Tuesday, November 27, 2018

TRICSS up his sleeve.

I know I didn't blog a whole lot last week but I've been pretty busy. It's hard to believe November is basically over, right? 

Well a big thing in November was Jackson's robot competition. He's in 5th grade and their school decided to try and compete in the local LEGO Robotics competition. They would most certainly be the youngest group there but these kids worked so hard. They only had a few weeks to pull together a presentation, build a robot, complete missions using computer coding, and have very little help from adults. They had two advisers that coordinated it all and Matt went a couple of nights to trouble shoot their coding issues, but for the most part, these kids did it all themselves. Jackson talked about this every single day. I'm not kidding you. Every day he had his binder of information out and he was thinking of ways he could help his team (he was a builder, other kids worked on the project, and the others were the coders) and I was just really impressed at seriously he took all of this. 
 A few days before the actual competition the parents all got to come watch their trial run presentation and I'm not kidding- it was all I could do to not run up there and squeeze his guts. 
 He was SO nervous the day of competition. Their team name was The Robotic Ice Cold Space Sporks, and their robot's name was Spoon. All of us supporters got to walk around with sporks pinned to our shirts. But he was so nervous and there were six other teams besides them, some of these kids have done this type of competition before, all of them were older than them so their math skills are better (helpful for the coding piece) and have more experience with presentations. I reminded him that this was just practice for robotics for next year. He wants to be on the middle school team and I said don't have high hopes of winning this year, but pay attention because then you'll know how this all works for next year. 
 We got to go into all of the sessions except the one about Core Values. That was secret and that's just fine because after the first two I was a nervous wreck. One was just a presentation of their mission and they chose getting food into space- they came up with a vitamin that you would take instead of food so they wouldn't have to weigh down a space craft with food. Which.. is kind of smart. The second one was showing off their robot and explaining how it works, why they went that route, and how they worked as a team. Then they did the Core Values thing and Jackson didn't really say much about that. 

Then we went to watch the robot do its missions. 

You guys- that was the most stressful and heartbreaking thing I've ever seen. Their robot didn't do well at all and they are pretty sure it was because they use a light sensor and the lighting for these tables is MUCH different than at their school so they don't think their robot saw the lines correctly. But they had three rounds and they came in dead last each time. It was awful because you could just see their faces and as a mom I just want to go up there tell them how proud I am of them, that even being able to compete with these other kids is a big deal. 
 While we waited for the awards I took a quick picture of him in front of their presentation display. 

During awards it was totally obvious which teams were going to win and they were so exciting to watch. One team had lots of missions completed and just one after another they did them, and it's amazing at what these kids can program a robot to do. I'm not a nerd at all and I don't understand any of this, but it was pretty exciting to watch. 

While they didn't advance to the next level of competition, their team won the award for Core Values. It's a pretty great award to win and I didn't get a picture because they were too fast but they ran up to get their certificates and the absolute JOY on their faces was completely priceless. 
The teachers gave the kids this medal with the mission logo on it and Jackson has it hanging with pride on his mirror. I am not kidding- I think this might be his thing. He's totally fascinated with this kind of stuff and it turns out that Jackson is a really good team player and he really shines as a leader. I could have burst with pride for this kid. 

So of course I went to see how much one of these robot things so he can practice and learn new things. 
$300 on sale
Needless to say, this won't be under our tree this year. 


Beth (Coffee Until Cocktails) said...

That is so great that he participated in this! I'm glad the team still won at least one award! I think an award for Core Values is very important! Hopefully he will give it a try again sometime!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Aw, I'm sure it was tough to see them get last in a lot, but yay for them winning Core Values! It sounds like it was a great experience though and I love that Jackson is so into it!