Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Teaching Others

So, last week I had the first session of that 4-H robotics club activity I mentioned before. It went pretty much as I expected. Another student brought in a PowerPoint presentation about robots, and then they built a robot out of Legos from a kit and instructions provided. There were 15 kids, divided into four groups (because we had four kits available). They were able to finish building the robot itself, and in later sessions we will show them how to add sensors to the robot and program it. On the "guide to instructors" on the 4-H website it suggested a fun activity to teach them what programming is all about: bring in some peanut butter, jelly, bread, and tableware, have them write down a list of instructions for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and then they read the instructions to me and I execute them. The point is to show how being clear and exact is necessary - for example if they write "put the jelly on the bread" that could mean put the whole container of jelly on top of the bread. Then they can see how to "debug" the instructions so they work right. The next session will be on November 14 so after that I will be able to tell you how it went.

But coming soon I won't just get the chance to teach elementary school age kids - I'll also get the chance to teach college undergraduates. It turns out that there isn't enough money in the grant for our project to fund me for next semester, so I will have to be a T.A. for next semester. I just learned this today so I don't know what class I will be a T.A. for, or even if I will actually be teaching students (I know that some TAs just grade papers). I will keep you posted with more information once I find out more.


Dan Mont said...

The peanut butter and jelly sandwich thing is very clever. Was it fun to teach the kids?

How do you feel about being a TA? I hope you get a chance to be an instructor and not just a paper grader. what happens with your work with Erickson? Will you be doing that as part of your school work, or is that suspended until the summer or fall semester?

Alexander Mont said...

It was fun and I am looking forward to the next session.

I think it would be kind of cool to be a TA.

I am still going to be working for Jeff because that is part of my thesis research.

Chilly in Calgary said...

What subject(s) would you TA?

Alexander Mont said...

I don't know yet what subject I will teach.

I submitted my course preferences which were for Algorithms + Theory and Numerical Analysis classes.

I won't know which subjects I have been assigned to until late in November.