As we approach the end of our second LEGO robotics session (just two weeks left, can you believe it!?), I thought I'd put out a quick update about what we've been up to the last couple of weeks since I posted, as well as where I hope to go with the time we have left.
In the last couple of weeks we have been trying to put a serious emphasis on engineering.
Engineering plays a big role in robotics and how we use them to solve problems, and so my focus has been on getting our students to think like engineers and to also think of themselves as engineers. Last week we had Pasco Grove, who is a quality control engineer for a company that produces parts for Toyota and Honda, talk about his job as an engineer and solving problems that may arise in the manufacturing of parts. This week we had Claire Guse from Searsport District High School come over to talk about the engineering process. At the end of the session, we discussed how students used some of those processes while working during the session, and how the "cycle" can go around many times until you find the perfect solution to your problem. Ultimately, it is my goal to see our students engage in science and engineering in exciting new ways that will prepare them for fulfilling careers that allow them to find solutions to some of our most pressing issues.
Looking forward, after a couple of weeks building a basic robot and learning how to program, we will be finishing robotics with a little bit of a project. We will be creating a robotic amusement park! This means that we will be doing a little bit of research about some different rides, and trying to build models out of our robotics kits. This will be a new challenge for students as we will be building something that doesn’t come with instructions like our first robots did. I’m sure they will be up to the problem-solving challenge!
This week we will also be joined in the program by David and Sandy Perloff. This is a really important visit because Dave and Sandy are the ones that funded the ten robotics kits that we have right now! I’m looking forward to their visit and I would like for the students to get to meet them and talk about what they are doing with their robots!
There are also a couple of opportunities coming up that tie into robotics very well. The first is the 2014 Engineering Expo at the University of Maine on March 22nd. The weekend after that is the 4-H Robotics Expo for Washington County! In the fall, a few families and I attended a similar expo down in Gorham, and I thought it was a great experience for all in attendance. I'm hoping to maybe have a couple of students present their amusement park rides or other creations there!