Problem 2 Video

Student and teacher working on robotics project

A Word on Problem 2 – Transcript

Key Moments

1:45: World Finals Examples
2:30: Getting Set Up
4:36: Starting on the Problem
6:37: Video Example – NASCAR Team During a Pit Stop
7:07: Scoring
9:00: World Finals Style Examples
9:15: Outside Assistance
10:07: Troubleshooting — What if Something Goes Wrong?
12:28: Paperwork
13:26: Getting to Tournament

Video Transcript

Speaker 1: Mara Korzen
Hi, I’m Happy. Also known as Mara Korzen. And last year I was the NorCal Problem #2 Captain. And this year I have a Hector, so I am switching responsibilities with my former Assistant PC, who will now be the Problem #2 Captain.

Speaker 2: Cheri Meadows
Hi, and I’m Cheri Meadows. And I’m now the Problem #2 Captain. And we welcome you to Problem #2. We’re really excited to have you here.

Mara
So when I was in high school, I did Problem #2 and Problem #1 and noticed that there were quite a few similarities between the two problems, except in Problem #2, you don’t do a vehicle. Well, you could, if you really wanted to, but…

Cheri
Yeah, you don’t have to. Well, the nice thing, you know, why I love Problem #2, is because it combines the technical side of building something that does something. And then also you get to have the creativity of presenting it in a presentation, and so you get to do both. And so that’s why I really like it.

Mara
Yeah. And my favorite part about Problem #2, is that it sets up our young people here to be future problem solvers of real-world problems through engineering. And also in the environmental problems we might encounter. It really encourages out-of-the-box thinking,

1:45: World Finals Examples

Cheri
So I’m sharing my screen now, I just went to — you can go out to the World Finals website, it’s listed on this page and, see some examples. And so I thought I share a few examples of things that teams have built that ended up going to Worlds.

So this is one example, and here’s another. And so these are the types of things that people have built for Problem #2 to do stuff. And you can see, kids who have gone through the program and are in high school, they actually build some pretty complex things. And so that’s really exciting.

Mara
I could also say, as an all Odyssey problems, it’s important to remember a script. When you put your presentation together, it’s a whole package of different things to do.

2:30: Getting Set Up

Cheri
You need several things as a coach. The Program Guide is available online, and you should read that thoroughly. And then also you need a copy of the Problem, and you need to give that to each and every one of your team members, because they need to understand the problem really well.

Mara
As a former OMer, one thing I remember from the meetings is, having snacks and drinks, and it was always a fun break to take from work. So that’s a great thing for other parents to provide for helping out during the meetings.

Cheri
And you’ll need a space for the team to work — a garage or backyard if possible — or maybe some other space that you have available to you.

Mara
It’s also important to have a space for rehearsals. Some years you’ll have lines taped out on the competition floor and you’ll want to set up a space at home that mimics that. There’s a diagram in the Problem if there will be lines taped out on the floor.

Sometimes the only line taped out is a Staging Area, which is just a place where the team will put their props before the time starts. And then after time starts, they drag all their prop hops onto the floor and start their performance.

Cheri
You’ll also want appropriate safety supplies for your team. They can get these from their parents. It’s really important to be safe.

Mara
And if you don’t have appropriate safety supplies or you simply feel that the team can’t perform certain actions with their tools or use certain methods safely, then ask them to find another way. But don’t give them the answer. They should come up with the method they want to use on their own.

4:36: Starting on the Problem

Cheri
So we recommend that when you start off your sessions, you have the team read the problem at the start of each session, so they really understand it. There are a lot of components, but once you read through it enough times, they’ll really understand it.

The second thing is you’ll want to make sure that they include Style. Style is 20 percent of your points, and so it’s 50 points out of the 250 points. So, you really want to have them know what to do with Style. And there’s going to be a training session on Style, so, watch that and make sure your team members all watch the video, the webinar.

Well at the start of every session, we recommend that you read the Problem through and that you have paper and pencils for the teams to team members so that they can write down their ideas as they have them as you go through.

And it’s important for them to really understand the Problem. It’ll take a while. You’ll be able to tell early on in the process, that time management is really important from two aspects. One is, is that you need to have a schedule, have the team put together a schedule that lays out when they’re, when they’re expecting to have certain things done. And with Problem #2, one of the unique things is you’re going to need a couple of extra weeks for them to go through performance practice and using the things that they build, um, and making sure that everything works and how it all fits together. So, there are a few more components to test. So, you’ll want to make sure that they allow extra time for that. So that’s one thing that’s unique to problem #2.

Mara
Since the performance will be limited to eight minutes, the team needs to practice setting up and their entire performance several times so that they can keep it within the eight minutes.

6:37: Video Example

Cheri
I’ll just share my screen here and show you — you might have them watch something like this so that they can see how team members do different jobs in getting set up. It’s kind of a fun video.

7:07: Scoring

Mara
So when you’re reading the Problem and you get near the end, there is a section labeled D: Scoring. And that is a really great tool to use as a summary or checklist of what needs to be done, because those are exactly the things you’ll be scored on. You’ll know how many points you’ll get for each item, and you can choose which items to prioritize working on that way too.

Cheri
One of the things you need to consider too, is that when you need to kind of guide your team when they’re developing things. There’s a couple of things that can happen when they build things. Uh, one is that they can damage the floor, or it can make a mess on the floor. And either one of those things will end up with penalties for your team. So, one of the things you want to do is to help them navigate through that. And when they’re doing their design and they’re close to finishing up their design, help them walk through those penalties and see if any of those are going to apply because of what they’re trying to do.

And the other thing is, in the Program Guide, you want to look up all the things you can’t do because they’re considered dangerous. Because sometimes your team will suggest them. And you can’t do that.

Mara
Um, if you have any questions at all about any parts of the problem, be sure to submit clarifications online because that’s the way you’ll really get an answer. Be as specific about the team’s problem as you can because the more details they have, the better able they will be to answer your question.

9:00: World Finals Style Examples

Cheri
There will be a Style webinar. You need to make sure that you and your team members view it, and they need to design style within. And so, I thought I’d show a few pictures of different kinds of things that people have done at Worlds for Style.

And you can see how they build it not only just their costumes, but they also build it into the things that they are building. So, they have it for both. And it’s a lot of fun.

9:15: Outside Assistance

You’ll want to make sure that they build and test their things until the team is satisfied with them. This is an area where you really have to be careful regarding Outside Assistance. It’s important to remember that you can have people show how to do things they can learn, like for example, how to use a drill, but you can’t actually use the drill for them to build what they’re building. They have to do that. And so that’s an important distinction between Outside Assistance.

Mara
And the team also has to want to use the drill for the project as well. You can’t point at something and say, why don’t you use a drill for this? You have to let them come to that solution on their own.

10:07: Troubleshooting — What if Something Goes Wrong?

Cheri
Very important. One of the things you’ll need to do too, is kind of help your team think about if, when things break or don’t work, you’ll want to try to lead them into the conversation about what do you do if that happens during the performance. What do you want the team to do? It’s real, you know. Do you let your people who are performing stand and wait while you try to fix the device, or do you keep going, or what do you do? And you can’t tell them what to do or tell them that that’s an option or whatever, but you need to lead them through that conversation so they can see, “What are we going to do if things don’t go quite as we planned?”

Mara
And I have a little personal story on this one from real Finals. My team had a very delicate device that they worked really, really hard to make work, and they got it to work like three times before the competition. But then when we actually got on the floor, they couldn’t actually get it to work. And we could have done this manually instead of having an automatic system for it. And we could have continued with our performance and gotten points, but the guys just kind of zeroed in on it. They got tunnel vision. They wanted to make it work. So, we had this great script for our performance, and I was a narrator, and I just got left hanging there, repeating my last line over a few times, hoping they would notice and say their lines, and it just didn’t happen. That was a very painful performance.

Cheri
So, if you get your teams to talk about that and you kind of look at those kinds of things, if something goes wrong. How are they going to help each other out? How are they going to cue each other? You know that kind of thing. Just help them through that.

12:28: Paperwork

Okay. Another important thing to remember is no job is finished until the paperwork is done. And so, this year, they’re going to have a webinar on the paperwork. It’s really important that you and your team members attend.

The team fills out the paperwork. You can help — parents can help with transcribing if they want to have it typed up and they don’t know how to type, but other than that, the kids fill out the paperwork; the team members fill out the paperwork. It’s important. The paperwork is important.

You might ask, well, who cares about paperwork? Well, the reason why you need to care about paperwork is because the judges read that before your team’s performance. And that’s what guides them in looking for things and seeing when something happens so that they can score it. And so, if you want to get the most points possible, you want to do a really good job on your paperwork so that the judges are well-informed before they start to judge your performance.

13:26: Getting to Tournament

Mara
So when you build these devices at home, they’re safe and sound, and you don’t really have to worry about them when they’re just sitting in one place. But when you move them, and they’re in the back of say somebody’s truck, they might bounce around a bit. And you have to worry about how to keep them from breaking or getting distorted or getting wet sometimes. So, that’s an important thing for the team to consider before the tournament.

Cheri
And you’ll also want to think about what happens if something gets broken on the way there. Should the team have, what supply eyes should they have? What should they bring with them so that they can deal with that situation? You can’t tell them this is what they need to do, but when you’re preparing for the tournament, walk them through what’s going to happen between leaving home, going to the tournament, leaving the parking space, and bringing your things into the thing. Walk them, have them walk through that process, and see if they can discover what they need to do to make sure that their things are safe and make sure that their things are like that. So, help them walk through that process. That’s the way you can get there for that without giving them Outside Assistance.

Mara
The flooring you practice on at home may be different from the flooring at the competition site. This may make your devices fail at the competition. However, if you want to know what the flooring you’ll be using at the competition, you can contact your Tournament Director for more information. Speaking of flooring, different surfaces have different coefficients of friction. This is an interesting physics concept that your team might like to learn. If your team has not covered this in school, yet you can look up YouTube videos about these and other concepts in general. Learning about physics is a great way to build better devices for your team.

Cheri
And remember, there’ll be a webinar available to view on getting ready for the tournament. So that’ll be important for your team to watch, too. On the day of the tournament, you’ll want to make sure that you’re on time for your check-in. You’ll want to make sure that you give your team plenty of time to deal with their nerves, because they’re going to get nervous. So, you’ll want to help them relax ahead of time and allow time for that.

Mara
Some teams have little exercises. I’ve seen like the old shake, shake, shake, shake, shake to get their nerves out. Some teams might find it foolish. Some teams might find it helpful to get into a more free-spirited mind, or frame of mind.

Cheri
And then one last thing that we’d see a lot of is teams, when they do their performance, they don’t face the audience. And one of the things we’d like to encourage you to help them do is, if possible, steer them in that direction.

The other thing is, is to speak up loudly, and let them know that the judges are, are going to be walking around while they’re performing. And that’s so that they can see all of what’s going on, and make sure that they’re doing a great job of catching everything to give your team the most points possible, because that’s the goal. Um, and also for them to comment on various aspects of what your team did that they really like. And so, the judges are going to be walking around to look at that. And I think sometimes kids are a little bit disconcerted by that. It’s like, oh, people are walking around, there must be something wrong. Let them know that that’s happening ahead of time.

Mara
But unfortunately in a Virtual Tournament, judges don’t get to walk around. So, if you are taking the virtual track, make sure you prepare the team to make their objectively scored elements, which are the elements that are listed as zero or X points in the scoring section, make sure those things will be obvious to the judges. Because, starting this year, the judges will only be watching the performance one time. So, it needs to be very clear.

Cheri
Well, we’re really excited to have you with Problem #2, and we hope you enjoy your odyssey through this process. Thank you for your time.

Mara
Yep. Good luck and have fun!

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