Thursday, December 5, 2013

Robots This Weekend!

I haven't forgotten my duties in garden education.  I've just been following Winston Churchill’s advice and doing some different work to keep from getting burned out.

The Fall semester is winding down and this weekend the boys compete in the First Lego League robotics competition at Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center.  Our team is named Lego Farm, in case you come to watch.

The competition is for ages 9-14.  My guys are 9.  The teams can have...
2-10 kids on them.  We have two.  Most of the participants have been competing for years.  This is our first year.  Most of the teams are sponsored by schools and have the fancy educational model robot.  We are using the Mindstorms over-the-counter model.  What I'm trying to say is:  we'd love to see you, but don't expect too much.  A win for us is not being disqualified.

They have had the Mindstorms set for two years and this is the fourth robot they have built.  The set says it is for ages 10+.

That is a little funny because their birthday is right before Christmas and the year they turned three was a huge deal to them.  All the good toys are for ages 3 and up.  A lady in the grocery store asked them how old they were and the little one was very proud to tell her, "Oh!  I'm three and up!"
Taking apart the old robot.

Another concept young kids learn quickly is the "Trymees."  The tall one had to explain the concept repeatedly before I understood.  These are toys with "Try me" buttons.  It's better than window shopping.

I can't help them with the robot or the obstacles or the programs.  Those are the rules.  Not that I could anyway. I did show them how to save their programs with "Save As."  The competing teenagers probably already knew that.  I taught them the most useful skill they will ever learn: copy and paste.  I tried to build the practice table for their competition field.  Ours is called the floor and it only has three sides.  I'm going to turn it around today so they can practice the other half of the field.

The 3-and-up days are over.  Now they are 9, competing in a technology game against teenagers with more experience and equipment, using a robot made for kids ten and up.  Welcome to the treadmill boys.

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