The RoboChicks Get Robotics Training From GA Tech's RoboJackets
It's Friday evening... the time of week when most kids are throwing their textbooks on the couch and settling into the weekend. Kids are already in their sweats, outside playing or watching movies, & putting off their homework until Sunday.
But not these girls! Gabby, Taniyah, Brittany, Milan, & Madison, the RoboChicks ages 11-15, are meeting with the RoboJackets at Georgia Tech where they're getting some strategy lessons for their upcoming robotics competition.
As I walk into the classroom, I see all our girls lined up with their parents on the front row... they've all got their matching pink spiral notepads out and are listening intently as the RoboJackets talk about game plan strategies that will be useful throughout both the design & competitive process. The classroom is packed full of people, all four rows of seating are filled... as expected, mostly with boys. The RoboChicks are the only all girl robotics team in the room and not only are they sitting front & center, but they're the first to raise their hands and chime in. You've GOT love the confidence in these girls, and let me tell you, that comes because they know they are smart.
The RoboJackets gave some great advice, not telling the teams how to build their robotics, but how to attack the competition itself.
- Begin your strategy discussion: how can we score points? How can we reduce our opponent's points? What is the maximum amount of point? How many points are we going for and how will we get them?
- Decide on your most desirable characteristics: speed? Maneuverability? Traction? "Pick up the ball" vs "pick up the ball with a claw"... for getting your heart set on a design feature will limit your design options and may not be the best solution to the execute the challenge.
Casey, Sue, & Tylers, the RoboJackets who aren't doing this for extra credit but just because, showed videos of compeitions past... opened discussions about risks, strategies, & how each paid off. The hour and half brainstorming session was I'm sure a great learning tool in how to best appoach the competition.
Now to perfect their robotics...
But the RoboChicks aren't taking it easy on themselves, no way. They're going after the toughest to tackle robotics and are even use BIG monster tires in their design. (The girls have made me cross my heart and hope to die, for the rest of their design is confidential up until the competition.) But what I can say, is that Madison has come up with a great idea to get their robot to hang from a bar & now they've just got to build the mechanics. Go babies, go!
It really was great to see a room full of middle & high school kids & parents, making STEAM a priority on their Friday nights. These kids are seperating themselves from the herd, one achievement at a time. Up next... more building, more training. More, more, more!