Sunday, January 11, 2009

Robot Wars

Yesterday we started helping Andy guide his students in the building of their robot. These young people are self proclaimed nerds and they wear the title proudly as well they should. They are 15 and 16 years old and are cute, funny, eager to learn and most of all SMART. I am sure in some areas, such as life experience, I am smarter then them but when it comes to math, computers, and science they have eclipsed me. It is rewarding to see such a delightful group of young people who will definitely become something important in their lives. They all attend The Mission Early College High School.

They will be competing in the FIRST Robotics competition which I believe is in March.
This year the game consists of avoiding getting balls thrown into your basket while throwing balls into your opponents basket. These robots are big, about 5' tall. They have to include a program to run on their own and also have wireless capability to be controlled by joy sticks.

If they need help with programming, they will have to look elsewhere but for construction problems Neil can't be beat. In the following pictures they are building the crate the robot will be shipped in. Neil taught them, the ones who didn't already know, how to use a screw gun and power saw. He also instructed them on how to frame the crate. We had some very intuitive ideas from the kids that we incorporated into the build. My job was to take pictures for Andy and offer encouragement.

I do hope we get a chance to help them out. In any case I wish them the best of luck. Have fun kids and take it easy on the teacher. Maybe we will plan our spring trip to Flower Mound for the same time they are in Dallas. It would be fun to watch them compete.

Young men picking out their 2x4s.
Neil(foreground beige coat) insists they be straight.

OK now what do we do with all this stuff.


This young man was meticulous with his cuts.
As a result everything came together as planned.

Andy putting in his 2 cents worth.

Lining everything up

Young ladies do like power tools
and we do know how to use them.

How many nerds does it take to screw in a screw?

See the lady in the blue coat freezing...that's me

Line it up....careful...OK that's it!

Part of the inside crew....programmers!
Whis I understood what they were doing.


waxmaniac said...

Thanks for the help. In truth I have absolutely no idea how to help these kids build this robot, but there's no doubt in my mind that they will get it done. They are the most awesome group of students any teacher could ask for, and they WILL be running this country some day.

I have the coolest job in the World!

Some Kinda Wonderful said...

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! What fun! Wish being a nerd was in style when I was a high schooler. I surely was one. :) My sister's girls are all proud nerds, so is my son. Thank God! Finally, being smart is COOL!

Hey Pam, I have an electric screw driver. Does that count as a "power tool"? I'm also the official "put together-er" when we purchase any of those lovely "some assembly required" items. I won't let Pete help me at all. He always messes something up.

I took some programming classes waaayyy back in the early 90's. I have no doubt that what I learned then is completely useless now. Oh well... the classes were fun, anyway. :)

pamwax said...

Yes SKW it counts. The kids were using a drill but same thing. The girls were really cute. Well the boys were cute too. I hope we get to help some more.

snowy said...

I love reading stories like this. Best of luck to the kids (and their teacher and mentors)

Jeannie said...

This is really cool, Pam. I would love to be able to do something like this. The kids will always remember their little robot.

I made a robot once. It was a class project in college. It was pretty much made from a CPU and a coffee maker. The robot brewed a single cup of coffee, and when it was done, little wheels on the bottom, operated by remote control, made the coffee maker "walk". We had a little head on the machine and arms that swung up and down as it rolled. It was eons ago though and I doubt I remember how to do anything like that now.

Judy said...

This is such a great post. I love to read things like this about our young kids. Good luck to them all.

chaki said...

Wow. What a great project. Andy is such a wonderful and dedicated teacher.