|Teamwork at the beginning of the day. Their posters behind|
them go over their research project on dyslexia and grit
and robot design process/programming - they made all that.
So my little team ran their 'little robot that could' over and over at the MA State championship a few days before Christmas. Their results were stupendous - this contest is for kids 9 - 14 with 9 being a bit soft and we took advantage of that in the spring of 2013 to have the kids join their older siblings/friends to run to the National level.
Well, hanging out with the big guys and watching them for years really seems to pay dividends. In what should have been their first year as a team - they won the 2nd place robot performance award for the second highest score out of 400+ teams. My big team never cracked higher than #7 in performance. They managed to improve their robot programming in the two weeks between contests and could hit 530 on a good day - 471 in competition. They only lost out to the team they beat in the qualifier (a team of 14 yr olds) who also won the entire state and are on their way to the World competition. In the afternoon while
|I am so happy to finally have two girls on my teams.|
These girls are very smart and full of verve and grit! I am so
looking forward to working with them for the next ten years
When they finish building their team website and 'publishing' their research project - I will post it.
|Two trophies!! What a haul!|
Normally this would be the end of robot season for me... back to embroidering. But the big guys have my entire dinning room turned into a robot competition zone and have been programming/building non-stop as school is out. I have no less than 4-9 of them in there everyday trying to get multiplexers, sensors, IR beacons, and 3-stage lifts and servos all to work seamlessly. They go to early February at least unless they are lucky enough to move on.
|A pair of digital glasses a MIT friend let me borrow from|
a kickstarter campaign - they played "First Lego League"
across the grated lenses all day
Every year I have a theme for my teams - based upon what they need to learn and internalize to become great over the long haul. This team needed to learn GRIT. They are talented and have grit in other aspects of their life but hadn't all learned yet that they could apply it to academic areas. Not a surprise as they all are square pegs in the round hole of school - very, very smart but don't fit the mould. So while they might be the type that practices music or sports for hours a day to improve - they didn't see the translation to their challenges in the classroom where their learning style was different from the curriculums. So we spent tons of time in discussion, practicing, watching Ted talks on grit, and taking the grit test. We learned that you have to believe that you can improve to have grit in that area. Very profound and the subject of their comic book. I am thrilled to say that I saw the transformation and internalization of these lessons during the months I hammered on it. You think you can't program as well as him? Well, just get in front of that computer until you can. We must have practiced their talks 30 times until they could smile at the judges, have it memorized and speak clearly and fit 20 slides in 5 min. They are learning that 'being bad' at something isn't a pass out of it on my team. It is a ticket to more practice towards mastery.
As they say in FIRST - "Its the Hardest Fun I've Ever Had"