Monday Feb 23, 2009

Sun and FIRST

Just a quick post to highlight another blog that I saw today. Derek White has just started a site to encourage people at Sun to get involved in the FIRST robotics competition, an educational thingie with events for children from elementary school all the way up to high school.

 I'm mentioning it because once upon a very long time ago, where by "very long" I mean "when I was in high school", I was part of the FIRST robotics competition (on Team 192), and I have to say that it was a) probably my favorite part of high school and b) I feel like it taught me a lot of the skills that I have now and needed to get through college. It's a great chance for high schoolers to learn how to take a major project, start at the beginning, and bring it all the way to completion through design, construction, testing, failure, redesigning, and so on. It also teaches a lot about teamwork and leadership, since the teams are much larger than the typical "group project" teams. Somewhere in there, I learned about mechanical design, words like tensile and compressive strength, and how to use pneumatics, but I don't use those skills nearly as often as the others.

So, after that bit of reminicing, I'll say that if you have a child, or are a child, who is remotely interested in building things, how things work, or anything like that, you should go see if there are any teams in your area that you can join. It will be a great learning experiance and a lot of fun.

 Plus, sometimes you get to dye your hair bright red and put giant foam gears in it when you go to the championships. That's always fun.


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Jacob Kessler

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