Monday, October 24, 2016

And Another Year Begins!

The 2016-17 school year is off to a great start with our highest ever enrollment -- over 30 kids at Bath Middle School and 14 at Woolwich Central School. This year, robotics is being held for 90 minutes after school one day per week at each school. After some consideration, we realized that having a longer session just once a week had distinct advantages over two shorter (40 minute) sessions per week. There is a cumulative effect that takes place when one is designing and building creatively. It is literally painful for people to be forced to stop the creative process when they are "in the zone." We have already seen the benefits of the longer sessions play out.

We began the year talking about the different parts we use for building LEGO robots. We also delved into the functionality of the EV3 brick. A virtual scavenger hunt through the LEGO Mindstorms programming environment exposed everyone to the basics of the language.

Once each team built a simple robot with two independently driven tires, we tried our first simple program: move forward, in a straight line, for a set distance. There was an interesting array of solutions to this problem. Some teams measured the amount of time the motors turned, others measured the number of total degrees the motors turned, and most measured the number of rotations the motors turned.

It's very exciting to see all the enthusiasm for robotics this year! This week we are going to challenge kids with another program based on "dead-reckoning." In the near future we will introduce some sensors to take robots to the next level of autonomy!