We are also working with NXT Mindstorms. Students are learning by starting with basic challenges. The first one was to have the robot travel in a straight line for a certain distance. Now they are working on having the robot travel in a square...
"I think robotics is fun and interesting because sometimes you need to guess and check and other times you need to figure it out. You need to really make sure everything would be perfect because if you put one piece of program that doesn't work, you could make the whole thing not work. For example, if you made it turn too far by accident, you will make it go in a triangle shape instead...so it would have been successful if we were trying to get it to make a triangle, but we weren't."
"I think robotics is fun and challenging because it's not like you just go to the computer and say, "OK robot, you have to move in a square." You really have to plan it out. One challenge we are facing with the square challenge is we are able to make it go in a straight line, but how are we going to make it go in a square? We know we're close, but we wonder how we can change our program to make it go along the edge of the carpet rather than onto the carpet and knocking over water bottles."
"I think it's fun and interesting because it's not something you do for just one day, but it takes a while and a lot of thinking. Sometimes you don't get it right the first time and you try it again, and it's still not right. You have to be very specific. You actually have to program it. You have to actually think and divide to get the certain amount of rotations."
"Robotics is not only about training a robot. It really trains your thinking, helps you learn math, science and using technology. Sooner or later, who knows? You may be controlling one classroom-size together. Working together, with a friend, you can overcome any challenge."
"I have an idea how we fix it - if it's going in a triangle, we just add a straight line and a turn to make it go in a square."
"We used 'human robots' to plan it out. What we mean is we used 'us' by moving around to see about how many rotations it would be and to see what direction we should program the turn. Our feet are not the size of the wheel, so it's approximate, but we can figure out the right amount by testing. One plan we have is to make the robot go one rotation and then measure it and then change it to the number of rotations we need to make it go in a square."
"We can plan and map it on post-its and follow clues and steps that we found out earlier to figure out the 'question mark.' For example, we need to figure out how many inches is one rotation to see how many inches the robot needs to go."