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Brian- while I thought our new young team finally had one consistent  
mission down (which the team is ok with as a goal)- we had to change  
the batteries and it's like a completely different robot.   i really  
feel like now we are at  point when we could desperately use two more  
weeks- I actually read the second paragraph in the "advice for  
coaches" on page 8 of the coaches manual- for "rookie teams" to them  
today- and I have reminded them that whatever happens Saturday- they  
have worked hard and learned a lot- when I look at the rubric, I feel  
the same way- but it's kind of too late now- I think as a second year  
team we'll be able to work on more- I told them I'd be willing to meet  
with them once a month or so just to "play around with the  
Mindstorms." I think those of us who have Rookie Teams should feel  
good about giving them this experience and reminding them to learn at  
this tournament- I reminded them there would be some teams that would  
be able to accomplish a lot of missions- but we are a new team.  Our  
team work is not quite fully developed as I would like, and again, not  
enough time- but I'm proud of them. You're not alone.  Laura
On Oct 30, 2009, at 1:08 PM, Brian Nussbaum wrote:

> Hello VDACFLL,
> (My thoughts with a question at the end)
>
> I am a first-year coach with a very young team of 5th graders.   
> Earlier in
> this listserv there was some conversation about coaches who do not  
> feel that
> they are ready for the competition.
>
> We have a week until our day at JMU, and I can definitely say that  
> ateam and
> bteam from Thomas Harrison Middle School will be bringing up the  
> rear.  It
> will be quite amazing if our group is able to complete one task on the
> table, and have any sort of powerpoint with a linear thought  
> process.  We
> have not completed any of the requirements on the rubric for our  
> research.
>
> HOWEVER, as coaches we are looking at the process rather than the end
> result. Learning has happened on the part of both the students and the
> coaches (for example, some of our students are learning that it is  
> not a
> good idea to completely dismantle the robot a week before the  
> competition).
> On the whole, it is a good example of how this particular group of 5th
> graders has some significant growing to do in the thought-process and
> maturity departments.
>
> As coaches, we have done significant scaffolding for them to try to  
> break
> down the problem into smaller chunks, but we will just call our  
> students
> 'creative thinkers' rather than linear or result-oriented thinkers.
>
> But this is OK, because we have made progress, even though very  
> little of it
> will appear on Saturday.  We are trusting that this will be a learning
> experience for this very young team.  At this point they don't even  
> realize
> what they don't know.  Seeing other teams will be a good opportunity  
> for
> them to realize their potential for the future.
>
> If we work together a few times in the spring to go back and solve a  
> few of
> this year's tasks, and then get an earlier start next fall, we may  
> be more
> in the middle of the pack next year (I'm thinking optimistically).
>
> This is to assure all of you that are feeling worried--it's OK.
>
> Question:  will there be an opportunity for my teams to watch other  
> groups'
> research presentations?  I think they never really got a full  
> understanding
> of what we were going for on the research end of things.  Seeing a
> successful group could be helpful for them.
>
> Thanks.
> -- 
> Mr. Brian Nussbaum
> Mathematics Teacher
> Thomas Harrison Middle School
>
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