Skip to main content

Robotic Takedown

It's flattering when students think your the best programmer in the world. It's all the more exciting for them when their robot takes the teacher's bot down.

The computer science guys had their Lego Mindstorm NXT Sumo Bot contest today. They had lots of fun and used quite a bit of problem solving skills. I spent most of my time helping them work through bugs in the code, logic errors and figuring out why the robots were not behaving the way they wanted.

My code was the most complex, using two sensors: a light sensor to detect the edge and an ultrasound to sense how close the other bot was. Where I got into trouble was writing a functioning code, but not having a plan to attack.

The next challenge uses the same playing surface, but will have a couple dozen plastic gold practice balls scattered about. We are going to see who can clear the circle of all the golf balls in the shortest amount of time. This is a similar problem for robotic vacuums, lawn mowers and most distribution systems that need to find the most efficient method for covering an area.

Popular posts from this blog

Classcraft Interactive Notebook Page

Finished crafting interactive notebook pages for Classcraft, an engaging classroom management tool.

This fall I plan to add interactive notebooks to my classroom procedures. The goal is to provide students with something tangible to take home at the end of the semester. So that means creating or borrowing resources to guide students in developing their notebook.

Classcraft is a classroom management tool, an elaborate punishments and reward system designed like an epic role play game. Students create avatars and can upgrade pets and outfits based on experience and gold points earned. They can also lose points and suffer minor penalties. Everything is done in a fun, game like environment.

The computer lab is already divided into five or six stations, which lends itself easily to guilds or teams of students who work together in the game. I want students to develop their own backstory and choose their characters for the good of the group. I also need students to keep their login info some…

Exploring Science and Math through Music and Messes

If you have ever seen a music video by the music group OK Go, you know that they enjoy experimentation and quirky effects. Now all that energy is available for teachers in the classroom, with maybe slightly less mess.

In cooperation with Google and Morton Salt, they have produced a set of three STEM related lesson plans complete with tie-ins to their most popular videos. You can get your hands dirty in this wonderful playground at the OK Go Sandbox.

Lego Mindstorm Maze Runner

Students were tasked with writing a program for their robot to successfully navigate a preset maze. This used only directional command blocks (no sensors). The goal was to recognize sequencing, patterns and to become comfortable with testing and making modifications based on test results.