About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Robot School!

Saturday morning, before the reunion preparations began, I took Robby to the much anticipated Lego Robotics class. His teacher highly recommended that Robby attending this course because he gravitates towards the Lego table at every opportunity. Combining robots with Legos seemed like a surefire fit for my little builder!

Since Robby was in the youngest class, my attendance was mandatory, not that I would have left him I had the opportunity. I love watching Robby learn and his enthusiasm about this class was contagious. My mind began to swirl with the possibilities at Christmas as he excitedly began to build with the colorful little plastic blocks and bits.

At the beginning the class, Robby was given the choice of which robot he wanted to build first. With no hesitation he was emphatic that he build the "kicking leg" robot first. I overheard him tell his teacher that he "was going to be a prosthetist someday like Mr. Elliot and build Momom new legs. I should probably get started now." At this point my head was probably as big as the room.

Robby and his Lego teacher worked for nearly an 90 minutes constructing the kicking leg robot. Unlike when he builds at home, Robby demonstrated an uncanny amount of patience as he actually followed the instructions (typically they are tossed to the side and ignored). When he became frustrated he asked for a moment to take some calm down breathes, and then he resumed working on his project. By the time it was complete, we were all anxious to see if it worked.

Robby proudly hooked up his robot to the test computer. I was probably as excited as he when his robot kicked on command. I wish we could have kept his robot but, being that it was made of Legos which were needed for the afternoon project, Robby's first leg was dismantled before lunch. Of course, not before I got a picture and a video!

After lunch Robby returned to the classroom to begin working on his second project. As instructed, he built a spinner and a spinning machine. When hooked up to the computer, the little Lego top took off spinning around the table. After his project was correctly demonstrated, he was given his final test.

The evaluator handed Robby a blank sheet of paper and asked him to figure out a way to keep the top spinning only on that surface. I knew that Robby needed to change the size of the gears within the contraption, but I wasn't sure if he knew how to achieve this goal. With an unexplained burst of confidence, Robby took the sheet of paper and told the teacher that her test was "easy peasy" and promised to be back within a few minutes. I was sure we were in for a few more hours of Lego class as he worked his way through the gear issue.

As Robby's Lego classmates began to tinker with their spinners, Robby began to play with the extra Legos in the box. His teacher reminded him of the task and told him that he could play after he passed the test. He looked up and smiled and said, "I'm not playing, I'm passing my test."

It didn't take me long to figure out what Robby was building. While all of his classmates were struggling with the gears and motors, Robby was happily building a Lego border around the sheet of paper. He finished his wall in about three minutes, and called the Evaluator to view his project. 

Before he unveiled his Lego wall, he asked his teacher, "So in order to pass this Lego class all I need to do is keep the spinner on the paper, right?" She smiled and said yes. He proudly took out his wall and put it on top of the paper. He turned on the spinner and delighted in watching it bounce off of the border he created.

The Evaluator was dumbstruck by his solution. She began to talk about changing the gears when Robby's Lego teacher interrupted and reminded her of the objective. Robby, without a doubt, met the goal that he was given.  She agreed that he thought outside of the box and he passed the final test! 

My little Lego engineer was so proud as he skipped out of the room. In the car he confided, "Momom, I think I was supposed to change the gears. But that seemed like a lot of work and trouble because I would have to take the spinner apart. Was I cheating by building the wall? I thought it was a good idea."  I promised him that he was not cheating because he had solved the problem. He proved that sometimes the simplest solution is the best. I can't wait to see what he creates next time!

1 comment:

  1. Speaking as an engineer... the wall around the paper was inspired!

    The solution to any problem is found in the constraints placed on that problem. Problems with no constraints are easily solved.

    In Robbie's case, the constraints were not well defined, so a wall definitely fit!