TEAM 1403 COUGAR ROBOTICS
PROJECT/ACTIVITY: Social Media
Where: Montgomery High School
Number of Students: 83
Action Items: Masking Tape, PVC Pipe, Rubber Bands, Rubber Tube, and Popsicle Sticks.
Impact on Team: This Cougar Class was mainly focused on social media and the various effects it can have on people. On one hand, social media can promote communication, provide information, and allow easy networking. On the other hand, social media has the ability to create an addiction, potentially expose private information to thousands of people, and cause depression. Since the majority of people have some form of social media, it means that almost everything can be easily viewed by anyone who has internet connection. The challenge was for each team to create a contraption that could launch a ping pong ball the furthest. Two weeks before the activity, the students had the option to request materials that were three dollars or under, which could include construction materials or anything that was not obviously cheating (an actual ping pong launcher, for instance).
During the activity, the students were split into teams and were given roughly five minutes to brainstorm ideas about what they needed to assemble their launcher. After the five minutes passed, the students were given a piece of paper on which they could write the type and amount of material they wanted long as it was within reason (500 rubber bands is not realistic). After the students were given the materials, they could start building; however, halfway through the activity, all the members of the team had to stay silent except for one randomly selected member. Finally, when the students finished building their structures, they were taken to the cafeteria and were given three chances to shoot a ping pong ball as far as they could with their launcher.
One of the things that students learned was that teamwork was important for completing the challenge. In order to complete the apparatus to launch the ping-pong ball, students had to communicate with one another about various ways to launch the ping-pong ball, such as with a catapult or trebuchet design. Teamwork became even more important when only one member could talk as the students in the group had to communicate and work together through other means besides speech. As well as teamwork, use of time effectively was needed in this challenge due to the fact that we had a limited amount of time to create an entire machine. Overall, this challenge required skills that are needed in robotics, as well as jobs that require cooperation like engineering or lawyers.