Friday, November 19, 2010

Robotics Class and Great Resources

I teach a Robotics Elective Class to 6th graders at our school. The class lasts one trimester and we meet once every six day rotation for 40 minutes. This is my second year to teach this to every 6th grader. Previously, it was an after school enrichment class option for students. I work at an all boys' school, so needless to say, Robotics is a class they all enjoy.

We use LEGO Mindstorms Robot kits. I did lots of online research and thought I was teaching it ok-at least for being self taught.
Then, the power of twitter came to my rescue! @damienkee saw a tweet I sent out about a Robotics question and we started a conversation. Basically, I was frustrated that the robot in the instruction book that came with the kit took at least 4 or 5 class periods for my students to build due to time restraints. That left only 3 classes left to program (last year, we were on quarters, not trimesters.) Damien told me that I was building the wrong robot and sent me this link to one of his website on robotics to build a smaller robot that would only take one class period.
I printed the directions for my boys and on the first class, every group except one finished building the robot. I was overjoyed! We had 10 weeks left to program....which leads me to a resource that you should really consider purchasing if you teach LEGO Mindstorm Robotics.

Damien shared 3 books with me that he has written. Here is the link to the books.
The one called Classroom Activities for the Busy Teacher: NXT has great programs in it for you to share with your students to help them understand what all the commands in the programming software do. It seriously took my Robotics class to another level in a short amount of time! I realized that it was exactly what I needed to help the students create programs to really get their robot working at a new level! This site has a video of some of the programs for the robots from the book as well as a link to download some sample lessons.

Here is also the link to Damien's main Robotics website.

1 comment:

Damien Kee said...

Thanks Cindy for the great write up.

If anyone has any questions about robotics in the classroom, please don't hesitate to contact me!