Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lego Camp

Big Al went to a lego camp through the girl scouts about a week ago. They had a great week (even though she missed a day because of fever) and the last day they had a competition. Now Big Al is VERY competitive and likes things to be done right, and wants all spotlights on her (and her team). When she was sick she missed out on how to program, and when she went back she found that another girl had quit the camp. Her team was quite behind everyone else, but Big Al jumped in and they all worked to get a little bit done. They used one of the competition mats from the national competition, and their goal was to get a few of the challenges completed, but these mats offer about 10-15 different things that can be programmed to be completed, so there was NO WAY a kid could do them all in 4 work days.

Thursday (of camp week) she gets in the car and says, "I am NOT going to be an engineer!" It surprised me because Math and Science are actually her favorite classes, although she wants to be a newscaster or some sort of job where she is famous.

me: Why not?

Big Al: Ohmygaw mom, you have to remember all of these little details, and put them in the right order, and THEN it might not work. It is so frustrating.

me: Ummm... that's what scientists do Big Al.

Big Al: But it is SO boring, and then you tell the computer what to do and it won't do it right.

me: Look, scientists all over the world walk into their labs and want to solve problems like great-grandma's alzheimers, or granddad Charlie's cancer and they mess up millions of times before they might make a tiny discovery. That biomedical engineer that came in to talk to you goes in everyday trying to put together strands of genetic stuff in the right order to cure Alzheimers. She hasn't been successful yet, but she keeps working. Engineers try to solve problems that don't have answers yet.
Big Al: But it's hard.

(That's what every parent who is a math/science teacher wants to hear - ARGH)

On Friday they "competed" against other teams to see how many challenges they could complete. Unfortunately I was a BAD MOM and missed videotaping the practice run where Big Al got her teams' robot to complete two challenges. In the competition for points they couldn't get the second challenge. The first video shows the challenge where they had to pick up the black thing and bring it back to shallow water or the beach. This was considered a successful run because the ref said they did actually get it back to the lighter blue water. The second video they were supposed to just move the gray shark off it's square without touching the green fish, which they did in the practice run, but not in the final run.

Our 3 younger girls enjoyed watching the competition, and T-Rex is desperately looking forward to the time she can do that sort of thing. Unfortunately her school doesn't have a team yet.

Overall I think Big Al enjoyed the competition, although she still doesn't know if she wants to be an engineer.

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