The main challenge in this year’s FIRST Robotics Challenge is to scoop up a 2-foot yoga ball and shoot it into a goal 6 feet high. The machines that have to do this are designed and built by high school kids, including my son George. Many of them have never done anything like it before. It takes strategy, planning, and a lot of learning how to use power saws and drills. But the Great River School team 2491 No Mythic is hitting the challenge with great energy and determination. It’s also a lot of fun.
My role as a “mentor” is mainly to coach them along, but I also get my hands dirty. I also teach them really bad things like how to strip wires with their teeth. Through it all the robot is coming along. The pneumatic and electrical systems work well with the programming and no one has gotten hurt. It shows what kids can do when they simply get in and do it.
A study came out that says a little more about letting kids go off and do what might seem dangerous, even at an early age. It seems to fit with what I’ve seen at Robotics League.