CSI Lil’ Robots

Busy day starting at 6:30am.  My original schedule was to go with Dave from the Reuseum to document the robot workshop but due to some unfortunate family incidences I made arrangements to meet up later in the day.  This was Hawk’s first roadtrip or to him a one day tour.  I thought it was a great introduction for him to get some road experience.  

Just a little before 4pm when the workshop started I caught up with Dave at CSI to grab keys to the hotel where I planned on keeping Hawk while we were on campus.  The day before we found out the hotel accommodates dogs so during the workshop time I could leave Hawk for a few hours as long as he was in his cage with all of his amenities.  That didn’t happen.  He was not very happy about being away from me the majority of the day and again in the evening.  I wish more places were pet friendly otherwise I would take him everywhere.  The campus is quite different than I anticipated.  Lots of big trees with shade and grass area between all the buildings.  I was able to take Hawk on walks throughout my time during the workshops.

Thursday evening the class was packed with kids mostly under 10 years working on light-seeking robots.  A few parents stayed to work on the project with their kids while others worked on the projects by themselves.  There are always a couple of kids in every class with all the questions or learn things faster than others.  The night of this workshop the model behavior got a little frustrated towards the end of the evening.  We stayed over an hour later from the scheduled time of the workshop to help a few finish their projects.  A few wires on the circuit were soldered in the wrong places and the boy was frustrated.  He was close to being done but had to switch a few wires around.  He finally accepted the fact of the change after he understood how the wiring affects the programming.  As one of last kids to leave the night he left very happy and also made me use him for the quote of the day I shared on Twitter  “im sorry but my mom didn’t get her coffee with milk this morning”.  Referring to his mother trying to get him to hurry and finish.  She became impatient after her son was frustrated and it was an hour past the scheduled time.  One of the other last kids stayed late with his mom’s support.  They talked with us while finishing up about their visit to the Discovery Center every year but missed out this summer.  I informed them about the Robot Competition we are having there on Oct. 9th & 10th.  The robots they made at this workshop gives them free admission.  Hopefully we will see them there in a few months.

After we left campus we went back to our hotel to drop off our stuff and walked to the mexican restaurant next door to see if we could get some carryout.  I remember someone telling me that the Cafe Ole closed and for some reason this restaurant looked like it was the replacement.  When we approached the front doors and recognized the wishing well that confirmed the identity of the old Cafe Ole.  I told Dave that we have to eat inside.  This was a yearly tradition my family had for my grandmother’s birthday and I haven’t been back to the restaurant in 10 years.  The inside was nothing like a remembered. The food was good but I was disappointed to see my old wishing well being used as a plant holder.

After dinner we walked to the gas station to get some drinks.  The attendant hurried us because they were closing.  I asked if all the gas stations close at night in the area and nodded her head with confirmation.  I said “That’s really weird.  I don’t think I’ve been anywhere where all the gas stations close at night”.  She just looked at me and asked me if I wanted my receipt.  Back at the hotel we turned the TV on to catch some hypno zzzz’s.  After Dave flipped through the channels a few times he handed me the remote.  I skipped a few channels and stopped at a movie. “Forbidden Planet”.  Dave flipped; I passed out.

The morning class the next day was a lot more relaxed.  The kids seemed more focused.  I don’t know if it had something to do with them being more alert because it’s the morning or if they were a completely different class.  One of the boys, the “leader” of the group started talking about droids and asked Dave at one point if he heard of the movie “Short Circuit”.  Dave and I looked at each other and laugh.  He tells the boy “What you should have asked me is ‘Did I grow up watching the movie Short Circuit?'”.  Later the same boy asked his peer while in the solder line if he seen the movie “Forbidden Planet” before.  Dave and I again look at each other and laugh.

Channel 11 news from Twin Falls showed up to interview the kids and learn a little from Dave. I grabbed my camera to record the interview; Backstage Pass style.

I’m excited and impressed with young people eager to learn at such a young age.  Who knows if any of these young geniuses will be our future leaders.  That’s the most rewarding part working with kids.

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