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Passing the torch

Gordon robotics veterans connect with fourth grade

The fourth graders had been promised a field trip for today's class.


They would be going to a nearby robotics lab, where they would meet with some of the local engineers who are accomplished in their field.


Before they left, they brainstormed questions:


How did you choose this work?


What kind of robots do you build?


Which is more fun: making the robots, or watching them work?


When you start in robotics?


Their teacher was confident that the engineers would have answers to their questions.


Then, they set off.


On foot.


Their destination? The Middle School basement, home of Gordon's permanent robotics lab, headquarters of the Middle School's competitive robotics team.


It was not the field trip they expected, and it did not disappoint.


The eighth grade engineers they met had just competed in the state championship, a season-ending event and the finale of a Gordon robotics curriculum that had begun, for some of them, in Preschool. 


They were kind, and clear, and obviously proud of their work.


The fourth graders took it in with a mix of awe and curiosity.


They had been introduced to the technology, and the basic programming concepts, in Gordon science classes since they were three.


But as the eighth graders compared competitive robotics to basketball and soccer, to music recitals and after school theater, they began to see new possibilities in engineering.


The teacher had two goals with this class.


He wanted to give the eighth graders a leadership experience as a capstone for their Gordon robotics career.


And he wanted to stoke a fire under his already-eager fourth graders.


As the fourth graders left their seats and overran the competition board, it looked like he had succeeded.

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