Friday, April 15, 2011

Robotic April Fools

I teach two middle school level robotics classes in an after school program.  I do a mass chaos large class in the winter and a smaller advanced robotics class in the spring.  Every spring I pick a new project based on whatever whims come my way around New Years.

Observing that the last scheduled class day this year was 31 March gave me the idea for....robotic April Fools jokes.

With permission of the administration we made all sorts of odd things happen.  A three ring binder slowly moved around, stopped, and played a Jimmy Buffet tune.  Strobe lights flashed and an April Fools sign was reeled up and down from the ceiling.  A lunch room trash can was supposed to travel about independently but threw a wheel at the last minute.

The most successful prank was a life sized figure of a Green Bay Packer player that had graced the cafeteria all year.  But prior to this day he had never started sneaking up on people and spraying them with water at ankle level.

But the most succesful gadget was the "robotic 6th grader trapped in a locker".  From down the hallway a distance the kids could, by remote control, trigger a furious banging that actually attracted several groups of concerned kids and teachers. 

All good fun.  My views on privacy matters preclude my showing pictures of the proceedings, but I must relate one side note that pleased me.

I kid came up to me, looked at the shirt I was wearing and said; "".

This is only the second time that anyone has caught the reference.

A word of explanation.  This shirt previously bore the logo of an organization for whom I had once worked.  I had a few issues with the ethics of the outfit but really liked the shirt.  It was just so darn comfortable.  Finally I decided I would just cover over their logo with that of a somewhat more respectable company, the evil corporation from the movie Aliens    Weyland-Yutani

I have come to terms long ago with my own nerd-dom.  But it cheers me to think that nerds can come in all sizes and shapes, young and old, male and female.  

Well, maybe not that last part.


Honeybee said...

Hey! To quote one of my kids, "I resemble that" (last comment)!

next door Laura said...

Hey! I resemble that too. Are you forgetting which nerdette sewed that patch on for you? It's true, the incidence of nerdism is less frequently reported in the fairer sex population, and many confirmed she-nerds have attained that designation by marriage, not birth, but don't discount us. It does "take one to know one" after all.