Robotics, Session 2
We started with a group meeting, everyone said their name, grade, and one thing they are looking forward to in robotics. Answers ranged from having fun to liking technology to winning the competition to making robots do cool things. Then I briefly summarized the way the program works for the new students, and we went to work building more of the props for the playing field. We are bogged down in the biggest building project of them all: the ship. We still need to finish the dolphin cage and the shipping container and the pipeline, too. The kids say we are missing pieces of the pipeline. I suspect they will turn up as we finish other things and the Lego storage box empties. One group of kids went to work installing Robolab on some laptops. Unfortunately, that was a very slow process and we really only got it installed on one laptop. They had a more boring job but it was some of the more patient kids tending the installation process, so they didn't complain much. I stressed how important it was to get the program on the computers. We also ran into some installation problems because our computers have student, teacher, and administrative accounts, and to fully install Robolab required the admin password, and it wouldn't accept what I thought was the password. So that was mystifying and frustrating.
Anyway, I think the kids had fun. I didn't exactly have fun, but I think that was just because the sheer number of kids was overwhelming. I will devise some systems to streamline things and that should help. I do enjoy those moments when the room is really chaotic at first glance, but upon a closer look, everyone is engaged in an important task.
We had a guest, someone who might film robotics for a documentary. He was awesome and helped out and talked to kids as they worked.... it is so much better to have a second adult in the room. What was interesting was that one of my sixth graders went right up to our guest and asked him some questions and then basically stuck by his side for all of snack time. It always amazes me how much certain kids - and all kids, really - crave positive attention from adults.
Next Thursday, when I will likely be on my own, is going to be really challenging. Systems, systems, systems. Hopefully my lunchtime helpers can finish the boat by then.