This week we started doing a little bit of robot science. Firecracker’s using robots as his project for our homeschool group’s science fair because he’s enjoyed spending so much time exploring robots. So, we’re devoting some of our days right now to finding out even more about robots so that we can get together a display board and project items about robots.
We discussed how robots can do the same thing over and over again. They never get bored or hungry. They never get sleepy or need to go to the restroom. They can keep working until they have a part broken or someone turns them off.
I gave each child a paper clip and asked them how long they thought they could move the paper clip from point a to point b (a distance of about 3″ across our dining room table). Firecracker’s prediction was 1000 minutes. I was kind of skeptical, given that 1000 minutes is just shy of 17 hours, and I’ve never seen him do anything that long–except maybe play Super Mario Brothers.
Rose’s prediction was just as outlandish. She refused to name a number. Instead, she told me that she could move the paper clip forever. I helped them write their predictions on a science experiment form, readied my stopwatch and told them begin.
Firecracker lasted 2 minutes and 54 seconds. Then, I caught him taking a “rest.”
Rose lasted slightly longer at 5 minutes and 35 seconds. I love this picture of her bored expression as she worked. I actually made her stop because she was trying to mix things up a little by moving her paper clip in a different direction. I told her robots didn’t change patterns unless they were programmed to.
I asked the children what they learned from this experiment. They quickly told me that robots were better workers than people. I attempted to correct those responses to be more along the lines of “robots can do tasks for longer” or “robots can do the same things over and over again without getting bored.” I’m not sure I was successful!