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Summer SAVY, Session 2 Day 3, Programming and Robotics (3rd – 4th)

Posted by on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 in blog, SAVY.

We read some exciting news in the SAVY Business Journal (our classroom overhead) – our eight startups combined talent and resources to form a new company focused on research and development: SAVYbotics. The purpose of this exercise was to provide an opportunity to apply teamwork strategies to a new dynamic. As a class, we discussed ways to make teammates feel valued, identify both our own and others’ strengths, and ways to ensure every voice on the team is heard. We also discussed leading by example and being a good peer mentor. 

Today, our newly formed company explored autonomous driving machines. We began with a simple driving base and learned how to execute controlled movements (e.g., straight move, point turn, curved move, turn with sensor, drive in a shape). We then conducted experiments to see whether wheel rotations, motor degrees, time, or distance in centimeters provided the most accuracy. 

Next, we added arm sensors to our driving base to drive around and avoid obstacles. We used estimation to stop at an object and the distance sensor to detect an object. We used our observation skills and learned there is a tradeoff between speed and accuracy. This project allowed students to exercise their math brains as we interpreted statements of inequality. We then combined control structures including nested loops and compound conditionals to develop programs that kept our minifigure passengers safe, all while retrieving packages from the “fulfillment center” floor. 

During our snack break, we watched a music video by the Swedish folktronica band Wintergaten on YouTube. One of their members, Marten, built an amazing musical marble machine. The children were mesmerized. With the permission of their adults, they can learn more about Marten’s design process and the many iterations and tests he conducted here:The Wintergatan Music Box – Now For Everyone! ( 

Tomorrow, we will learn about biomechanical engineering! We will compare and contrast two grabber devices and then choose one to iterate using the engineering design process to make a new and improved prosthesis for persons with upper limb reduction. 

Dinner table questions:

  • What types of sensors does a robot vacuum use?
  • What is the best path to ensure the entire floor gets cleaned?
  • What are other examples of autonomous driving machines? 

See you tomorrow!