Over the last few years I have been involved as a mentor in FIRST robotics programs for children. FIRST, aka For the Recognition and Inspiration of Science and Technology, is a US-based non-profit organization aiming to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based robotics programs that build science, engineering and technology skills.
Last week a reporter from the Edmonton Examiner visited Opcom Robotics at our HQ and in today’s issue of the Edmonton Examiner there is an article on the Opcom FRC team. The write-up provides an accurate and concise summary of some of the trials and tribulations of a rookie FRC trying to building a basketball playing robot in six weeks in order to compete in the Western Canada FRC Regionals in April.
In the above picture from the Edmonton Examiner, other than showing this week’s blistering cold-snap, one of our talented students-engineers is trouble-shooting the control systems of the robot, where, as the article points out, we were in a bit of a pickle due to missing parts (all accounted for now though). Although the challenge is…, well, challenging, it is also an incredible learning opportunity for both the students and the mentors alike. It is about engineering, programming, designing, testing, redesigning, fund raising, thinking outside the box, team work, friendly competition and having tons of fun. FIRST refers to the FRC program as the “hardest fun you will ever have” and, yeah, half way through the build, I am starting to think that they might be right.
Science classrooms are unique learning environments unlike any other classrooms. As a matter of fact, some things only happen in science classrooms. Here is a collection of event that happened in my own science classroom over the last school year. It's a growing list, so check back for updates.
Report from yours truly live-tweeting and navigating the melee at GETCA 2015 (Annual Greater Edmonton Teachers' Conference).
Can a pencil be more than just your average run of the mill pencil? The legendary Palomino Blackwing Pearl can take a student or teacher's writing to new heights. We have taken a batch of the Pearls for a spin and are blown away by how much writing and sketching can be transformed by this unassuming pencil.
Dr. Pineda's Classroom is going YouTube with the release of its first screencast on the exciting topic of calculating percents. Only time will tell if this is the start of something big and shiny or just a passing fad.
After several weeks working on setting up habitats for new classroom animals the big day finally arrived. The newest addition to our classroom include aquatic denizens in our new aquarium and a teenage bearded dragon with lots of attitude and no table manners.