Sep 13, 2006

Forest Edge Elementary Fall Robotics Club

Well we kicked off the fall club yesterday afternoon. It lasted 2.5 hours. We had 30 kids show up. I’d say the hardest part was setting up the tables and chairs and spreading out the laptops and LME NXT kits. We had 10 LME kits built earlier from our two summer sessions. I added two additional LME boxes out of our remaining stock and spread the 12 sets across 6 tables. It took time ( about 40 minutes) because I was only expecting 24, not 30 kids.

Once all the kids were assigned kits (mostly the same ones that they used in the summer) they were told to proceed where they left off with the Robot Educator. I actually thought I could run the club with more structure but there were just too many students (even with five other parents there to help me set up).

Still, it was amazing how easy it was for the kids to just follow the tutorials at their own pace.
A sixth grade girl even reached step 20 where a robot identifies a red ball and subsequently whacks it with a golf swing. We had an interesting group of sixth grade boys who decided to deviate from the Robot Educator and build a fairly elaborate robot with a long crane attachment. The good news is that we were able to keep the sets apart, and pack up relatively fast. The bad news… no time for pictures.

More bad news: My website provider sent me an email the night before the meeting saying:
“We disabled your website because of a disallowed java framework. – Have a nice day.”

So now I’m looking for a good Java Servlet hosting company that can monitor my memory use (which was not out of the ordinary) rather then merely censoring my use of third party frameworks. (This framework is called Hibernate and it’s used as an O/R mapping tool to generate SQL and is not known to be memory intensive).

Long story short: RestonRobotics.org is temporarily offline until I can find it a new home.

-david

2 comments:

peter hoh said...

What's your technique for getting all the pieces back to the containers they came from?

In the olden days, Lego made kits that had slots for each piece (see the Dacta 1030 or 1032) except for the small connectors.

Once, when teaching an enrichment class at my children's school, I spread the pieces out and made a color photocopy of the kit we were using. That made clean up pretty easy.

David Levy said...

The LME NXT base kit comes with large paper cards that show how the pieces should be organized in the two trays.

I encourage the students to only take out the pieces for a single step of the building instructions at any time. When doing creative building they are encouraged to use the card to put the un-used pieces back in the correct trays. If there are work-in-progress components that are not connected to the robot yet, then they should just stow them in the box.

It's not perfect but it's working so for with 12 boxes.


-david

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