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Masterclass First Tech Challenge Team at CBIA School

Volunteer Society Nepal, together with the Edulent Foundation has been very happy to receive a First Tech Challenge team. The team is called “We love Pi” from San Francisco, USA. This project aims to get underprivileged kids in Nepal get acquainted with science and technology though LEGO materials. The program started on August 13. They had a kick-off meeting with 15 students of the CBIA school, in Kathmandu Nepal. It was exciting to see how eager they all are. Below you will read some of the updates that the team gave during their program.

Workshop Day 1

After we landed, we met up with Malin and Coach B in Patan and then went to the CBIA. CBIA means Career Building International Academy, the school where we will be teaching for the next week. Here we met the kids we will be teaching this week for the first time! A group of 14 7th graders and 1 6th grader. They were extremely eager to hear what we had to say. We were amazed at how receptive and energetic the kids were when we were interacting with them. One of the most amazing parts of the day today was connecting with the kids in the short time we had. We were using jokes, riddles, and tongue twisters, believe it or not! After introducing ourselves, we asked each other questions about school, what we like to do, favorite subjects, etc. While we were talking we were struck by how open these kids were to us. We were inspired to do our best sharing our knowledge with them. It was humbling to know that these kids who were from the opposite side of the world as us, were not that different from us. They like basketball and cheered for Croatia during the World Cup. They also shared the same love that we do for riddles and jokes! We all can’t wait to begin teaching them tomorrow!

Workshop Day 2

Today was an amazingly fruitful day in our Nepal adventure! We arrived at the school at 9:00, and were surprised to find the campus empty. We realized this was because today was something called a Nepal “banda” or closure. This is a day of closure of all government offices, schools, etc. Because we were doing this type of volunteering, the kids were notified to still come to school. This allowed us to have quiet and quality time with them. We began with a short refresher about who we are. Then Coach B and Coach Q talked to the kids about their own life stories. They started out at a place very much like where these kids were. And ended up as top executives in the Silicon Valley. It was extremely inspiring to see all of these kids’ faces. We know what kind of a profound impact we could have on their lives. We told them that if they worked hard, they could come to the USA and compete as the first-ever Nepalese FLL team. Many of them were excited by this. We hope that this idea will push them to work hard at this and succeed in robotics. We then split the 13 kids into two groups of 4 and one group of 5, and told them to build a moving robot by the end of the day. The three teams also decided on names: the Robo Pros, the Technos, and the Robo Lovers. This gave them a taste of the team spirit that’s omnipresent at FLL tournaments. By lunch, all teams had finished the frame of a chassis, complete with 2 drive motors. After a momo lunch, we were back working to add an NXT brick as well as 4 sensors of each team’s choice. At the end of the day, each team had completed a robot and had coded it. It was amazing to see how much progress the kids had made in just one day. The fact that three robots were made was a real testament to their intelligence and knowledge. It is such a pleasure to be working with these enthusiastic children! Tomorrow, we hope to introduce the project and core values, and work more with our EV3.

Workshop Day 3

When we arrived at school at 9:30, we were surprised to see all of the students lined up in rows. We were told that they have assembly every morning. In this assembly, they do some exercise and sing the Nepali National Anthem. After the 30 minute assembly, we got to work on the project. We began by explaining what an FLL team must do for the project. We shared what the We Love Pi FLL team did as its project for the 2016 Animal Allies season. After that, we challenged them to find a problem and come up with an innovative solution to this problem. After 30 minutes, they had to make a short presentation on their project. Although they had such a short time to prepare a presentation, they presented very confidently. We were all pleasantly surprised by their presentation skills. After the review, we started on Core Values. We described how they are used in FLL and in real life. They were very interested in learning how they can be used outside of FLL. After lunch, we went downstairs to the FLL table. We demonstrated how to debug a program in the EV3. Tomorrow, we will program the robot and we are all looking forward to starting.

Workshop Day 4

Each day, the kids surprise us with their willingness to learn. Today was no exception. After the morning assembly, we began our day with a video call. This call was with the rest of the We Love Pi team, in California. The the California team asked us and the kids some questions, like “What was the kids’ favorite part of the last few days?” The kids answered with ‘collaborating on the project presentation’. Another question asked was “What skill that you have learned in the past few days do you think will impact you the most in the future?” The kids responded with Core Values, because those values are important to follow even outside of FLL. Overall, the video call was very successful. It allowed us to share what we had been doing and learning with the rest of our team. After a short break, we started to teach the kids EV3 programming. With our EV3 robot, we guided the kids on how to make a simple program to make the robot go in a square. Once we were finished with the demos, the kids then split up into their three teams. Each team had a laptop. They were tasked with making a simple program for the robot, to move forward and backwards. We were amazed at how much information the kids retained. We were extremely proud of the kids for learning how to code so fast and for listening to all of our instructions carefully.

Last Workshop, Day 5

We came to school today knowing that it would be bittersweet. We would be happy that we imparted our knowledge onto these kids who were now on their way to becoming a successful FLL team. We decided to start the day with the Into Orbit FLL challenge video, to get the kids excited about what was to come for them. From this introduction of the challenge, it seemed logical to then cover the steps necessary to form an FLL team, as well as when the season starts, what to order, and what the timeframe is for a typical season. After lunch was  one of the most heartwarming parts of the day. The kids blocked us from entering the room, and said they were setting up a surprise. We had no idea what it was going to be. When we entered, the kids had balloons and a cake for us: they had thrown us a farewell party! Not only had they made cards for us, they even gave us little Nepal keychains to go along with them. We were so genuinely touched by the kids show of gratitude and were extremely glad that they enjoyed having us there. After the celebration died down, we continued with our last part of our 5-day workshop: an introduction to First Tech Challenge. By telling them about the next level of FIRST programs, we hoped to have inspired them to work even harder in their current level so that they can excel and continue to pursue robotics. We closed out the week with a recap and a short address by each member of the team and the coaches. By the end of this week, we realized that we had learned as much from these kids as they had from us. They had shown us that every single kid can have the drive and motivation to succeed, no matter their background. They impressed us with their eagerness to learn the content we were sharing and their confident presentation of what we taught them. We ended the day by playing volleyball with them and dancing the Nepali music, which they taught us. We took a final group picture and we were off, never to forget the week we spent in Nepal. We will continue to keep in touch with the kids we met there, and hope to answer any questions they might have when they’re working with the EV3. We are so grateful we got this opportunity to go and share our knowledge with these kids. Thank you to our coaches, the Vounteer Society of Nepal, Lego for Nepal, and CBIA for having us!

Are you interested to bring your Lego League Team to Nepal? Please read more about our project here and apply here.