I would have to say that yes, we definitely got a lot out of it.
Was it what we expected? We honestly didn’t know what to expect!
When the inspectors came by to inspect our machine, I pulled a few kids that were in the pit – and they huddled around – various ones told them about different parts of the machine --it was great to know that they knew our machine inside and out.
When we got the pass sticker put on our team sign, we all cheered. It was great.
Then throughout the competition, between watching, giving out things, and helping other teams, we all got very excited. Even our main student doing giveaways was so excited to do his job that it just made everything worthwhile. We worked better as a team at that competition than we did throughout the build season, and I think it was because we finally had something tangible to go with. The competition was no longer some vague principle that we haven’t seen before – we were there! I think this will better foster team communication for the future.
Having the Brazilian team (1156) in our pit made for a great time. They were so fun to be with, and so thankful for our help (They gave me and one of our coders a shirt!) I remember going outside to play frisbee and some guys from team 25 said “Team 25 vs Brazil!!” – so I took off my 1089 shirt, wearing a 1156 shirt underneath, and ran over to play with the brazilians. Good times.
In the end, while some of my students and I were initially disappointed that we didn’t win an award, we looked back at all of the things we accomplished (like pushing two robots down the ramp at once and getting our autonomous code working properly)
and I can say that we all agree that we were winners. We all learned a lot about technical design, we all learned how important it is to work with and help others, and I think that we all showed a great deal of gracious professionalism. And more importantly, we saw teams show a great deal more. This is what we’re going to strive to do in future years.
(And of course, being the only rookie team to make it to the semifinals helped, too )
I was thinking that the most prominent values FIRST competitions teach students is kindness, generosity, and responsibility. In the world we live in today, I see too many people that live their lives in a “dog-eat-dog” style, only caring about themselves. FIRST is a refreshing change for our students. I truly believe that many students can take advantage of this program to learn how personally rewarding it is to be more outgoing, more generous, and more prepared for all of life’s situations.
Ack! I’m hooked! :ahh: