Friday, March 14, 2014

If She Can Get Over Her Fear Of Robots

This past Friday Dave e-mailed me that his company was involved in a "Women In Science" presentation at one of the universities in our city. We thought it might be a neat thing to do with the kids so I called ahead to see if it might be appropriate. The person on the phone said that, while it was aimed at older kids, there might be some interesting things for our kids too. We checked it out on Saturday afternoon and there was so much to look at that, in the two hours we were there, we made it to four (out of around twelve) stations.
This was a demonstration of different cranks made out of paper, as well as tricks our eyes play on us. In conjunction with this exhibit was a harmonograph, which according to Wikipedia, is a "mechanical apparatus that employs pendulums to create a geometric image." It was really neat to watch and Sam and Rachel each got a drawing.
Then we went to check out the exhibit put on by Dave's work. The idea was that kids could design their own apps but Rachel basically decorated a "phone for Funny Bunny" and one of Dave's co-workers introduced Sam to Scratch, a kid-friendly introduction to computer programming. Dave and I talked with his co-worker and her husband, who is from New Zealand. We found out some insider tips for our trip -- getting to see a waterfall where baby seals hang out -- yes please! Also, swimming with dolphins is now on my list of things to do!
Next to that exhibit was one featuring Lego Robotics. This was right up Sam's alley. He loved getting to steer the remote control Lego vehicle and I enjoyed talking to the person in charge about the various camps they offer. We might send Sam to one of them next summer because I think he would LOVE it! I just wish we could sign him up for Brick Works Academy this year but unfortunately he is too young still. Rachel enjoyed playing with Snap, The Lego Dragon.
When I called to find out what this demonstration was all about, the women I spoke with mentioned there would be a robot there. Sam was super-excited about this possibility, and Rachel, who has seen Franklin's Robot and is freaked out by it, was quite nervous about it. Eventually she warmed up to it though and we spent about half an hour playing with Nao, the robot.
Nao can sit down, wave hello, do Tai Chi and Namaste, go for a walk, and talk.
At one point, Nao went for a walk and Rachel got freaked out, ran away, and climbed on a chair.
And then this happened...

The purpose of this event was to showcase women in science and provide role models for young girls. I think Rachel would make an excellent scientist -- she is curious, stubborn and doesn't take no for an answer. She just may have to avoid robotics as her field of interest :)


  1. Go Rachel! We need more women in science, I think. ;)

  2. Awww poor girl!! Robots can be creepy!! :) Looks like a fun event!

  3. Isn't if funny the things that can scare little ones? My almost 3 yr. old has no fear 95% of the time, but then something like that happens and it just makes me wonder. Looks like you all had a great time! :)

    1. We did have a good time. And you are so right about it being random things which can scare the kids. They aren't scared of things I expect them to be, and then they are scared of the weirdest things.

  4. I love that event! Young girls these days definitely need more positive role models! There have been so many great women in science (i.e., Marie Curie), and it is definitely a noble field for Rachel if she chooses! :-)

  5. How much fun! The video is so cute! I love Rachel's little jacket and hair ties. =)


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