(Based on a real story that happened to me.)

Alright, first period. Camp Rodney in Maryland. The first day in the early morning. Just finished taking a hike, eating breakfast, and walking around the entire camp to find this lodge. I sat down and pulled out my papers in order to get ready. I was going to start this great week off with a great first class. To find out that there were just as many teachers as there were students. Two. A student-teacher and the actual teacher. Now the only other student seemed quiet and reserved. But that wouldn't stop me from having a great time. The teacher, the main teacher started to talk to us. The other one started pulling robot parts out, setting things down, taking program boxes out, and putting batteries in one. (Eight batteries total per box.)

After getting directions, the kid and I agree to be partners in building the robot. I agree. I start off by building a super basic robot. This robot had four wheels, a frame, and a base. That was it. But the main part of the robot was going to be the wires and the algorithm to get it to go forward and eventually into a track. It was my partner's job to make the robot's algorithm. We took it and used a program to develop it. By day one, the body was built and the algorithm was pretty much made. The next day we had to test it on the robot and get the algorithm into the control device. Easy as pie! We would be done in no time, right? I mean, what an easy badge. I started writing the essay on it, for what we had done. The essay was more like an observation of what was going on and what we were doing to make it work.

That was the only homework. I left the robot on this little cart in the lodge for the next day. When we came back the next day, I found our robot and sketched it down. The class started. It took us the entire period to figure out how to get the algorithm to the controller to the robot to make it do anything. By the end of the period, however, we thought it would be worth it. That it would go forward. And instead, the only thing the robot did, was spin around in a tiny circle. I continued my homework by marking that down and elaborating on what we had done. Simple stuff right there. I figured we would work more with the controller and algorithm the next day, so that way I could have it go forward. Sounded simple and easy to me. Agreeable to do.

I'd gotten some help that day, and a bit before that, But it wasn't much. Not nearly enough. On the third day, I found the robot is broken and the controller missing. My counselor forced us to steal one back from them and said he would chat to the other class. There was apparently only one other robotics class, and it was twenty or so people. Big class, I get it. But they were working in larger groups. They were just able to make bigger cooler looking robots. Which was fine, but we couldn't do that. I worked the entire period to get my robot to work, but in the end, it could still only spin in little circles. But I did have to re-download the algorithm to the controller and re-build the robot body. I took down note of the occurrence. I put it on the cart.

Big mistake. I talked to someone in that class to no longer break our robot, but still. The controller was once more gone. We had to steal it back. There was another controller they could have used, but didn't! That was the worst part! I couldn't believe they would do such a thing. I took this in to notice as well. I once more got no help from my partner, who only really walked around with me sometimes. From the programming room to the building room. To test on the floor. At some point, he stopped doing that as well and just decided the best thing for him was to stay and talk about cartoons with the counselors! I was furious, but I wanted the badge. I worked twice as hard and re-made the algorithm. It now went forward and spun. But that was it. It did nothing else. I took note of this too.

My counselors put it in a closet now, to make sure the other class didn't get ahold of the robot and take it apart again. On the fifth and final day, I worked hard to get it to work. My counselor got tired of seeing my work so hard and said at the end I had done it in his opinion. I felt incomplete, but I would need much more help to make the robot work. So I threw in the towel and broke apart our robot. I deleted the entire program, an algorithm, and made sure the batteries were given back. I do wish that my partner had helped me more. Because he got the same amount of credit I did for doing an eighth of the work! Sitting down and just talking to the counselor should not have counted. He didn't even start his report, and I had to give him my notes. I would have felt used if it hadn't been for the fact that he was the one who had started the algorithm.

I know that sounds minor, but it was a huge part of the robot. Without the algorithm, it wouldn't have been able to do the things that it had done. Project broken-what I named the robot/project-was in a way, is a success. It did one of the things it was supposed to and did have some amount of success with the track. In all fairness, the robot got broken twice. If it hadn't been broken, we would have made it to the end of the track. It would have most definitely been much more successful if I had just had some help with it. But I did it. And that was what mattered, right?

June 17, 2022 15:45

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