Friday, November 30, 2007

Programming Godzilla

Perhaps I forgot to mention to you that, in addition to being an elementary school librarian, I am also a Robotics Engineer?

I could TOTALLY be a Robotics Engineer. If only it weren't for that pesky math.


I may not be a Robotics Engineer, but I have a group of students who will probably be running the world sometime in the near future. In a moment of bravado and, probably, stupidity, I signed my technology students up to participate in the First Lego League Robotics Competition. In short order, we received several boxes of various sizes which I was way too intimidated to even think about opening. Then, in another short order, we received our student from the local university to help us out. Not even in a box. He just strolled in. Brian is very, very smart. He is also tall, rather handsome and gentle and kind with the students. Several of my fifth grade girls are in love with him. After seeing how he works with the kids, I'm a little in love with him myself.

My technology students can take a pile of Legos which looks like this.

And make them into something that looks like this.

If I had been in charge of putting them together? They would still look like Photo #1. Luckily, all I had to do was walk around and say things like "Oh, you can't get that together? Well, try this piece? Oh, that goes there. Hmmm. I see. OK. Never mind. You are doing a great job!" And then beat a hasty, yet dignified retreat by pretending to help one of the other groups.

We (OK, THEY) had put together most of the components of our village this week, so we decided to try some basic programming with our robot. Our plans went a little...awry.

Our robot.
Our robot, who was merely supposed to move forward, touch a building and then move back, instead became entangled in the power lines, mowed over the trees and one of the cars and partially destroyed the house.

Instead of trying to stop him, my students were rolling on the floor, snorting with laughter. And Brian? Mature, helpful, smart, cute Brian? Was laughing right along with them.

At that point, we christened our robot Godzilla. Since. You know. He was DESTROYING the city.

Even with these cool, new arms, Godzilla still insisted on pushing the dam into the house, instead of over the river. I don't think we are going to win.

Unless there is a prize for destroying the village, rather than completing an assigned task.

Because then. We could TOTALLY win.


sarah said...

Nick LOVES legos. He can build anything. That man is amazing sometimes...I can make stairs. Damn good stairs though...

Be Inspired Always said...

My kids love legos. It's amazing what they can come up with.

Great post.