[Lab] This week's mod lab: I'm bringing the robot I use to teach 10-14 year-old kids
michaelsepa at gmail.com
Mon Aug 13 08:25:25 EDT 2012
This week I'm going to bring to modlab the one of the six simple robots I
use in my ABC class to teach kids (10-14 years) about robot building. The
basic robots have an Arduinio board, two drive motors, a motor control
H-bridge. During the 6, 1.5h sessions I have the kids add some LEDs,
photosensors and bump sensors to 'discover' the world. My current approach
is ordered around 5 goals
1. Getting the Arduino working & basic programming
Goal: flash the built in LED
Result: LED flashing at different rates, some flash morse code
2. Getting the robot moving by understanding the H-bridge and the 2 motor
Goal: Drive the robot forward, backward and make turns.
Result: Robot drives in set patterns on the floor.
3. Getting the robot to sense obstacles
Goal: take the feedback from the bump sensors and change the robot's
Result: Robot detects obstacles and works its way around them
4. Getting the robot to sense light
Goal: have the robot change movement when light is sensed (or not
Result: Robot can be steered by a flashlight (while still avoiding
obstacles using bump sensors)
5. Getting the robot to follow a line
Goal: Use the photocell to sense dark/light on the ground to allow a
robot to follow a line
Result: Robot will follow a line in a jerky manner
Naturally, by the 3rd goal many kids realize all futher goals can be
inservice to a robot combat.
The programs been run for a number of years, but during the first couple
sessions the kids are hard to enagage because they can't really see where
we are going. I show them the final robot on the first session, but they
are understandably impatient to get to the end.
I thought it might help if I were to knit the steps into a better narrative
(maybe tie it into the super exciting Curiosity Rover) and am looking for
ideas. I'd like to spark their imaginations a little more.
Any ideas on improving my approach are appreciated.
Looking forward to this week's modlab.
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