Kaminishi Elementary has always had some special events for me to take part in and this time around was the robot experience. We achieved this with some Lego Robotics sets and computers that were brought in by a few guests. There were ten computers, but only 9 students. So, I was able put on my childhood hat and take part in all the fun. There were a couple of different sets that we could build, but our decisions needed correlate with our neighbors. So where across from me a student was building a soccer net and goalie, I needed to assemble a kicking mechanism. The actual task was pretty straightforward, and provided a simple approach to robotics that even small children were able to understand. I would imagine that one could get pretty creative given unlimited time and parts. I did go a little beyond the provided designs to create a few more moving cogs and gears, though they didn’t do anything but drastically up my cool factor and establish my intellect as factors beyond my company. If you ever want to come off as amazing, just adjust your peers to those much younger than you; kids are easily impressed and this should attain all the acclaim one could hope for. Sadly, after an hour and a half of being a happy kid again, it was time to wrap things up and each lunch.
Natsuki and I laying waste to the LEGOs
During this same day, we also had the annual Jump Rope Competition. I had noticed that that kids had been jumping a lot of rope during lunch break recently, though I didn’t realize there was any reason behind it. Last year, the event didn’t fall on a Wednesday, so I had no way to know of its existence.
For the event, the 9 students were split equally in terms of talent and then pitted against each other. In front of a couple proud parents, the handful of teachers and myself, they competed in a variety of contests. First was just jumping as long as possible without messing up. The time for each student was totaled and factored into the final scoring. There were some other generic events like how many double unders could be done consecutively and something to do with jumping backwards. Things got a bit more interesting when they introduced team events. First were relays, where each student had to perform X amount of a certain jump rope skill. The first team that could move all the way down the line first was obviously the winner. After this, we converted to the long jump ropes where we tested how many jumps they could complete jumping all at once. I was graced with the honor of being a twirler for one the the teams!!!!! The final test was to see how many people could pass through the rope in 2 minutes. For this, they made lines and would then dash in and out one at a time. I saw the Guinness Record of this skill broken on Japanese TV recently, so the concept wasn’t too foreign to me.
Here is a video with their warm up, the jump rope relay, and also the teams passing though the rope.
With the competition over, we only awaited the results. I have no idea what their scoring algorithms were, or how they adjusted for the 5v4 offset, but one of the teams came out a few thousand points ahead. So, they received a some ratty old trophy that I had seen sitting around since I started teaching at that school. There were cheers from the victors, a few tears from the losers, and a photo op to seal the deal. Doing nothing but fun activities made for a pretty cozy day.