While running your own program often presents itself with a number of challenges and unexpected happenings, I can’t adequately describe how much fun Dave and I have had building BSE.
But before I get to the fun stuff, there are certainly a number of challenges we have faced along the way. Every week Dave and I spend several hours on the phone just discussing the program – we talk about administrative stuff (space, insurance, etc.). Which schools should we present to? What should we present to students? How tough do we make the application? What are the most challenging projects that can be built in 6 weeks? And many more…
However, the real fun for us is meeting the students and teachers. Everyone loves the “wow” effect. But what gives us that effect? It’s simple. We thought of everything we could do to make the program intellectually challenging, but we didn’t stop there. When we conceived the program, our primary goal was to balance the intellectual with the “oh, that’s really cool” factor. See, it may be difficult to build a light organ or electroluminescent wire, but when you build it, it works, and you can explain all of that, then it becomes “pretty cool” (and well worth the effort).
I still love the reaction when Dave pulls out the light organ. I pull out my phone and always in the back of my mind, I think “I bet the kids think I’m actually standing here in the front of the room and I’m about to send a text to my friend”. Wrong. I’m about to give the light organ some dance moves. I start playing some hip hop from my phone and the light organ starts dancing to the music.
Sometimes the students “ooo”, sometimes they “ahh”, but mostly they just kinda stare – How does it do that? The best part? That project is where you start. We can do a lot more than just making light organs.
But this is what BSE is about. Figuring it out, building it, and then being able to tell everybody how you did and how it in fact “does what it does”.
Lastly, we enjoy BSE because it belongs to the student. What do you want to build? We think certain things are interesting, sure, but BSE is your chance to master something that you find interesting. Dream big! Let’s see what we’re capable of!