Kai joined a team of ninjas led by Sensei Wu: Cole (black ninja), Jay (blue ninja) and Zane (white ninja). Together they gather the four golden weapons of Spinjitsu (their martial art). They get the weapons and go to stop Lord Garmadon… or will they?!?

The adventure continues through the other books. The story plots are connected and they are super fun to read (you don’t have to like LEGOs to love these graphic novels). The art work is really great! Here is an example from the Papercutz website.

Ninjago_Interior_P1.indd

The books are written well for younger kids. There is a lot of excitement, good vs. evil and super ninja action! There is also a lot of humor mixed into the stories. I think that makes it even better.

I think this LEGO based graphic novel series would be a great gift for any kid who loves LEGOs AND it gets them into reading! I’d recommend this series to kids 5+.

I give the Ninjago Comic books 5 out of 5 bookworms! fivebooks

The next series I want to tell you about is called “Dance Class.”

**I know you are saying, “Erik, isn’t this a series for girls?” Answer: Yes it is, but I like the stories anyway. ;)

dance_header

The main idea of the series is the main characters, Julie, Alia, and Lucie, LOVE to dance. They are also friends and go to school together. The girls practice, compete and try to be the best dancer.  This also means that sometimes there is some trouble like when a cute boy is made the lead in Romeo and Juliet and all the girls want to be Juliet! The girls have usual teenage issues that they deal with too (school, parents, boys).

There are four books in the series so far -

danceclassbanner

I think this is a great series. Julie, Alia and Lucie are nice girls that love dance and do it well. I like how they work hard to get what they want. I do like seeing perseverance in characters. Sometimes a character can be a bit mean to another one and there’s some jealousy (like if one girl gets picked for a part that another one wanted), but it adds to the story plot.  There is a ton of humor in the books. The illustrations are great and also add to the humor of the books -

I recommend this series to kids 10+ because it seems to be meant for a little older kid. I think girls (and some boys ;) ) would love these books!

I give the Dance Class series 4 out of 5 bookworms. fourbooks

No Quote of the Week Today! I LEGO my books for another day!

29 Jan

Sorry I don’t have a quote of the week today. I didn’t have time to make a post up, but I do want to tell you what I did yesterday – I went to another LEGO© competition! BUT this time it was the Penn First Lego League CHAMPIONSHIP! YAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!! I told you a while ago that we competed in a qualifier and made it into the Championship round (see my post HERE). If you don’t know about First Lego League you should check out their website HERE. FLL is meant for 4-8th graders to learn about robotics (building robots, programming them and competing with them). We also had to make a separate project having to do with food safety. We developed a product called “InboxMINT” which is a peppermint flavored container. When mice try to chew through the container, the mouse tastes the peppermint (which mice HATE) and the mouse leaves without contaminating the food.

It was held at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We got there at 8:30 in the morning – Here’s my team from left to right – Hunter, Colson, Josh, Erik ;) (in the Phillies hat), Thomas, Alex. Thomas is holding The Red Baroness our robot.

There were a lot of teams! This tournament was very large compared to the one I went to late last year! There was a total of 52 teams! We set up in the Pit Area – Look at part of the bottom floor ! (There were two floors of competitors)-

Told you it was a lot of people

 Once we set up our presentation at our table, my partner Josh and I went to Practice Table #1. Josh was the motor man for the Red Baroness. That means he picked which program we would use and started the Baroness. I was the line-up man. I made sure the attachments were on the Baroness correctly and the robot was lined up right for which ever program Josh put in. See us performing our practice? That’s Mr. Foreman, our coach, in the striped shirt.

We went over to the arena which was in a different building. The hall was HUGE!

We saw some teams that also moved on from our last competition…”Sooooo we meet again NARWHALS”!

We met some new teams… “Sooooo we finally meet you…crabby lobster thing people?? Um…with your brown leader…?”

We all got our chance to compete on the BIG STAGE! Here is the video of my round  (you can see me on the big screen sometimes ;) )-

Sadly, we didn’t win. :( BUT after the second round, we were in 7th place out of 52 teams! We did good on the 3rd round and I think we must have finished in the top 10. I’ll let you know where we placed when we get the final results!

Congratulations to team Green Machine, an all girl team that won FIRST PLACE!!

I LEGO My Books for a Day!

7 Dec

This has nothing to do with books, but it has something to do with LEGOs (my second most favorite thing in the world). I am really excited about it and I thought that some of you may want to know about this great program!

I am a member of the Upper Perkiomen Robotic Team  – First Lego League Division. I know, you’re asking “The what now?” The First LEGO League (FLL) is a world-wide organization that gives students a chance to learn about “real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface.” You can read more about it at their website by clicking HERE. Basically we got to build and program a robot that needs to complete certain tasks. The Upper Perkiomen Robotic Team (UPRT) is a volunteer group that helps promote “ the wonders of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” UPRT wants to “enhance student participation in challenging age-appropriate STEM and robotics competitive programs as a means to fueling a desire for education while exposing students to 21st Century technologies and processes that can lead to dynamic and rewarding futures.” Please visit the UPRT website HERE.

I JUST THINK IT’S WAY COOL!

So the UPRT participated in the 2011 Lego Robotics FLL Qualifying Tournament last weekend at Girard College in Philadelphia. It was huge! 12 other Robotic teams were there by the time we got there! The Mighty Narwhals (one of the teams) had the best team uniform – Narwhal hats *SWEET*! (see above). Our team motto is tachquiwi (pronounced “taacch-wee”) it means “together” in the Lenape language. The Lenape Indians were the original settlers of the Upper Perkiomen Valley of Pennsylvania and tachquiwi is what we try to do as a team, work together!

The theme of this year’s FLL challenge is called “Food Factor Challenge.”  It has to do with food safety and keeping our food supply safe. For the competition, you had to build a robot which could do certain things on the field (see photo). Like moving fish from the ocean to home base or tip dispensers full of “Germs,” and bring them back to base, bringing groceries to a table or collecting other food items without contaminating them.

We also had to make a project and a skit that had to do with making our food supply safer. We came up with the idea that we wanted to keep mice out of people’s boxed food. We researched “what are some foods mice hate” on the internet and found out that mice hate peppermint. We came up with a new packaging idea: 1 layer of cardboard, then you cover it with peppermint strips, and top it with the paper label (it’s really a cardboard label) and called the product “inboxMINT”. This way we are keeping the mice away from the food, it isn’t harmful to the environment and we don’t have to poison or kill the mice. We also had to put together a skit to “sell” our product –“inboxMINT”. In the skit, I was a REALLY important character (I was the mouse! “Squeak!” :) ), but my only lines were: 3 ‘squeaks’ and 1 ‘yuck’.

AND NOW I WILL INTRODUCE YOU TO THE RED BARONESS

  • Our Robot’s Name: The Red Baroness
  • Accessories: A big, red bucket that attached to the side, two (2) claws, a red bumper, and a small, gray bucket
  • Manipulator: A bucket/claw carrier
  • Number of Wheels: Three (3) – two (2) small, one (1) large
  • How Many Programs We Made For The Baroness: Four (4) [And they all worked!]
  • Interesting fact – she was originally called “The Red Baron” but one of our team members said “girl robots always work better” so he became a she ;)
  • AND BY THE WAY SHE ROCKED!

The judges at the event were scientists, engineers, teachers, computer experts and other really smart people. For the judging they looked at our robot, tested our teamwork, and looked at our project and skit. We also had to compete on the game board for points. Guess what?!?! Our team won the trophy for Best Robot Design! We also “leveled-up” and get to go to the Championship Round next month! Wahooo!!!

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