Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bonus Essay by "Dancing With The Pen II" Contributor Ryan Wu

Today we continue our Dancing With The Pen II blog tour with an exclusive extra essay by young writer Ryan Wu, whose short story "How Earth Came to Be" is featured in the book. Order a personalized copy of Dancing With The Pen II: a collection of today's youth writing here or on Amazon here.

My Awesome Experience With TRACK3R 
 By Ryan Wu 

When I got to my friend Shawn’s house, I was already excited because Shawn had some really cool things at his house to do. When he showed me his TRACK3R, it took my excitement to a whole new level.

It all started when we ate dinner with Shawn’s family. I asked my mom if we could go to Shawn’s house. She said, “Yes, but you have to check with Shawn’s mom.”

So I asked Shawn’s mom. She replied, “Sure!”

I was so happy, my head almost exploded. I love Shawn’s house because it’s spacious, and Shawn has tons of fun stuff to do, such as video games and Monopoly.

After dinner, we went to Shawn’s house. Shawn said, “I have something to show you.”

Shawn is eleven years old, and he is tall and likes cello and basketball. I followed him upstairs to his room. The first thing I noticed was the big obstacle course mat.

“What’s that for?” I asked.

“You’ll see,” replied my friend, pointing at the shelf.

On the top shelf was a brand-new Lego Mindstorms EV3 TRACK3R. It was white with gray and red plating, with tech-looking graphics. It looked like a Mars Rover with treads. The main computer was in the center with right, left, up, and down buttons. A motor controlled the attachments, and wires were woven everywhere.

Trying not to leave my jaw hanging I said, “Oh my gosh! Where did you get that!?”

Shawn explained it was a birthday gift from his parents. He had done nearly every program, and demoed them for me. There was a rotating blade, a claw arm, and a ball shooter. I was fascinated. He said there was one more program left to do, and asked me to help. I never turn down an offer to try something new, so I said yes.

The new program had a hammer attached to the motor. The TRACK3R randomly hits while shakily driving in a circle until it detects movement behind it, turns around, and hits pretty hard behind it. We programmed on Shawn’s laptop using a programming website he downloaded, built the attachment, and plugged in a USB cord connecting Shawn’s laptop and TRACK3R to download the program into the robot. We tested it and we were successful!

“Yeah!” cried Shawn. We then played with it for a while. Later, we went downstairs and played Mario Kart for hours until I had to leave for home. Best day of my life!

I believe that every kid should get the chance to experiment using a TRACK3R so they can learn the art of programming and have fun. I personally liked the experience because it engaged my curious nature. I first got hooked on computers and programming when I went to the Maker Fair, a fair of tech that travels around the globe. I got so hooked I started down my path of coding and programming. My main goal is to become an inventor and patent my own creations. I want to create inventions that help people in their everyday lives.


Ryan Wu lives in Pleasanton, California with his parents and younger brother. He is ten years old and enjoys playing soccer and four-square, building Legos, camping, skiing, and drawing. He also plays the piano and violin, and loves technology. Ryan has traveled all over the world.


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