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Project for kids with little or no Internet access

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  • Project for kids with little or no Internet access

    I will be coaching a FLL team in the fall in an economically depressed area. From what I understand, some kids who join up may not have computers or Internet access from their homes. In addition, the facility we will be using does not have Internet access. The team is associated with the local park district and not to any particular school. When I spoke with the people who run the park district after-school program, they did not feel that it was likely that we would get much parental involvement. In terms of the Robot Game, I have setup needed resources (tutorials, videos, ebooks, etc) on two off-line computers the kids will be using. I have plenty of resources. I am concerned about how they will go about doing a research project. I intend to talk to the local library and see if there's any help they might be able to provide. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, particularly resources that I might be able to download and make available on their local computers.

  • #2
    - Does the library have computers with internet access? Can you schedule a few "field trips" to the library for the purpose of research?
    - Can you check books out of the library for the kids to use? That might be a good start for basic research. Magazines might also make great research resources, although it might help to narrow down the focus of the project before searching for those. If you can find a copy of "Thottle Up" (check Ebay) that might be a good book to have on hand. It's the retail version of what used to be the Space Camp Log book given to all campers. It has all sorts of great (although dated) information which might be help provide some background and inspiration. The Space Shuttle Operators Manual has similar, but all shuttle related information. Although depending on the Project specifics, these may not be useful for more than just background information.
    - Can you download podcasts for the kids? Maybe burn CDs for them to listen to? NPR's Wow in the World is a great science podcast specifically aimed at young kids which has some space episodes. I Need My Space is another great space related podcast which I believe is kid friendly (I haven't listened to all of the episodes and I haven't specifically been listening with FLL age kids in mind so please preview first!). The target audience is definitely older, but the episodes where they interview retired astronauts bring up all sorts of issues which might make good research topics. I'm sure there are multiple other podcasts.
    - Once you find an expert or three to talk to, can you arrange for a teleconference (even just putting them on speaker phone) or a Skype call during your meeting? Another option would be corresponding via email (the kids come up with questions, you email the expert and then read the answers to the kids. I'm an aerospace engineer (although I work in aviation rather than space), space enthusiast, five time Space Camp graduate. I'd be happy to interact with your team via email.).
    - Could you task the kids who do have internet access to do the part of the research which requires the internet? Everyone can come up with topics and questions, those students search for the answers and more information, maybe print out articles and web sites for everyone to read. Those who didn't do the research can be the ones who write the script, come up with any props/visual aids.
    - Movies might provide some good background/inspiration. The IMAX space movies are great (although dated). Apollo 13 is supposed to be very accurate despite being fiction (check the rating. It may be PG-13 which may not be appropriate for your kids/context). From the Earth to the Moon is a great documentary(ish) series although it's about the early days of the US space program so it may not be idea. The episode "Spider" about the development of the lunar lander does show engineers in action discovering and overcoming the problems with designing the lunar lander.
    - There are a lot of great videos on Youtube which you may be able to download (not 100% certain of the legality of that so you should check that first). There are a bunch of short videos of astronauts doing every day things on the ISS - brushing their teeth, making food, talking about hobbies, flying around in a gorilla suit.
    - You might contact space museums in your area (or even those not in your area), explain your situation (you're teaching low income kids about space!) and ask if there are any resources which the can send you/point you to which might be helpful.
    - Once we get a better idea of the Project specifics and what your kids need in terms of help with the Project, you might post on the Hab1 forum (https://habforum.hab1.com) this is the (mostly) unofficial forum related to Space Camp. A lot of adult alumni campers, counselors and Space and Rocket Center staff read and post there. That might be a great way for you to find some experts to help as well as getting you and your team pointed towards more specific information to help with the Project.
    --
    Fort Worth Robotics - North Texas Region Team #455
    Technical coach, baker of the cookies, keeper of the time, transporter of the travel field walls, finder of the spare parts, maker of the pop culture references that only the other tall people understand.

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    • #3
      Thanks. There's a lot of good ideas. Looks like I'll have to be a lot more involved in the project than I expected to be. I've considered the library as a resource but am unsure how I'd get kids transported there. My next problem, just discovered, is that the EV3 Software Help system is ON-LINE. :-(

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      • #4
        Originally posted by [email protected] View Post
        My next problem, just discovered, is that the EV3 Software Help system is ON-LINE. :-(
        Fortunately there are ways around this as well.
        - The lessons at EV3Lessons.com can be downloaded as PDF or PPT files. There are probably other sites with tutorials/lessons which can be similarly downloaded.
        - You may be able to download youtube video tutorials (depending on copyright and other intellectual property protections).
        - There are a bunch of great books which you could have on hand. My favorite is The Art of Lego Mindstorms EV3 Programming. It's available on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/LEGO-MINDSTOR.../dp/1593275684). The Lego Mindstorm EV3 Discovery Book is also a good resource (https://www.amazon.com/LEGO-MINDSTOR.../dp/1593275323)
        --
        Fort Worth Robotics - North Texas Region Team #455
        Technical coach, baker of the cookies, keeper of the time, transporter of the travel field walls, finder of the spare parts, maker of the pop culture references that only the other tall people understand.

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        • #5
          There are many programs to fill the digital divide between students with access to the internet and economically disadvantaged students. You may want to check with your school to see if there are any free or low-cost programs for internet access. Many local service providers have internet access for low-income families at home in the range of $10 per month. Some are free. You may want to contact your local Sprint or Verizon store and see if they have a program available for the students. You may also want to talk with the school about internet access for the students. Where will your meetings be? Is there wireless Internet available at that location that you can use for free or low-cost?
          please update us regarding what you find so that we can assist if possible.
          FLL coach Trash Trek on, State 4x, World 2x, ref, judge advisor.

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