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Robotics Camp - Expectations

 

The Walled Lake Robotics camp is focused on working in teams with mentors to solve a competitive assignment against other teams in the workshop.
 

I model the activity similar to the 'real thing' in FIRST and OCCRA

 
These are the only activities for students in this age group that remind me of my job as an engineer (since retired). You get an assignment and you form/join a group.
 
Getting started you have no final answer right or wrong that guarantees a result right or wrong.
 
​The only thing certain, is it has to be done before a deadline.
 
​The activity is good for members of the Monsters robotics team to give them a taste of what it's like to be me (a coach).
 
The most important message I want the workshop students to learn is the process similar to the
Deming Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle.
 
The math, science, technology are all great but in a real world assignment you have to try something, learn from your effort, and try again. Many robot rookies will spend their allotted time designing/building the perfect machine. This usually doesn't work because so much isn't known until you're out on the field trying to play the game.
 
Good teams learn to get something out on the field ASAP and start understanding what works and what can go wrong. Be willing to take it back to the shop and do whatever it takes to fix it. Whether a simple 'tweak' or a complete re-do. Both require discipline to know what you need to change without trying something you can't finish. Students (and mentors) usually struggle the first couple times through the process but the competitive environment mandates learning the discipline if you're going to succeed.
 
All of this goes along with knowing how to build reliable machines and understanding what's required to play the game.
 
Using a process like the PDSA cycle makes it all work.