“What is collaboration?”
We jumped right in this session with a short lecture delivered by Jenny McQueen on the topic of group work. Answering her initial question, we defined collaboration as successful communication between two or more parties. Teamwork isn’t just a figure of speech or a highly unfortunate task to manage in group projects; it’s evident throughout the modern-day science realm. In 1920, we wouldn’t normally find a paper published by more than a pair. Nowadays, there are articles co-produced with more than a thousand authors! A physics article researching the size of the Higgs boson in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN had 33 pages — only 9 of which described the work itself. The rest listed all the participants and their institutions. Many undergraduates are invited to work on these papers with the intent that they will engage in contributing to the endless scientific database early on. With the Internet, we are ever more likely to interact and create on a global scale.
“What are ways we can ensure optimal collaboration beforehand?”
We discussed about the preparation and mutual consent (about the time and effort) necessary to anticipate a successful collaboration. To test out what we have learned, we were divided into four groups of approximately 6 people and tasked with the Rube Goldberg challenge.
For this assignment, our first challenge was to figure out 10 ways to pop a balloon. As a reward, our basic bag of supplies was given. Answering additional optional questions granted us tickets to help ourselves to extra supplies piled onto a table. Our group invested 30 minutes to brainstorm and sketch our contraption. We worked backwards from there on. (Note: Do not tie strings onto the light holders). During that period, a handful of FSLers received a demo on how to use 3D software such as Tinkerine and Thingiverse to make our own keychains.
After 2 hours have elapsed, we reflected. Only one session remains until the final showcase on May. 11th.
The following is a music video that demonstrates the activity we were working on:
Credit: James Frost, OK Go and Syyn Labs via Youtube