I was at the Zon Regency Hotel in Johor Bahru over the last couple of days for the NRC 2012 finals competition. I was appointed as the head judge for the Primary Open category.
I love judging this category due to the kids involved. I love that the kids can come up with some really interesting ideas and designs for their robots.
I have no qualms about getting down on my knees to speak to them at their level and also to inspect the under-side of all their designs. I think that a lot of people miss out on what’s underneath it all.
I asked some really weird questions this year but I received one really weird answer this year.
I asked a 10 year old boy what he did for the project and he replied that he was the ‘Project Coordinator’. I was taken aback initially and so I asked him what that meant. He claimed that he help out with whatever that needed doing – I love that honesty.
Most of them were not shy to admit that they had a lot of help from adults, particularly when it came to things like sawing of wood and also nailing stuff together.
There was one primary team that had rather interesting software and when I asked them what it was, the little boy answered – LabVIEW! I was stunned as most of my undergrads have problems using it. So, I asked him who did the software and he readily admitted that it was too difficult for them to use and it was done by their Mentor.
I asked another boy who helped them with the machining for their robot parts – gears, rivets, etc – and I was surprised that he said that they did it themselves. I repeated my question as I was afraid that he did not understand me but he was adamant about it.
This kind of out-reach programme is the kind of thing that I really like to do. I took note of the fact that there were a number of all-girl teams this year. I like!