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Fall SAVY 2016 (Day 1) – Robotic Programming

Posted by on Monday, September 26, 2016 in Grade 1, Grade 2, SAVY blog.

Greetings!

Can I just start by saying how amazing your children are?  They did such a great job today and their discussions and activity levels were terrific!  We are going to have such a wonderful session!

To start, we got to know each other, took a snack break (feel free to send a snack that is peanut free for each class meeting), and then worked on our guiding question:  Why are little things so important to big things?  I purposely left it broad, and they had terrific ideas about how small things like bugs can impact big things like us, how we are impacted by trees and vice versa, how a tooth (small) can have a big impact the way we feel (big), gears (small) have a big impact on things like robots,  and even how it takes lots of small things to make big things.  They were really thinking things through!

Next, we let them look at their robots and try to figure out what kinds of parts they were using to make them.  They observed gears, electronics, found numbers on the actual boards, and were fascinated by how the gyroscope affected the way they roll.  We talked about how we will have to be careful with them, because if those small parts break, it will negatively impact or even break their robot.  We then did an exercise in which they could only do things according to commands and the sequence in the commands – so they were a blank slate like a robot.  They had to be told to breathe, smile, open their eyes, and follow those commands in sequence.  We then applied that to coding and how one command builds on another.  That was when the real fun began!

Students are learning how to write code for their Sphero.  We used iPads to learn how to write the code and then used a virtual Sphero to test their code and see if they were able to get it to do what needed to be done.  They started with the basics and then worked their way up to harder and harder tasks.  The coding that they are learning is a drag and drop system, but they have to estimate the length of time the Spehro moves, turning at 90 degree angles, and including all of the commands.  It does get challenging, and every one of them had a moment of frustration, but by the end, they had all had success and worked their way up.  I was so proud of them!! 

Next week, they will all have a chance to work with the robots and learn how to control them as we tackle some new robot challenges and tasks.

Have a great week!

Dr. Mall

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