This year, Mrs. Haynes and I started a Blazer Builders Jr. First Lego League with a small group of third grade builders. We were excited to start this new challenge. We started the session after the holiday break and just finished up this afternoon. We had weekly plans set, a timeline, and an event we were going to attend with our project. In the end, it didn't work out quite as we had planned. When I look back at my blog it looks as if everything always works perfectly the first time in our library...so not the case. I have had a hard time with the league not going as planned. But when I really think about it, I need to live by what I tell my kids each day..."If you haven't failed, you haven't tried! Things are not always going to work the first time, you may need to try again. Every problem has a solution, it just may not be the one you planned on."
Where did it go wrong? Well, it took us way too long to select our topic and successfully research it. We had a hard time making decisions as a group. We struggled with the motor and getting it to do what we really wanted. We didn't have enough work time before the school day. We would just get things moving and the bell would ring to start the day.
Today as we wrapped up Blazer Builder's for the year, Mrs. Haynes and I were a bit defeated as the kids came in. We felt that we had failed the kids since we had not finished our project nor made it to a Jr. FLL Exposition.
When we reflected with the kids, they had a totally different opinion of the experience...
One builder said that it was ok that they didn't finish, they had enjoyed the journey.
Another said that they had gotten to know new friends.
Another said that they had learned from mistakes.
They had learned to compromise.
They learned to give up on something that wasn't working.
They learned to work as a team.
They learned working with a team makes the work go faster.
When asked what they would change, they suggested...
It would have been helpful to have more motors to work with.
They would have liked longer work times.
They would have liked to have met more times.
They suggested that we add more people on the team to divide up the work.
So, was our experience a failure? NO!
Our group persevered. Our group learned to compromise. Group members learned to listen to other's ideas. Quiet group members became leaders with great ideas. Strengths started to shine through. Students progressively failed.
Where do we go from here?
Mrs. Haynes and I have decided not to continue this club next year. We always felt bad that only 8 kids had the chance to participate. Next year, more kids will get an opportunity to program and learn with the Lego WeDo robotics construction sets within the library program, not as a club. We will also work with programming Lego Mindstorm EV3 robots. We will try this and see if it works better for us and the kids. If not, we will problem-solve that too!