Creating Our Teams
After taking a self-assessment of particular skillsets, today students organized themselves into teams that they will be working in throughout the year. The goal is to create the teams that are the most balanced, thereby giving them all unique skillsets throughout the projects.
Class 1 – August 27th, 2018
Teams were given an example of my own skill assessment, and told to organize themselves into 3 equally balanced teams. Furthermore, they were not allowed to know which card belonged to which student, so that we were organizing based purely on skills assessment alone. Additionally, students had to all agree on the final placement before I revealed the identity of each card holder. Overall, the kids loved this activity, and ended up with people in their group that they may not have normally picked. From here on, it will be working together on projects and building a strong sense of teamwork amongst each other.
Class 2 – September 4th, 2018
Week of February 4th
Beginning this week, we are introducing the Raspberry Pi car project and SCRUM process to our classes of students. Their goal over the next few months is to assemble a working model of a car that runs on a Raspberry Pi unit, and create a lesson plan that shows how this car could be used in a lesson plan in the classroom.
Students are also being introduced to the SCRUM process, and are being given the following document. They will need to create a Definition of Done, plan out their major goals on a printed calendar, and will begin holding daily SCRUMs at the start of each class to plan their goals for the day. They will be assessed three times throughout the project, and each assessment will be worth a lab grade. We are excited to see our students rise to this challenge!
Update – February 22nd, 2019
At this point students have been working in their SCRUM Teams for a week and a half on the Pi Car, and are getting into the rhythm of their daily tasks. Each team is at a different point of progress, and their pacing so far has been spotty. While the process of assembling the cars is fairly standardized, in their notes they have already identified some problems; a couple teams have dealt with dynamics and a balance of work, and all teams have discovered that the assembly instructions for the cars are not the most helpful. Some teams have had to de-assemble parts of the car, re-orient them, and re-assemble them because wires are backwards, or a part is flipped in a way that it shouldn’t be. As they proceed, they have learned to consult ahead in the instructions, and also to use a previously assembled model as a guide to inform their decision making.
Update – Week of March 3rd, 2019
This week is our first week of sit-down discussions and interviews about how the SCRUM process and how the project has been going for all the teams. Mr. O’Brien created a list of ten questions to assess how the students are working within the process, and also to assess how progress on their car is going. Many teams gave similar answers to the questions, and the way that teams are adapting to work together has been fun to watch. The list of questions for our first assessment is as follows:
1. How did you determine your Definition of Done and plan out your work to successfully complete this project in time?
2. Has your Definition of Done changed much since we began this project?
3. Tell me about the challenges you have dealt with so far on this project.
4. What have been your solutions to those challenges? Did they work well?
5. Do you feel that both team members are doing an equal amount of work?
6. How can we work to improve relations between team members?
7. What are the next steps in your project, and how have you divided that work?
8. What information have you found or created so far about using these robots in a lesson for a class?
9. If you were to present this project right now, what would you say is the most important aspect of work like this?
10. Do you think you will finish this project in time for the Technology Expo?
Update – Week of March 25, 2019
For the past several weeks students have been struggling through the assembly process for the Pi Cars, and have discovered that even though they have a guideline, things are not what they seem. They have had to meet challenges of hardware not fitting right, not working right, and worked together and with Mr. Bianchi to come up with solutions to fix these problems. Some of the work that had to be done has been filing of parts to make them fit, using alternate screws, and even replacing engines with alternate ones to troubleshoot problems.
By this week, many of our students have reached the programming point of the project, and are digging into the code. Mr. Bianchi is working closely with them through this part since our deadline for the Tech Expo is only a couple weeks away. Overall our students are doing well, learning a lot, and struggling through some issues inherent to both a project/process, and with team dynamics.
Post-Tech Expo Update
These teams of students did a wonderful job representing their work, themselves, and our school at the technology expo. They were placed in charge of explaining their assembly and work with the Raspberry Pi controlled cars, and also were in charge of running the race course we constructed for people to participate in. They were able to explain the challenges they faced, and also gave our visitors a first-hand experience with what it is like to drive a car.