Summer SAVY 2019: Session 2, Day 1 – Programming and Robotics (Ashley G.) (Rising 3rd/4th)
What a wonderful first day! These future programmers and engineers were busy today. We first started off with the “Build up” activity. In groups of four, the students built a small robot arm by matching an already built arm, except they would not be able to see with their own eyes. They had to rely on one partner to run (the runner) back and forth to look at the robot arm already built, and then describe to their teams how to build it. The runner could only describe how to build the arm to their partners. This activity allowed the students to become more familiar with the EV3 Lego Mindstorm we would be building later in the day and throughout the week. And activity allowed us to discuss how robots, such as arms, could be used to help individuals that were unable to feed themselves, type on computers, and more.
Then we jumped into the world of algorithms. Through the activity “Human Robot”, they learned they had to give detail instructions in sequence for the Human Robot to perform task. They were able to tell the robot to turn 90 degrees right, make 180 degree turns, use a color sensor to scan for a specific color in order to move forward and several other commands. They spent time working on their own algorithms, and tested it with other classmates not in thier group. It allowed them to understand how important logic and sequencing play an important role in programming. Additionally the students recognized the programmer gives the robot a purpose, and the instructions to perform a task. It is unable to perform any task simple or complex without a good algorithm.
Soon we jumped into the world of Sphero’s. These little robots are fast and fun. By the end they could code their Sphero’s to draw a perfect square and use loops in their code, so the Sphero would draw multiple squares. They even learned to calculate the distance the Sphero could travel based on the speed and time they coded. Then we ended the day with the first part of building the EV3 Mindstorm robots, and then we introduced the concept of a color sensor, which we will explore in more detail tomorrow.