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Summer SAVY Session 5, Day 2, Programming and Robotics

Posted by on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 in blog, SAVY.

Day 2: Today these programmers learned that their job isn’t always creating new technology. They became aware that a big part of their job description is fixing or “debugging” programming problems. We started the day reading more of Peter Brown’s, The Wild Robot Escapes, to put our brains in the futuristic mindset of the world of robots. 

While learning more about coding, we leveled up with a lesson on looping actions that we need our robot to perform. A loop is the action of doing something over again or a synonym of repeat. We looped code together instead of repeating the steps over and over again. First, we investigated this process with an unplugged (no technology)  activity. Programmers wrote code to build a model of stacked cups for their robot friends to follow. Instead of repeating the same steps, they problem-solved to loop them together to save time. We pushed ourselves further by trading our paper codes with other teams to decode any problems. We were introduced to new vocabulary and new blocks to use while coding. These new skills were transferred to the platform where the programmers identified repeating patterns with multiple steps and applied nested loops within our programs. But we didn’t stop there! These programmers learned to draw with their characters as we focused on measuring angles in degrees and measuring movement in pixels.

Continuing with our theme of robots in the workplace, we studied new technology.  We watched a video of a robot in Singapore that picks up an ice cream cup, pours a perfect cup of ice cream, adds toppings, and places it on a tray for pickup. To study this robot system, we completed a systems chart and found the inputs, elements, interactions, and outputs. The best part of the discussion was when we answered the question, “How could sensor data be used with “AI” to avoid a mishap?” These programmers brought lots of excitement and critical thinking to what mishaps could occur and how “AI” could solve them.

Our day concluded with the best part: building our robots. Teams used all of their concepts of inputs, elements, outputs, coding, engineering, collaboration, perseverance, and all other things mathematics I forgot to mention, to construct a human-like robot. I am so proud of how much our team-building skills have improved in just two short days together. They progressed much faster through the building process than the day before. These robots take time to put together, but they are still very focused and excited!
Tonight ask your programmers:
  • Why do you need to know angle measurements to code characters to turn?
  • What is a nested loop and how does it help you while programming?
  • Why is it important to know how to “debug” programs?
  • Why is it important for programmers to persevere?