Last Friday (Dec. 13th) marked the second week of our robotics class at Fiske. With 40 students total, the last class was a blast — and we hope to repeat that. Fortunately, the kids liked this class even more than the last one! With new concepts, new tools, and harder challenges, the kids did not fail to impress. Last week we gave a preliminary to hardware and software, and that week was all about mechanics. We went over simple machines and gear ratios, and how they are incorporated in everyday life. There were different challenges for each skill level (beginner, intermediate, and advanced), and instead of giving them the complete field model, it was their job to both finish the field model by identifying and making the missing simple machine out of Legos and to finish the challenge. The beginners worked with inclined planes and dispensing, the intermediate kids worked with a modified version of the lever and dispensing, and the advanced kids worked with levers, pulleys, and transporting/dispensing. Afterwards, all of the students would be given a challenge involving making suitable gear ratios to maximize torque on various slopes. We were really impressed by the students’ creativity, and many of them began asking us questions about how they could get involved in robotics after the class was over!
With the previous week established, week #2 was smoother, more interactive, and more engaging. We minimized presentations and, for the gear ratios, opted to go around to each group and show them how to do gear ratios in person. The kids liked this change a lot, as it was more personal and hands-on along with providing more time to build. We’re starting to see a lot of engineering capabilities in the students, and the hype for the programming class (coming up on Dec. 20th) is astounding.