This year we spent half of our studies involved with First Lego League. I, as the coach, and the boys, as team members. It was a growth stretch for all three of us. After the tournament we were to fill out surveys answering, What did we learn? At that point we were so exhausted – and a bit deflated – to be completely objectionable with out emotion.
“Good science weaves a trail of failure. If you want to teach science, you need to teach children how to recognize and analyze failure. The best way to do that is to give them room to fail. Lots and lots of room.” “When prizes are given out for demonstrating how to kill seedlings or slugs, let me know, because my class is full of winners!” Michael Doyle
I liked this quote above – it is how I felt about our ending Lego League Experience. We spent all year telling them – Fail! Failure is good! Try again! Learn! and by the end of the time – they were really learning what they SHOULD do – because of the results of how they failed.
This week – Jon sat down and created a replica of a Motorcycle using Technic Lego Pieces. Nate really liked the design and wondered if he could place the NXT on the seat area, by nights end, they had a working motorcycle built together Jon’s Design, Nate’s Programing and Motor Placement. They even put on a 3rd motor to launch a dart at oncoming traffic. Nice.
All of their failures at the first Lego League – has given them strength, resolve, and determination to push harder. But MOSTLY – it has finally given them the opportunity to really feel the JOY and EXCITEMENT of the win. Of the Accomplishment. Jon was near tears the night before frustrated that the model in his imagination was not coming together with the bricks. The next day, he picked up, and was successful. He has been so excited!
We have been working on our Science Fair Project Preparations since the first week of February. I have seen so much of what we learned at First come out –
The child does the work. I ask questions and give guidance. Failure is a path to success. What we learn is more important than what we win – which is good, cause I’m pretty sure even if they win – there will not be prizes. and Have Fun!
Preparing the design of the boards was a snap, the boys learned what they liked and didn’t like from the Lego League experience. Nathan said he wanted his to look like the Children’s Museum boards – and had ideas from Oregon Coast Aquarium set up. It was nice to not have to “teach” them how to make the boards.
So – at the end of the year – I can say that First Lego League definitely fulfilled it’s promise to instill a desire for learning science, engineering and machines and helped me to be more of a coach, and less of a “tell it all” teacher.
What have you found as a coach or a parent of a team member ? What areas have you seen change this year – and can see the direct relation to what they learned on the team?