I volunteered at the Provo Peaks Elementary School on Center St. on Monday’s after school for one hour every week, coordinated my team with Peter Rich, and competed in the Saturday morning Lego Mindstorm competition against a dozen or so local schools.
There were definitely some ups and downs of this experience but overall I feel incredibly blessed to have had the chance to do this. My hope is that in briefly addressing the less positive parts of the experience in this assignment that future students participating in this competition might have a better experience. Basically the only thing that needs to be improved is communication to the volunteer. I missed the Saturday morning training session so that may be where a lot of this was communicated! But, at the beginning I didn’t know I was the only one helping the kids, I didn’t know where the robot was, our robot turned out to be a generation that was incompatible with the existing software installed on the school computers, we were missing some parts, haha and I didn’t know that I was the one that was supposed to know all this stuff. I feel like this made it a little bit unduly stressful. If I’d known beforehand what my role was I could have been a lot better prepared. “Mentor” made me think all that was required was my mere physical presence and advice.
I had a team of 3 boys and basically all they wanted to do was punch each other! Haha it reminded me of growing up with my brothers, I had forgotten what being a little kid is like and somehow after each day trying to get them to focus and work together I left a happier person. The very first day I still remember at the very end Casin says to me, “You know what? You’re awesome!” I think it was the fact I was telling them all about robots which they think is magic basically and the fact that I had a motorcycle helmet so they thought I was cool. Then at the competition I learned Michael had stayed after school without me during the week to work on our code and he had also convinced his Mom to buy him his own Lego Mindstorm set for him! I was super impressed with how smart this kid was and tried to make sure he felt good about his work even though we didn’t win the competition. We only won one round but that one round was pure gold! Haha this is a picture of Michael and our robot together after winning that one round.