Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tech Camp

Okay - I have a whole slew of pics that need to be blogged about. Perhaps I'll catch up tonight!

First up, EJ went to technology camp at her school a few weeks ago. There were supposed to be three classes - video game design from 9-11, robotics from 12-2, and simulations from 3-5. Unfortunately, the third class was cancelled since not enough kids signed up, but she really enjoyed the first two classes, despite being the only girl there. The camp was for kids ages 8-12 and was taught by the middle school technology teachers, so it was nice for her to meet some of her future teachers a little bit early!

For game design, they created characters and then did small programs where they blasted things or worked their way through a maze. She used a program called Scratch, which looks pretty interesting. She received a copy of it as a take-home from the class and has been playing with it a lot this week.

For robotics, they use the Legos MindStorm system. The teacher said that the only goal for their robot was to move an object from point A to point B. He didn't care how they did it. EJ's team's robot is shown below. The tall section in the middle has a conveyor belt on it that you drop blocks onto. There was a little visual scanner (has a cable coming from it on the top), and it scanned the blocks to see if they were blue or red. The red blocks sorted fine, but the scanner didn't seem to be able to detect the blue ones! Anyway, the blue blocks went onto a catapult to be launched (on voice commands!), and the red blocks were loaded onto a truck, which had a weight sensor in it. When it had enough weight, the truck drove away. Very clever.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I have been a very busy non-blogger for the past few weeks. Sorry for the "vacation"! Here's a quick update to catch you up!
  1. June 24 - last day of school. Woohoo! A bit late this year thanks to that miserable ice storm in December. EJ had all As on her report card!
  2. A visit from the whole H clan! K's parents arrived on the 25th (after a small breakdown in the RV just 100 miles away). On the 27th, K and I took advantage of their babysitting services while we dined in the North End and then picked up his brother's family at the airport later that night.
  3. A golden wedding anniversary celebration on Sunday the 28th! My father-in-law finally told my mother-in-law just a few days earlier that they would be renewing their vows. Then, we had a nice family dinner party at a local restaurant.
  4. Two clambakes! One work-related after a large project, and one at our house with the whole clan. I've now fulfilled my lobster-eating quota for the summer.
  5. A horribly rainy June. It rained every single day that the whole clan was visiting. But the Georgia Hs did get to tour Boston and Portsmouth. K's mom and I took the girls to the Boston Children's Museum one morning and then had lunch.
  6. A nice 4th of July weekend with no huge plans. But lots of food. Ribs. Potato salad. Cherry pie. Yum.
  7. A new video game for EJ - she's been saving her money diligently to get a Nintendo DS and finally had enough!
  8. A new TV. A few years ago we downsized from the 27-inch we bought in 1988 to a 23-inch to fit inside our new Shaker-style corner entertainment center. It's had a few "technical problems" that get worse each year. K's dad showed us the 32-inch high-def flat screen he installed in his RV. We loved the picture and went out and bought one that day. Fastest purchase we've ever made. AND it fits into the entertainment center. (The old one was a 23-inch that had 4-5 inch speakers on each side. This one has bottom speakers...)
  9. A frog. EJ got it into her head the other night that she simply must catch a frog. After chasing one relentlessly in the stream in the front yard, she gave up and walked down to the fire pond that night. For you city-dwellers, a fire pond is the countrified alternative to a fire hydrant. The water truck goes to the pump attachment at the pond and fills up, then comes and dumps it on the burning house in the neighborhood. Anyway, she caught a littel frog with the help of a neighborhood boy and another schoolmate. It's in a tank on our porch. She is reminded daily that the frog must be turned loose before we leave for vacation. But now she's named it (Aspen). Uh oh.
  10. Technology camp for EJ at her school this week. She's studying gaming design and robotics. Having a blast. Might be because she's the only girl in the class?
  11. And Sophie, she's as sweet as ever...sleeping like a log now that daycare is open again (they were closed last week for summer break). There is an inground pool there and swimming will start soon (so far, it's just been sprinklers and splash pools for the little ones).