Tuesday, January 31, 2006

And then?

This week and probably the rest of February, we will focus on two things:

A. Making sure everyone in the Robotics class can build a robot and program it to move and do a mission.
Some students are not contributing much effort to their work group. If you need something from me, ask. Other students, here and there, are telling me confidentially that a certain member is not helping too much and they feel like they have to do all of the work. This does not surprise me because I notice it myself. I have been doing "teacher things" to try and motivate everyone. I am very pleased that students feel comfortable approaching me about these types of matters. Not one person made personal remarks. Everything spoken about was about the work.

B. Science Fair Projects. We will devote as much time in class as possible to science Fair projects.
More on this later. For now, leave it at this. You have your regular Science class and the help from your Science teacher. You have Robotics three more times a week. With all of the extra computer time and materials at your fingertips in my room, maybe the name should be changed to Science Un-Fair.

Your project may be looked at in two ways. One part is the idea and the other part is how you present the idea. You know, "What are saying?" and "How are you saying it?" We have all sorts of presentation materials for you to use. And, I have many probes, such as temperature, pH, sound and pressure. I also have every possible electrical probe that is coupled with the RCX brick to record data. Don't forget I have cameras and video cameras if needed also.

You have time to do an in-depth inquiry and to prepare your presentation. I think it would be reasonable to expect the top ten places in the fair to be won by robotics students. Remember, you can not build a kit for your project.
Q. What is the hardest part about these types of activities for most students?
A. THE TOPIC! (Our next class discussion!)

Links to look into:


Monday, January 30, 2006

IS 93/Carnota Eagles Win Third in Design!

Today, I am letting the photographs do most of the talking. I am too exhausted from such a long weekend and the the stress from competing to write too much.

I will say I am proud to be the coach of such excellent students. Watching them compete with poise and dignity was quite an experience for me. I read their faces all day long and saw the many emotional ups and downs from the effects of competing and trying so hard.

We also had so many parents, friends and family present. "Thank you" to them for supporting us.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Working a Little Too Good!

The Skype exchange went off as planned today: Carnota and IS 93 communicated with a chat while both schools had video cameras running.

Here's the twist. Mr. Wright was not there to run it! I was in a meeting at 65 Court Street.

Mr. Daly, the other IS 93 Coach, and Xose Calvo, Principal and English Teacher in Carnota, set it up, got it running and successfully exchanged information. They even managed to pull off a virtual mission challenge. Students were actually the ones over here who set up the laptops, webcam and logged in to get it all going. Much credit goes to Eugene who acted as the "Operator." Skype likes to hang up on you! He was the troubleshooter.

Here's the second twist. Mr Wright, that's me, was sitting at table with executives of an international corporation and ten employees of the NYCDOE when my laptop starting talking in Spanish and Gallego!! I could not turn it down or off! Talk about the annoying cell-phone guy! I had to leave the room even though it was a huge disruption to the meeting. You know, everyone there wanted to see the video and to see who was having all that fun running robots and sharing all of that excitement talking to other students in another country.

I was very proud that my team could perform at this level without me.

Stay tuned for the FLL tournament this weekend.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Coaches pitch in, to tailor make the uniforms!

John Daly, Stock Market Teacher, and fellow Lego coach, helps to get the uniforms ready for the dress-rehearsal smack-down skype-out scheduled for this Friday.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Carnota Progress

I am very pleased with how things are going with our buddies in Carnota, Spain. Everytime I go to Xose's Corner there are new pictures showing his half of our team building robots and solving missions very quickly. On our side of the Atlantic, my half of the team some students are busy refining their techniques for the missions while others are finishing up the research project and deciding how to present their efforts.

Sunday, January 29, 2006, is our tournament. We will be ready to give our best efforts.

I can tell you that getting everything together, planning, planning, packing, traveling, and training in Carnota has made me and my students raise our own standards. Once we realized many more people out of our own classroom would be scrutinizing every little thing we were doing, we really wanted to do everything right. That made us prepare and execute with a little more pep in our step. My students worked very hard to get their robots as good as they could get them and the research questions were drawn up carefully as well. There is enthusiasm and sincerity in every ounce of my team's efforts.

Also, without Mr. John Daly holding down the US side of the team while I was gone, we would not be enjoying this project at all. He has endured the "Mr. Wright's Crash Course Tecnique" of learning. We never have enough time and he has taken on more and more with the team.

Real learning is taking place in a real world situation- I could not be happier with the results.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Few Pictures From Spain

We spent many hours training our new teammates in Carnota last weekend.
I will be sharing pictures and some items of interest as I go.

This is me, Fred Wright, and Steve Shapinsky, Region 4, NYCBOE, Robotics Staff Developer, using Skype to have a video conference with our classmates and teachers back at IS 93 in NY from Spain.

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This is the lab in Carnota that we worked in. The view on the wall is from the room 301 where Mr. John Daly was webcasting the IS 93 students running missions on the challenge mat while our new teammates in Spain were watching and asking questions.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sabado in Carnota


Yesterday was somethng else. I have not posted in a little while because we were very busy.

Norm Scot, Steve Shapinsky and Fred Wright went to Spain to set up a relationship with a school there in a town called Carnota. We brought Lego Robotics kits and computers and many other technology devices and cables.

After meeting with the Principal and Technology teacher, we began training them in Lego Robotics. In order to share the experience, we used Skype.com to communicate with many students and teachers, principals and regional staff in New York City. Webcams and chats were used.

The technology did not work completely at first but eventually we got the video and audio to work along with the chat. That enabled both sides to see and hear what the other side was doing.

What was each side doing?

The New York side was demonstrating thier robots in action attemtping to score points on the field. The Carnota side was watching them. Other students on both sides were exchanging information about the Reasearch Project. IS 93 asking questions about ther effects of the Prestige oil spill. Carnota was blogging and skype-chatting back the answers to the questions.

Today, students in Carnota gave up a beautiful Saturday to learn Robotics with us. These girls are quick learners!

Steve Shapinsky teaching the Prinicpal and the Technology teacher how to do advanced Robolab so they can teach their half of opur team.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Check back for more updates from Europe. Norm, Dan, Steve and Fred are waiting for a connecting flight to Spain. Mucho Latte!

We will contact Xose, the principal of the school in Carnota as soon as we unpack.

It's 11:00am here and 5:00am NY time.
See you later.