If I never have to solder another connection, it will be too soon. The fact that I’m going to have to do it again on Monday means that it’s DEFINITELY happening too soon. I’m going to have robot-filled nightmares tonight.

Measuring a wire before cutting and stripping it.

Next week is the last week of summer school, so we really have to get this robot project wrapped up so that we can finish the city project too.  Even though the robots aren’t finished yet, I’m happy with the progress we’ve made, and I don’t think we could have possibly worked any faster than we did. There’s just too much to explain, and every single step has to be almost fully supervised because they’re using tools and are way too likely to jump ahead and mess something up if you don’t keep an eye on them. Today, all of the groups were finally at the point where they were ready to start soldering, and there was nothing we could do to put it off any longer.
I would love for the kids to have a chance to try to solder, but I don’t know that we’re going to have the time for that. With all of the explanations and safety stuff we have to do, there’s no way that we would be able to get through all of the kids. Maybe we’ll try to at least let each of them do one connection so that they have the experience… And maybe not… We’ll have to just play it by ear and decide if we think they can handle it.

Vanessa helping with wire cutting.

We had class with the older kids in the morning, and it was a bit chaotic. I always expect the younger class to be somewhat out of control, but not this class. Someone must have been giving out pixie sticks at the door when they got to school today or something because they were all over the place. Debbie gave them the whole talk about how soldering is dangerous and the iron is very hot and they need to listen and be careful, and then as soon as we started working, the whole class was crowded around the table and touching things and stressing both of us out. She basically told them that if they couldn’t behave, they weren’t going to get to work on their robots anymore. That did the trick, at least enough to make it through the end of class without anyone getting a burn.
The younger kids were in the afternoon, and working with them was like something out of a dream (for the most part, excluding the one girl who was pouting instead of participating because “this is a boy project”. I won’t even tell you how I felt about that comment. I’m sure you can imagine). They were all so calpm, they listened and followed directions, and they did a great job. Vanessa must be working some magic on them because their behavior today vs. the first week of summer school is like having a completely different group of kids. I still think that part of it is the excitement of the robots (kids keep asking when they’re going to get to work on their robots again), but part of it is absolutely also them being much improved in general.

Debbie, finishing up the last robot of the night.

The kids got all of their wires cut and stripped, and we started soldering them during class.  We got through most everyone in the afternoon group (which is only half of the class, keep in mind), and after all of the kids left, Debbie and I decided to keep on going to finish up the connections so that next week can just be putting the finishing touches on. That was the most exhausting part of the day. All I wanted to do was snack and eat dinner, and we didn’t end up eating until 8PM.
I’m falling asleep while typing again, so I’ll do you a favor and wrap things up before my writing really starts to tank. Hooray for Friday, and hooray for weekend days when you can actually sleep in!

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