Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Getting ready for robotics...

I stayed after on Tuesday and fixed the problem with Robolab, so that I have used (successfully!) eight different computers to send programs to the RCX. I checked this process on each computer, even after I had figured out the problem. I wanted to be absolutely certain. Cross your fingers that we escape technical difficulties this week.

Today, during a prep, I created a packet to walk students through the research presentation. It's interesting, because in elementary and middle school, I did a program called Future Problem Solving. Basically, you identified a problem within a given topic area, then brainstormed solutions, chose one solution, and described it in more detail. In creating this packet, I found myself replicating the steps of the FPS process - brainstorming problems, choosing one to focus on, brainstorming solutions, choosing one to focus on using certain criteria, developing your solution in more detail. These steps aren't rocket science, and perhaps I would have figured them out without FPS, but I can't help but think that this particular approach to a research project is cemented in my mind thanks to solving (hypothetical) problems related to nuclear weapons, energy resources, and space exploration back in the early 90's.

I divided the kids into four small teams. I gathered various books and will find websites later tonight (no internet access in my classroom so I will have to print stuff out for now). I hope that two teams will work more-or-less independently on the research project, using the packet to guide their thinking, while I work with the other two teams on robot-construction and programming. We'll see; stay tuned.


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