Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Robot arm

Today was a steep learning curve for me... of just how much patience (or little) the children in my group have and how much interest they have in the project and in each other's participation...

The robot arm proved to be a slow process with much need for taking turns... and despite us only being 8 children it was still too large a group... and if I was to do this all over again I would have groups of two children at a time to build a robot, where I had the parts already cut out... the measuring process and cutting out process was not something that interested the children all that much... while the hot glue gun and threading was to their taste...
Waiting in line for 7 others to have a go was just too much for some children... and taking time to watch what the others were doing was of NO interest to half the group... it was either play or do... no watch...

I found it interesting, and frustrating... they had shown great interest in wanting to build a robot arm... in fact the two that had shown the greatest excitement bailed out first - and proceeded to make a whole load of noise that disturbed some of those wanting to concentrate...

Yes, I would do it differently next time... and be able to adapt each build to the interest of the pair I work with...

Once the robot started to get to the phase where it could be moved there was more interest... so maybe subsequent robots would be easier now... and we could see all our mistakes... from too fat fingers, to the straw pieces being a little tool long for proper bending... and this gave us the chance to talk about how Leonardo Da Vinci did not get it right all the time and that he learned from his mistakes... that next time WE could make slimmer fingers, cut the straws into smaller pieces... maybe make the arm a little shorter to make it slightly more child friendly... these are four and five year old arms after all!!

The children saw how we worked from sketches and measurements... so hopefully this can help them in their thinking about design in the future... we will have to see where it goes...

We did not finish off the arms... I made the executive decision to stop, put the project on pause and go out and play... returning when we all had more concentration... and I felt a little less frustrated.

I don't like it when I get frustrated but today I did... not that the children were not all focussed... but that several of them had little regard for their friends trying to concentrate - so much better to abandon the plan and regroup at a later date with more patience and with group adjustments...


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