As the 2014 FRC season is wrapping up the time has come to reflect on the past season and our experiences as a rookie team. Hopefully this write-up may be useful for other FRC teams that are gearing up for their first competition season.
In retrospect the overarching lesson from our rookie season is that we clearly had no idea what we were getting ourselves into back in December (before the kick off). FRC is bigger than life and requires much more than technical skill and computer programming savviness from a team in order to be successful. While the FRC competition is pitting itself as a Sport for the Mind, in reality it is much more than that. Participating in the FRC program is an entirely unique experience that pushes students and mentors to the limits of their intellectual, physical and mental abilities.
As it turns out, upon closer inspection most of the important lessons learned during our rookie season fall under the umbrella of the FIRST Core Values. While naively one may perhaps think that as students become older the Core Values are embraced more readily and will require less effort to implement, early on in the season it became apparent, however, that this is not necessarily the case. On the contrary, the Core Values can not be taken for granted even for adult mentors and coaches. Our societies is not build on the premises of the FIRST Core Values and as a result, to most of us, this mindset is quite foreign. To successfully implement the Core Values requires humility and an ability to acknowledge that while we all have different personalities, skills and expertise we are all also required to practice the FIRST Core Values at all times, which can be surprisingly difficult when personalities clash and stress levels rise.
So without further ado, here are some of the lessons our team learned during our rookie season from the perspective of the FIRST Core Values:
Other than these lessons there are obviously many others, perhaps more mundane and technical lessons we have learned during our rookie season. Briefly,
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.