Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Lego Reality

I have been wandering around blogging in my head again, but have way too many ideas. Sometimes it is best to start with what is most obvious. In this case, it is the robot table in my living room. On my way home from preschool drop-off, one of the parents said that my Lego team email was hilarious. So, here is my reality. This was my note to the parents of my Lego team this week. Hilarious is an overstatement, but probably slightly more entertaining than the Kindergarten newsletter that she had read a few minutes prior.

A little official Lego news attached to the bottom. Homework also on bottom.

Thanks for coming tonight!

We were bummed that Charlie was sick, but I think we had a very productive meeting. We worked on the robot tonight, and here is what we learned (okay, what I hope they learned!).

1. Making the robot do what you want is not as easy as it looks (but they are so smart they will be able to figure it out, if they work hard and THINK and work TOGETHER)

2. C = 2 pi R. R is the distance from the center of the left wheel to the center of the right wheel, because the center of the right wheel doesn't move while the left wheel drives around it.

3. 1/4 C is how far that left wheel has to go to turn the robot to the right in a 90-degree turn. Get it?

4. If one rotation of the motor = 6.75 inches of forward movement, then you have to decide what percentage of that 6.75 inches you want to move the left wheel to make that 1/4 C movement. In this case, 1/4 C was 6.125 inches. The "factor" was written down by the Whitham kids, but was just a little less than 1.0.

5. If you do the math, it actually happens in real life too (there were some high-fives and actual excitement about that). This makes my heart sing.

6. ISH is not a unit of measure, but it is fun to say.

7. It is easy to forget which way you are going if you label your MY BLOCKS things like "opposite" and "unopposite". OOOPS

8. The wheel doesn't slip if it starts out by moving slowly and then picks up speed. (They learned that at the Rockwell event, but this was a good application).

9. Your coach thinks its really cool that the team spent 2 hours understanding and executing a right turn. She must be nuts! (We will continue to work on gracious professionalism. I know it is hard to contain oneself when calculating circumference and making subroutines, but we need to maintain some sense of order).


Williams kids were asked to get the right-turn calculations into the notebook. Their dad has all the details and I think it just needs to be recopied. Please help them understand it on a general level. Ask them about it.

1. IF you haven't finished the food research, please do so. Basically, the kids need to be able to explain the process from nature to table for their food. It doesn't have to be perfectly correct, but if they are way off base, please help them look stuff up. Encourage them to think of reasons why their food would be interesting for the group.

2. If your child IS particularly interested in doing the food they are studying, then encourage them to look up local information. Where would we find more information? Is there someone in the area who would want to know about an innovative solution?

3. If your child thinks this is a horrible assignment, then have them think about contamination and talk out possible questions for other people's foods. (In the car on the way to your next activity - if you have to). Ask them to present to YOU their food. (Between bites at dinnertime works for this). PRESENTING is an important skill. It is okay if Johnny doesn't really care about eggs. But, we have to choose something. I also don't want there to be a huge struggle only to discard their particular food. This is an exercise in understanding the process and how to think about it and practice presenting it. NOT about why Maggie's ice cream is better than Andrew's fish. Don't tempt me to make salmon ice cream.

Bwa ha ha ha.

Thanks again!