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Sant Bani School (rocketry and Lego Robotics)

I was invited to deliver two classes to the children attending the Sant Bani summer program in Sanbornton, NH.  This is a wonderful program, well organized and well attended.  Having done this program for 5 years, their regular teacher was not going to be available to deliver these classes.

The program director contacted me with regard to rocketry then went on to explain that they preferred to have one person deliver BOTH classes (rocketry and Lego Robotics).  Not having any experience with Lego Robotics I expressed my concern.  They were confident that, based on my experiences, I could learn enough about the subject matter to deliver an effective course.

4 weeks of pounding away (when I found the time) at the software and hardware and I was as ready as I was going to get.  My Lego class had 8 kids (boys and girls) with 5 of them staying on for the afternoon rocketry class (all boys).  I met with each class every day for a week, working 3 hours each day on each subject.  It was an intensive class and we got a LOT of work done! 

In Lego Robotics, the kids learned the basics of the available building materials as well as a short introduction to the programming tool.  By the end of that first class everyone was able to build a simple car and make it go forward and backward using their downloaded programs that they wrote themselves.  Throughout the rest of the week they added complexity to their cars (touch sensors and light sensors) and complexity to their programs to make the cars to a host of other functions.  We closed out the week teaching them how to design and construct a simple transmission that would be used in a crane to raise and lower a basket containing sensors so that it would know when the basket was on the top or bottom of the crane reach.  They then had to program the cranes to perform their function.  It was incredible watching these kids doing things that were reserved for only the best college educated scientists, back when I was in school.

In rocketry, since we had a lot of time, we built two rockets.  One was my standard beginner Go-To rocket, the Thing-a-ma-Jig.  Learning many basic techniques with that rocket, we then moved on to the Emu, a yet to be released competition egg lofting model.  While the kids struggled a bit with the odd materials (balsa, paper shrouds, kevlar and the like), all models were completed and flew very well on Friday!  Much to their chagrin, they also had homework in that they needed to study the NAR safety code and then take a test on Thursday before coming to the field to fly on Friday.  All in all a wonderful experience and a great week of rocketry!

Click on the photo album you wish to view and have fun!

Enjoy the photo album! 


rockets! ROCKETS! lookit all the rockets!
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