robotics: year 1
My first day of robotics was incredible. The head coach liked the energy I had so he gave me to the youngest group of kids 4th graders at the time. I was completely surprised by how well they got along and how many different things that they were willing to try, they were not afraid of failure, they hadn’t thought far enough ahead to give failure a chance. This was a trial period for robotics, I believe in 2 months we had 3 classes.
The next quarter started and I offered to think up a small lesson plan for the kids to take on so that they could properly learn the different techniques to programming. I was amazed at how quickly these kids just understood the graphic based programming. At first I would teach coaches how to program, and tried to get them to teach the kids, but I quickly learned that these kids learned faster than the coaches did. Bam I had become head coach.
I started off my this new title by recruiting my best friends to help me instruct the kids, another chance to hang out with them while teaching kids robotics. But quickly decided that if my best friends were the ones that I gave practice to, they would age out and have to quit teaching at the same time I did. Which meant relying on students I didn’t know to show up so that the class was not complete chaos.
The first class that nobody showed up in but me and the supervising teacher actually went a lot smoother than I would have expected. The plan was to make them build cars that raced against each, I knew that they needed something with a little bit more difficulty to keep them from wreaking havoc half way through class. So I brought my bicycle in and I taught them what gears are for and what they can do for us. It was a half hour lecture that I had completely pulled out of my ass, yet somehow kept the kids engaged. I then told them to spend the next 45 minutes figuring out a way to incorporate the robots’ gears onto their car. I had no further instruction for them, because I honestly had no idea how they were supposed to do it, I was winging it. Class ended and we had 4 different strategies that incorporated the gears, the kids had pretty quickly found the fastest gear ratios, which were also the least controllable. Each robot running a drunken line trying to get to its goal. It was the moment where I realized that I couldn’t let this program die. I didn’t care if I was the only coach able to teach, the program was going to happen.
The kids took their race cars to a local elementary tournament and ended up winning first in all of their racing events. The other schools hadn’t taught gears yet so my team had left them in the dust once they figured out how to keep the robots going straight. Woops
That was the end of the first year. I’ll continue this later :)