Archive for July 14th, 2011

Day 8: Thursday, 7/14

by on Jul.14, 2011, under Week 2

Today we had our demos, at the Dr. Albert F. Argenziano School.  We left the Botlab at 9:30 and started our first demo at 10am.  We did our demos for two classrooms, each demo was an hour long and identical (the students responses were not).  We first started by introducing ourselves then Morgan explained why we were demoing.  Next, I gave a brief powerpoint introduction on NASA science, robotics, and rovers in particular.  We asked the students if they had any background on NASA/robotics, of which a few did, but most didn’t.  Following the science intro each pair of high school students presented their project idea.  Jess and Lawrence started with a powerpoint explaining more about their Axel Rover project and moved on to showing the Rover moving and finally talking about future plans.  Next, Briyana and Sarah talked about their Carrier robot, mentioning what it does and what their future plans were.  Following a short powerpoint, they demonstrated the ultrasonic detector by driving the robot on a table and having it stop when the ultrasonic detector saw the edge of the table (since the distance would increase beyond a certain threshold value). Finally, Dean and I introduced the iPad controller idea with a powerpoint.  We gave our reasons for doing our project, our inspiration, and potential GUIs (graphical user interfaces).  We then demonstrated a very simple iPad controller on the tank that Dean had built.  In the first classroom, a few students were snickering, but all in all they were responsive and seemed generally interested.  In the second classroom, the majority of the students seemed less interested, except for two boys sitting in the front row who wanted to answer every question and looked super interested.  After finishing our demos to the students we returned to the Botlab, after having lunch.  Morgan came up to me and mentioned we’d be doing demos to some TI (Texas Instrument) and LEGO business men/women, so we should be prepared.  We made our powerpoints more professional and less middle-school like as well as making a modifications to the bots.

By the end of the day, we were for the most part ready for the demos tomorrow.

Daily Thoughts:

Dean: Visiting middle schoolers: Interesting to work with middle schoolers.  Tank got most of attention, lol.

Lawrence: Today we had our demo’s for the middle students. It was very successful the only problem my group ran in to was that the wheels were too small for the body of the robot and the children wanted to see it run so in order to run it we had to pick it up first because it didn’t work. Then we had to explain to them why.

Jess: Demos went pretty well. The first class of kids seemed reasonably excited about what we brought in (as excited as I could have hoped for, anyhow). They liked things like the tank and our Axel rover, and were willing to participate in group sessions where they could contribute ideas to us. The second class was a bit more difficult, since very few of them spoke English very well. In hindsight, 80% of them couldn’t understand the presentation we gave, which makes it make sense that none of them really looked at all interested or even minimally affected. In the smaller group portion, I  was able to communicate with a few of them in Spanish and basically answer their questions, if they would speak slowly enough.

Briyana: Went to the middle school and gave a presentation of our robots and power points and gave a demonstration and answered any questions they had. Then later on we modified our power points for the LEGO people, for the following day. Also we finished putting our final adjustments to the robots before we start the redesigning process.

Sarah: The middle school students gave us a lot of ideas for our robot. Halfway through the day a piece of one of our motors fell off, so the wheel would not turn.

The middle school students gave us a lot of ideas for our robot. Halfway through the day a piece of one of our motors fell off, so the wheel would not turn.
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