A (very) short two months later, a robot was born and I had identified the six stages of mentoring a FIRST team:
Stage One – The elementary school dance: The high school dance is a ubiquitous analogy. Students and mentors grouped around a room, mostly keeping to the relative safety of our individual peers. Some brave students and mentors came together to dance around the topic of what the heck this robot was actually supposed to do...and how?
|Quanser's engineeering and production mentors helped the project get off to a great start, |
laying the foundation for the students to build on.
Stage Three – Shock and awe: This stage was the real turning point for the mentors, and to a certain extent the project overall. As the students got down to work, we mentors started to realize just how talented, bright, and capable they were. I will never forget walking into the shop on a Saturday afternoon to help get the control system up and running, only to find out that it was already pretty much complete. As our confidence in the students grew, and the students’ confidence in themselves was reinforced, the project really took off as the students began to invest their hearts into the project.
|The students quickly took over the project, |
while the mentors stepped back into a supporting role.
Stage Five – Pride: As the robot came together and “bag day” approached, I was really struck by the overwhelming pride I felt in what the students had achieved. I think that the team did an amazing job, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.
|The students eventually took control of the project and became fully involved|
in the construction and design of key elements of the robot.