The Goblin Child joined the robotics group this fall. The little kids one that is. I volunteered to help because I like the idea behind it and want to encourage both children to do this.
The kids, some of them, worked really hard and came up with some good ideas. In The Goblin Child’s group there were a couple of great older kids and they came up with an idea that was great. The theme was building a base on the moon. They had lots of Legos and a motor to motorize one of them. They had to build a moon base with ways to provide water, power, and food. Lots of other stuff too.
Their idea started with a simple fish tank. hen they added filling it with grey water that turned a generator as it flowed into the tank. In the tank were fish of course, but also water plants grown to eat and produce oxygen, gravel to help filter the water and capture all waste for future use as fertilizer. Then out of the tank through another filter and back into the water supply.
The oldest boy in the group designed and built a crane that turned around powered by the motor they had to work with. the whole thing was wonderful and well done.
Today was the competition. Everyone got up early to get their kids clear down to Sydney in time. All the work and effort of the last few months and now was the time to show it off. I was more than a little grouchy when there were no microphones, nobody could hear or see a thing of what was going on. The they took a break to decide on the winner. They came back to hand out awards to….
Yay. They all got participation awards. The ones who did nothing got exactly the same as the ones who worked hard at it. There was no point to any of it. Sure the kids got to spend their evenings working hard on a project. I suppose they should appreciate the experience? But why bother? If the competition is so completely meaningless why not just get together and build with Legos? We could skip the long drive. We could skip the expensive products from Lego and use regular blocks. We could skip the team shirts. We could let the kids build what ever they want and not be forced into the yearly theme. It might be more fun for them.