Opinions on an Optional Club Curriculum

Hey all,

I’m now a mentor for the robotics club I just graduated from, I wanted to make a video curriculum that our club could hold onto and use to supplement club members’ learning in a more tangible way for those who aren’t in the robotics class at our school (which is most). I put together a list of the topics that I thought would be good to teach in different sections (Programming, CAD, General Concepts, Design, Building). I was also planning on making a few additional problems for each lesson with guided videos if they get stuck, and set up an LMS like gradescope to grade them automatically.

I have three questions here. First of all, are there any topics that you guys think are important and applicable for VEX students to learn that I could make a video on? Secondly, I’m planning to make all this stuff public. Is something like this anything you guys would be interested in? Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I just spent a few hours putting together a script of sorts for a physics lesson video, but I’m wondering if I’m wasting my time here.

I would describe myself as someone who is more passionate about learning than most, and I think robotics is a great way to introduce physics to some of these kids. However, I don’t know if high schoolers would be interested in spending time learning optional stuff. As well, I feel like most of this stuff is used pretty sparingly (if at all) in VEX. The video I’ve put together just covers four points: what is physics, position and its derivatives, vectors, and 2D kinematics. To be fair, much of this lesson is building blocks to start talking about force (I was going to get to force, torque, energy, and momentum in two later videos). Do you think it’s worthwhile to make these materials? Do you think the kids will actually benefit from it? Do you think any kids might actually take the time to watch the videos (they’re between 5-10 minutes)? I definitely think physics has been useful to me in VEX on occasion, but I’m not sure if it’s enough to warrant putting in hours to produce these optional materials for students.

Thanks all!

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In my opinion, I would say that it is worth it. Some students will have the drive to learn, and to have that in place would most definitely be beneficial. For the ones that don’t use it, it would only be their loss. Even if these things they will learn are only used sparingly, they are still used and if they decide to go into a STEM field, it will probably work to their advantage especially in engineering. My dad is really into engineering and physics (he’s a mechanical engineer) and has been teaching me about engineering as well as physics and I find both those very interesting as I would also say that I am very passionate to learn. All of that is to say, go for it. It will most probably pay off, even if only for a handful that cares to learn more.

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Hi, I am glad to hear that you want to make videos for Vex! I suppose I have a few video ideas which may be useful for you to cover, public or otherwise. (this is a long post, so my apologies)

(I am a programmer, so this is mainly programming stuff)

One thing that holds a lot of newcomers back for my club is that we use GitHub to keep track of our code on a remote repository, but GitHub is fickle for a lot for newcomers, especially to people with little experience with computers and using the terminal. I suppose one good tutorial would be just a tutorial on the basics of programming, including getting the PROS IDE (among others such as vs code and atom), making a project, and using github so that you can pull, commit, and push to remote. Especially for newcomers, this would speed up the process a lot of finally getting their hands on code and working with it!

Another good idea for newcomers is just a general tips video, in which you can include timestamps for short little tips that don’t warrant a whole video on their own but you can cover in 1-2 minute bursts in a video of maybe 5-10 tips. You can cite your experience with Vex to make your video credible.

I also don’t see too many videos about okapilib if you used that with your team. This can really help your team, as well as many other teams using okapi, since the documentation can be a chore to read through at times. In this, you can just walk through their clawbot tutorial on their website, giving insight if you have experience with programming.

You can also make an advanced skills tutorial (or tutorials) about PID, odometry, and the like, and there are lots of videos for you to reference, but not a lot dealing with Vex explicitly.

I think that all of these are very useful for a Vex student to learn. Hopefully, they have a senior member in their club willing to help, but not everyone does, meaning that they have to comb through documentation to try and learn these topics, when it would be great if they can learn it with videos directly related to Vex. These are a lot of ideas, and you don’t have to cover them all, but this is just my two cents. I hope that this was at least somewhat useful! Good luck!

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Thanks! This response makes me think it’s definitely worth while.

I definitely want to make some video about the more advanced programming topics since no one in our club really knows they exist! GitHub and IDE usage is also probably necessary first, of course, and I’ll definitely want to make that.

Thanks!

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Yeah, I’m learning those topics on my own rn and it’s an experience haha. I think this is a great idea, and look forward to what you put out, for I will likely find it useful as well!

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I think this is a great idea, I think any people that are interested in improving their team would definitely take the time to watch these videos. I would say it would be useful to teach the physics topics even though they aren’t necessarily a VEX requirement. For other topics that might be good to cover could be things like, how to scout properly and how to have an effective interview.

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