FIRST Outreach in Atlanta

Aaron Liu and Aidan Liu presenting FLL Jr.

On Sunday, April 9th, we went to Atlanta to give a presentation on FIRST’s programs, ranging all the way from FLL Jr. to FRC. We aimed to inspire many more FIRST teams to be formed in the Atlanta area, particularly through the Chinese community, where we saw a large deficit in participation in robotics programs, specifically centering around FIRST. Before I go on, I’d like to give a brief shoutout to Juneflower, who graciously allowed us to host our presentation in their space.

Edward Li presenting FTC and FRC

Throughout the course of the event, presentations on FLL Jr. , FLL, FTC, and FRC were given. As many of our audience members were completely new to FIRST, we introduced the idea and vision of FIRST to them, along with information about why they should join FIRST programs. As a major focus of this event was empowering parents to become coaches and motivating forces for FIRST and robotics programs in their communities, we also discussed basic team structure as well as how to get started on each of FIRST’s different programs, while keeping unique considerations about each of the programs in mind.

However, the presentations themselves were not the notable part. After the event was hosted, a large level of involvement and interest were observed. Many took to social media, attempting to organize robotics teams based on their children’s ages and interests. We really look forward to the growth of FIRST programs in Georgia next year and wish all who decide to create or attend a team good luck throughout the season next year!

Anthony Li and Aaron Liu presenting FLL

Because of the level of observed interest, us at Kids2Kids are considering creating a series of videos describing concepts in robotics and FIRST, as well as recapping the event for all interested and those who were unable to attend on the date that we gave the presentation on. If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions about this upcoming idea, we would appreciate it greatly if you let us know! Good luck to all in the coming season!

Our FLL Team Won NJ State Project Presentation First Place

Every year from September to December is the FIRST Lego League (FLL) competition season.

Kids2Kids coached the Dragonite team in this season, which has done a wonderful job. First, in the Bergen Qualifying Tournament, they won second place in project and advanced to the New Jersey state championship. During the state competition in December, they won the first place in project presentation!

All of the team members worked very hard during the whole FLL season.

For FLL’s robot game, they built a very complex robot called the “3levator”, with its 3 elevator gear systems. The robot has two attachments, each of which can perform multiple missions inside one trip. It also uses three color sensors and one gyro sensor, making the robot’s movement more accurate. In total, the 3levator can earn up to 350 points.

In the Animal Allies project, they invented an innovative robot pet sitter called Pet Ball. The Pet Ball has three features: video chat, games for pets, and pet training. It takes care of your pet, entertains your pet, and exercises your pet, even when you aren’t at home. Additionally, the Pet Ball system is open to all developers, so they can create their own pet games and training activities for all pets to enjoy! As well as creating a solution, the team did tremendous research work on the issue of separation anxiety. They interviewed a vet and an animal shelter, and surveyed pet owners. Eventually, after researching and building a solution, they shared their project to Bloomberg, Montvale Animal Hospital, and even tested their creation with a real pet!

Way to go! Congratulations to the team Dragonite!

The Third Annual FIRST Lego League Coach Training

Time flew! It was already the time for our third year annual FIRST Lego League (FLL) coach training seminar.

Anthony Li demoing Lego Mindstorm EV3

Based on our experience from the last two years, we wanted to add more value for potential FLL coaches. Not only did we want to cover general information about the FLL competition, but we also wanted to show some Lego Mindstorms EV3 technical details, which would be really helpful for new coaches without experience in Lego Mindstorms. Anthony Li, a student who has six years of FLL experience, took this challenge. His great technical knowledge and public speaking skills impressed all the attendees. Everyone listened to his presentation and became excited to coach an FLL team.

Rong Xu presenting her FLL coaching experience

Rong Xu, a coach who has volunteered in FIRST for many years, shared her FIRST and FLL experiences and emphasized why FLL is important to everyone. Jenny Li, who has coached FLL teams for six years, told the potential coaches her inspiring FLL journey. The speakers went through all three parts of FLL and explained how they guided their teams throughout the competition season.

After coming in and listening to this year’s training, all of the new coaches felt confident about the coming FLL season.

Good luck, coaches and teams!

Teaching Robotics in Linyi

As part of our trip to China (中国), we taught robotics to children with mental disabilities in Linyi (临沂). The class was a new experience – both for us and for the students, who had rarely been exposed to the concepts of STEM.


When we settled in, the students took turns introducing themselves. Most were shy and not used to being given
much attention, but with some encouragement, almost all of them stood up and gave a couple of basic facts about themselves. It was clear that they were relieved but proud.

After a brief introduction to robotics and the various kinds of LEGO pieces, the students were split up into 6 teams
and were ready to build. As we gave out the MINDSTORMS kits, they examined the pieces intensely using various methods. Finally, we taught them how to build a robot step-by-step:

The students took advantage of our slow but steady pace and worked on their own little creative inventions:

Eventually, all those little steps added up, and their robots were completed. They each were very eager to start using each robot, having figured out how to turn the EV3 brick on.

As soon as the robots were completed, we jumped right into programming. We guided the students in creating a basic program to stay in the circle. With more encouragement, they took turns dragging and tweaking programming blocks on their team’s computer.

At last, it was time to set the robots into motion. After quickly teaching the students how to download and run their programs, we laid out some SumoBot mats and let their robots battle.

We were extremely delighted to see how the students were extremely happy and eager to battle their robots. Every time they saw two or three robots battle, they would all give a yell of excitement and would watch to see whose robot would become the ultimate winner. It was one of the most excited rooms of students we’ve seen.


Helping disabled children

The first goal of this class is to help mentally disabled children prepare for the future. The amount of change in the world is increasing exponentially, and people of all ages should be taught to adapt. By exposing them to robotics and other STEM concepts, we hope to foster an interest in STEM so that they can make the world a better place in adulthood. Ultimately, we want to give these children the skills and the confidence necessary to take care of themselves.

Helping the world

As well as helping mentally disabled children, we hope to break some of the stereotypes surrounding mental
disabilities. In China, most parents of mentally disabled people are ashamed that they’ve somehow done some mysterious thing to cause their child’s condition. We’d like to change that, and give parents the confidence to embrace and take pride in their child’s differences. Also, we hope to have the world understand that while it’s not clear at first glance, they still have really strong feelings such as love, affection, excitement, sadness, and happiness, especially in captivating moments such as seeing robots battle. At first glance, mentally disabled people may just seem socially akward, non-verbal, somehow extremely intelligent, and emotionless, but we want to show the world that deep down, they’re just like you – interesting people who care about others and face the same challenges as us.

Final Thoughts

This class is just one of the little steps in helping mentally disabled kids with these goals. In the future, we want to host more classes like this to help acheive these goals, and to truly help kids of all types, including mentally disabled kids, help other kids.

A Week of Qingdao Robotics

In summer 2016, we headed to a Chinese summer camp in Qingdao to teach the kids there about robotics. It was packed with new experiences for everyone involved in it.


Day 1 – Building

Eddie was helping kids.

On the first day, we got to know the kids and helped them build the robots. We discussed the basics of LEGO robotics, such as what a robot is and how to build using LEGO Technic. With some translation, they managed to grasp the concepts, and we moved on to building.

We let the student body (about 15 students) split up into groups of 2 and 3. Each group chose one out of three of our robots to build. After doing this, we guided them step-by-step in building their robot until each group was able to show their robots in pride:

Day 2 – Basic Programming

Now that the students had built their robots, it was time to teach them how to program their robots.

We started out by pointing out various parts of the EV3 software. After the students had familiarized themselves with the programming software, we let them play around with the most basic block, Move Steering:

Each group had a blast learning to make their robot move forward, backward, and even turn.

Day 3 – Sensor Programming

Anthony was showing sensors to the class.

At this point, the students had a solid understanding of motor programming, so we moved on to sensor programming.

We taught them about the control statements of programming, such as switches (if statements), loops, and wait blocks. They learned how to program their robot to stay inside a circle, and watched their robots running their programs with excitement:

Finally, they were ready to prepare for our SumoBots competition. We guided them through making a simple SumoBots program using the color and ultrasonic sensors. They even had time to make their robots their own.

Day 4 – Competition

Finally, after building, programming, and customizing their robots, each st

Kids were competing with each other.

udent was ready for seeing their robots battle against each other in a friendly competition. Everyone watched and rooted for each team, and started cheering whenever a robot pushed another robot out of the SumoBot ring.

In the end, everyone had fun with robotics, having learned to build, program, customize, and battle their robots.


Yes, we at Kids2Kids also learned quite a bit from the summer camp.

The Language Barrier

Our students were born in China, and have lived there to this day, so most of them spoke in Chinese. This language divide required us to learn how to speak in Chinese. Eventually, we learned enough Chinese to carry moderate conversations, and we’re pretty proud of that.

Tofu, Bread, and Clay

We also took part in the summer camp’s activities, such as watching movies, going to museums, and learning how to make various Chinese things. For example, we learned how Qingdao started out as an ancient, peaceful city, as well as its history under German occupation. We also learned how to make tofu (note to anyone making tofu: it requires a lot of soybeans) and soymilk (a byproduct of making tofu), as well as a kind of Chinese bread (it’s white and it’s pretty tasty) and clay pottery (my pot broke in half in the middle of the session.) We even slept and ate at the summer camp, making friends with the kids there and learning more about Chinese culture.

Expanding our Horizons

On Thursday, we visited a school called YiTu that teaches kids using LEGO in Beijing, China, where LEGOs aren’t as prevalent.


After exchanging greetings, we shared our experiences with LEGO. We IMG_6090talked about how we learned about FIRST in the first place, explained the FIRST family of robotics competitions, and shared how we teach LEGO robotics. More importantly, we talked about the life-changing aspect of FIRST robotics,
detailing how FLL (First LEGO League) had encouraged us to spread STEM concepts throughout our community, and eventually form Kids2Kids.

The teachers at YiTu were interested in FIRST’s robotics competitions, especially FLL Jr. We learned about their plan to use LEGO WeDo in their curriculum, and we were very excited to find out that they were interested in creating a FLL Jr. team and even hosting a FLL Jr. competition.


However, we’re especially excited for this opportunity because of the potential new robotics teams in China. We hope to be in touch soon, and we wish good luck to any new robotics teams!

Lego Robotics Class at BCA 2016 finished

Academy After Hours Robotics Class

The Academy After Hours Spring 2016 is finally over! We had a great few weeks together starting in mid-March and finishing up just last week. A few highlights of this session include:

  • A smaller class for more personal interactions
  • Our second ever class with AAH in the Bergen County Academies
  • Development of robot building skills


Throughout this year’s AAH Robotics Class, we saw much improvement with buildingFullSizeRender skills. We had a class of only 8 people, so we were able to reinforce important building techniques like usage of black pegs as well as the simplicity of a build. One of the best aspects of this season’s class was the willingness of each student to attempt things that they were not exposed to previously. We enjoyed seeing our students think of innovative ways to retrieve loops or attack other robots in the SumoBot competition that we held at the end of our class. One of our students decided to attempt to spin quickly to attack other robots as well as prevent them from pushing themselves.


In addition, our class was able to learn the use of many sensors in their program, including some sensors that we saw in the SumoBot battle, like ultrasonic, color, and touch sensors. We learned how to use these sensors in our programs, mostly by moving until a wait block was triggered by a sensor.

Next Steps

We hope to host another robotics session in the fall of 2016 with AAH again. In this program, we hope to focus more on programming and introduce better methods of organizing and understanding the logic that goes into the creation of a viable program as we saw some students slightly confused by the programming process of their robots in this class.IMG_5564.JPG

In addition, we would like to expand our class selection. Right now, we are open to middle schoolers for our robotics class. However, we would like to cater to younger and older audiences by creating more advanced classes and easier introduction classes.

Overall, this AAH robotics class was another successful learning experience, for both the kids and the teachers involved. We hope to see you in one of our classes next year!


Edward Li Teaches Lego Robotics Class at BCA

Academy After Hours Update

Just a brief update on how we’re doing with the AAH LEGO Robotics program!

We’ve finished basic building and programming, and we’re moving into sensors. In one of our previous challenges, we’ve seen some innovative designs, like a cage to capture a loop that was built to fit perfectly around it.

Next week, we’re looking forward to continuing our challenge with grabbing water bottles with either a medium motor or a large motor! At the end of our course, I’m really excited to continue on the to the Sumobot project.

See you guys all soon!

Our second Annual FIRST Lego League Coach Training Session

Since 2014, Kids2Kids has organized FIRST Lego League (FLL) annual coach training seminars during the summer.

Jingru presenting in the FLL coaching training

Two FLL teams’ coaches have joined this year’s coach training efforts. HIPE team coach Jingru Wang talked about FIRST, FLL’s history, and how much effort is needed. The coach of George Washington Middle School STEM Club team Jenny Li presented about how to start a team and what an FLL tournament is like. Both of them shared their experiences about coaching their teams, and gave some tips to potential coaches about how to set their team’s goals, organize the team, solve team conflicts, and more.

Around 30 interested people attended this year’s coach training seminar. There were even two people who drove a long way from Washington, DC to join our training session. All of them were inspired by our two coaches, with than four teams have been formed as a direct result of this presentation. They all said, “This coach training session is really helpful!”

Coach, Jenny sharing FLL robot game with other coaches

Kids2Kids is delighted to see the very great impact.

See you all teams in the next FLL season! We hope all team members get a great experience!

Fast advancement at our JEI Robotics Program


Kids at JEI starting their first robot.

Kids at JEI starting their first robot.

Our first robotics program in JEI Academy started out on Monday with

the kids building their first robots. They started out with a brief overview of what each piece of the robotics set was made out of. Afterwards, they chose which robot to build, and off they went – their first foray into robotics for many. After everyone’s robot was finished, all the kids were excited to get their robot to move. All of our great group leaders taught our students how to move the robot with the onboard motor control, then we got into programming. At first, the students struggled with understanding programming concepts, but gradually, they made their robot move around a box and move in a figure 8, a considerable improvement from the beginning of the first day, when they had no idea about what a robot even was!


Even though the previous day was hard, all of the students came back the next day, and the next day, and the next day to continue their robotics adventure. We breezed ahead of schedule and went over sensors and worked on grabbing objects while sensing rooms or circles drawn on the floor. Through a mixture of building and programming projects, the students learned about best building practices and best programming practices. Our students were enjoying the class so much that we even began some unplanned enrichment, teaching the students how to follow lines, a fairly advanced topic. It’s really amazing that they had come so far in just three days of robotics, starting from a mostly blank slate to a state that was fairly advanced.

A robot designed to pick up a loop

A robot designed to pick up a loop

Kids inspecting a loop and building a hook

Kids inspecting a loop and building a hook


Now that our students had been equipped with the skills that they needed to start building and programming by themselves, we started our big project, the BattleBot project. A buzz of activity emanated from the middle of the group, with the sounds of pieces snapping together, taps of the keyboard, and clicks of the mouse. As they began running tests of their robot, they started to cheer when their robot knocked another robot out of the round. Everyone had to be dragged back home, dizzy with anticipation of the next day.

Kids crowd around the 3D printer as Eddie introduces the concept of 3D printing.

Kids crowd around the 3D printer as Eddie introduces the concept of 3D printing.

Finally, competition day came. Everyone rushed to make some last-minute adjustments, and competition rounds began. As robot after robot was knocked out of the round, loud cheering was heard. After the competition, as an extra tidbit, the winners were given a 3D Printed trophy, followed by a quick lesson on 3D Printing. As we waved goodbye for the last time, I couldn’t help but think about how far our students have come in just five days of robotics. We wish all of them luck in the future with robotics!