Friday, November 8, 2013

Robotics, math, and programming

Started the class on Lego Mindstorms this week.  Their first challenge was to program the bot to move in a straight line from point A to point B, marked by tape.  I asked them lots of questions about how they are going to know how to program the bot, how far to make the bot go and how they would program distance to be traveled...

Before you knew it, they took out rulers to measure the total length between point A and point B.  Once they had that figured out, they had to think about how to translate that into the program.  They had the options of:  time in seconds (which they were tempted to choose), rotations, degrees...

Here's what happened 'in their words'...

"So the boys wanted to choose 'seconds.'  I chose 'rotations' because you can't always rely on 'seconds.'  So when you're using rotations, you would measure how much one rotation is and then measure how much it is in inches or centimeters.  When we did that, it was easy to mix them up and we did.  The robot traveled about a half of the length of the course and then it just stopped.  We realized that we measured the circumference of the tire in centimeters, but then measured the length of the course in inches, so when we programmed, it went only halfway.  When we measured the circumference of the tire in inches, we got it go exactly the amount it needed to."



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