Adding SeaMate Scout to my Robotics Program
What could be more exciting than building an underwater robot to use in competition? Yes, an exciting concept that offers a ton of potential for fun combined with awesome learning experiences. But there is a downside that I did not know when I committed to this program.
Firstly, I have a ton of concerns to address. This is not part of my daily curriculum. It will never be as it does not address my standards. The standards for my class are computer science standards, not robotics. This particular build does not include a coding or programming component. I was really expecting more opportunities to engage my students with my standards by using this robot. Sadly that is not the case. So this robot will be heading to my afterschool program.
Also, I only have money for 1 robot. One robot for a classroom of 20 plus children is not a good ratio anywhere. The build for the robot itself is not bad but when you add the build for the tethered controller, well that is another situation. Can you sing, soldering irons, lead flux, and heat guns, oh my! Yes, to build the remote, the students have to solder the circuits. No plug and go. No, no, no. This is an old school build. Also, the builds require waterproofing with heat shrink tubing. A heat gun is required to shrink the tubing. Anyone else feeling the breath of a lawsuit on their neck or is it just me?
I am wrapping my head around how in the world am I going to create mini-lessons and testing to "prove" that I provided enough information to students prior to releasing them with these potentially dangerous situations. This will require some deep research that I was not really ready to do at this point. BUT, I did agree to do this so I will make it happen. So look forward to those posts soon!
Then there is the issue of a water source. Kids need to make sure their design will work as designed. They will need to be able to control the device and finally, they will need to practice. Most schools do not have access to a pool. Buying an above ground pool to place in the school creates a ton of issues from who has access, who will be responsible for cleaning, and a million other questions! Something as benign as a water trough causes concern in the public sector. Much reflection and creativity are
going to have to take place to resolve this issue.
The actual competition will take place at a local pool. Thankfully, they are looking to use the shallow part of a pool but there is a deep end. I only want to take students who know how to swim just due to the liability concerns. No, I am not overreacting. I have been a certified diving coach and certified lifeguard for years. I have spent decades at pools. I just know how quickly the bad can happen. Also, I really do not want to have to rescue a student. Just not a good look for a school at an event. Again, the hot breath of a lawsuit keeps blowing from behind.
I will make this happen. I am just pondering aloud about how little thought I put into my commitment. Yes, it will be good for the students that take part in the program. Will this be easy from my standpoint? No, but then when was teaching ever super easy?