There have been some great responses to George's note about the
apparent robo-centric emphasis. I agree that this is more illusion
than fact, and applaud the great work done by the project and
teamwork judges and by the tournament officials who have the hard job
of selecting among many deserving teams to win awards and advance to
I do think this conversation illustrates a downside of having the
project get such limited visibility at the tournament. The project
presentation is done behind closed doors, with only coaches and a
camera to witness. Unless a team brings a display of some sort to the
tournament, and unless other teams find the time to look at said
display, there's little opportunity to share results amidst all the
excited rushing about. We've been to two regional tournaments and
came away with scant insight into what any other teams had done for
their projects, and no sense that anyone other than two judges
learned what our team had done. Although early in the season the kids
are reluctant to spend time on the research instead of the robot, by
the time they create their presentation they're jazzed about it, so
it's a bit of a shame not to have that enthusiasm compete at least a
bit with the roar of the robots.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'll maintain that it's
worthwhile to search for more ways to celebrate the projects, for
example by adding a celebratory element to the closing ceremony above
and beyond presenting awards. Even a one--minute synopsis of each
winning project, delivered by the announcer or a team member, might
be nice. It's been noted that everyone is tired at the end of the
day, and understandably loath to add more time to the closing
ceremony. But if there are tournaments that add more project-focused
material to the closing, I'd be curious to learn what was done and
how it went over.
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