Into the Breach

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As I type this for the kids…we have three groups running:

1) Kalen is running a mission writing session on the robotic challenge.  No adults touching anything.  Kalen leading two new guys: Diego and Matteo in the problem solving and programming.  Kalen is making sure Diego actually types in the program, while he is looks over the shoulder. The new guys already each have a good catch in troubleshooting the problem, and Kalen has to display humility because even though he has a few years here he is not always right.

2) Joey is writing and designing a program for another mission.  He’s got new guy James working with him.  They are measuring and plotting out the parameters needed to get the framework down before they get on the board.  Not easy stuff.

3) Two newbies, Kevin and Maya, are designing the 2016 T-Shirt with Coach Levergood.  Very important team mission indeed!

No matter the result on December 10, the big kids are taking the lead.  The newbies are becoming valued members of the team who contribute.   This is what this is season is all about!



Kids Taking the Lead

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One of the best parts of Robotics is challenging the kids a little more each week.  At this point our 7th Graders really are diving deeply to problem solving the core my blocks we’ll need to master robot missions.  It may sound simple, but it is not.  Trying to get a robot to go in a straight line, stop precisely on the same spot each time, go backwards, or identify the proper reading from a sensor is not an easy task.

In this series of photos above you see Coach Bunn ask leading questions, to which he himself did not have the answer to.  This allowed Kalen to think through the problem.  Two days after these shots Kalen found the problem.  An integer in the my block was turned into an absolute value…and would not let the robot go in reverse.

Each of the kids is getting the same treatment and challenge set….more examples to follow!


Scientific Method Lessons: By Kevin

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This past Saturday the kids learned a great deal about scientific method.   Here is how my son Kevin (ten years old) explains it:

  1. You have an idea, and need to test the idea.  You need to know if it is correct.
  2. You watch the test.  If the test fails you think of something else.  If the test succeeds then you need to test again.  You need to make sure there is no differences each time.
  3. If it does the same thing each time you can say your idea was a success.

The other cool thing the was the scrum board.  We put missions on the board, see the difficulty of each test, and all our ideas on how to solve the mission.  We put the missions on the board so we can remember our ideas on another day.  We also make changes as team when we think up possible better ideas!

Good day for us to learn something new!


Power of a Game

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This game might not look like much, but the power in the game is more than meets the eye.  The purpose is not to solve the game, the purpose is have children discover and apply for themselves the core values which define us as a Catholic community.  We coaches are pushing the children to push a little more narcism out and bring a little more selflessness in.

In the first run of the game we had children bypass others, and go right to acting out solutions.  No words, not inclusion, and no disputing as younger weaker kids allowed the bigger kids to lead.  As is typical with many groups, younger members will initially follow the bold no matter what the logic.  Out came the rope…and into the reactor it went. Out came the sticks and over the cooler fell into the reactor.  Crash!

After the first spectacular failure, kids received their corrections. They learned how to show respect when receiving corrections, and started to apply it in small spurts.  Again typical of kids this age.  Then they set out again to make a solution.  They learned to discuss the plan before acting…and this time lasted 35 seconds before touching something…and crashing 45 seconds later with sticks alone.

On the third try they picked up more pieces.  They talked, but fell into the age appropriate trap of either/or for a solution.  The team started down a solution with sticks again, and realized they needed to give the rope a try instead.  Crash…the balls all fell down yet again!

The found out the answer was actually both sets of tools.  They needed four axis control of their container, and the only way to do that was to use both tools available.  Each solution alone was doomed to failure.

A little quieter, the kids fell back into the classroom to work on the robot and project yet again.  They talked a little more.  They respected each other a little more.  It was all just in the power of the game.



Integration to Darebots by Diego

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My name is Diego, and I am one of the five new Darebots this year.  We newbies, range in age from 4th grade to 6th.  We have a lot to learn…but that is all just part of the Core Values we want to show the world!

New Darebots all have to do research to help the group to do the project.  Doing research for the team allows us to participate better as we build our Sales Pitch for new ways to milk snakes safely.  By learning to do this ourselves, without our parents reminding us show we are developing self discipline.  The team also has to build the robot together.  We do this because we all have to be able to pitch in if someone gets ill on gameday!  (The old timers promise this will happen…it happens every year!)  In my case, after two lessons of programing the coaches expected me to solve basic programing problems on my own.

My lesson tonight was learning how to help write the blog.  Coach W wanted me to start understanding the difference between beginning skills, and exemplary skills.  It was a lot to take in, but it is helping me understand how we can make this team succeed past the first round.

-djr & rll edited by ehw


Project Planning workshop by Kalen


This is what it looks like when a 13 year old (Kalen) takes charge to begin building out the way to explain a First Lego Project and build up the sales pitch to sell it.  He was teaching James, a nine year old, what we need to include so he can begin the process of being in charge next year.  Teaching and learning with gracious professionalism is a wonderful event to behold.  This is why the work to bring our children to is so worthwhile.

(This is also how we build up the Kids do the Work block in Core Values! )


Learning about Snakes and Sales by Mateo

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Tonight we learned about a Hognose snake.  This one belongs to our team member James, and its name Brian.  He a non-venomous snake, but it was great to have him here so we can understand how snakes move and act.  This will be very important so we can handle and milk the snakes efficiently in our project solution.

Kalen started leading us on the project.  I will be learning about what we call the sales pitch.  When we meet the judges we have five minutes to make a sales pitch which will convince the judges our solution for milking snakes is realistic, original, and we shared our ideas with others.  I’ve never done this before, so I have to work hard at this new set of skills!  I will learn to do this cheerfully because this is core value!