North Albany Academy students visit RPI

Categories:  Fellow Alumni: Chris Shing

I know a post has been in a long time coming.  Since I last posted we went through a series of iterations on the RPI environmental sensor, went through 2 workshops, developed an activity with the Smart Lighting Center, tried a robotics activity, worked on a LED light town & weather sensor activity, and organized a field trip.  Of course, not all of those activities and planning turned out the way I wanted.  Of all of the above, I’ll start with the field trip and hopefully work my way backwards to give you information about those.

This field trip seems to be a culmination of two weeks worth of planning and one long night preparing.  At first Kerry and I hoped to plan a trip where the students visited labs and saw how research was used and provide the students an opportunity to visit a college campus if they have not before.  However, I did not for see the difficulty in putting it all together.

Getting the various groups organized and figuring out who would play what role was the most difficult part.  However, I’d have to thank Ken Connor & Elizabeth Herkenham for pointing me in the some good directions and giving me contacts with regards to the planning, admissions & room booking.  I’d also like to thank Ron for giving me suggestions to about places the students should visit, student volunteers, and how to excite the students.

Truth be told, one of my biggest fears was while working with Ron I didn’t have a finalized list of activities for one section until the Friday before the field trip (the trip was on a Monday).  But in the end we got enough people and more than enough activities to get the students involved in a lot of projects.

One of the best moments I had in the planning phases was shopping for folders.  At the last minute I’m standing in Walmart and find out that they don’t have 24 red folders, but they have 12 orange folders.  So picking that up helped me to divide the groups.

One of the strangest moments I had was feedback regarding the agenda.  The agenda in its last form was an attempt to appease all of the different parties who both had input and wanted input on specific times.  So though I had a short version defining what I expected to be going on at a given time, I decided to break the agenda into even smaller time blocks.  The surprise for me was several people had told me this agenda appeared to be one of the most organized agendas they had seen, so it made me happy.

The field trip turned out really well, despite my worries.  I am putting together the feedback I received from the students and, with Vicki’s help, I hope you will see all of the documents related to this trip soon.

To the students that came, I am really happy that you liked your visit.  While every day in Mrs. Welcome’s Science class can’t be this fun, with the right balance of time and responsibility on both our sides, we are working bit by bit to take these fun ideas and bring them to our classroom.

Best, Chris

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  1. Triple Helix » Blog Archive » Field trip to RPI

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