Sunday, February 26, 2017

21st Century MIddle School STEM Learning - Obstacle Course Robotics Challenge

"Do something, Sense something, Do something else!"

 The video below is one of a body of videos uploaded by teacher,
Ian Chow-Miller
of Frontier Middle School in Washington state. The students are 7th graders in his required Introduction to Robotics class.

I gave a very short introduction in how to use sensors with the ultrasonic and color sensor. I did not go very in-depth, just covered the basics and let them explore and figure out the rest on their own. I did have them memorize my mantra of "Do something, sense something, do something else." This helps them remember that you have to make a robot stop after the sensor sees a wall or a line. Too often they think seeing the wall is enough. They forget to remember the robot is human and can only follow exact orders.

When we begin I have the tables set up. They are whiteboards so that taking notes on the table is easy.

I use colored electrical tape, a few megablocks and that's it. Students have to start on one end and their grade is determined by how far they get and how many sensors they use.

I have a "wall" for the ultrasonic sensor, red and yellow tape for the color sensor, a drop-off where they can use the color sensor in reflective light mode, several turns where they can use the gyro, and at the end they have to stop on the third of three green lines. This adds an extra challenge if they've already figured out stopping on a color. Finally if they finish, they had to use the medium motor to make an attachment that could knock the final block off. 

Though I gave many hints, I didn't initially tell the students which sensors to use where, I had them figure it out as they went along. In three class periods, most students got up to or completed the third green line.

As a bonus I had students document their work with the iPads and then edit together a movie about the process from beginning to end."


@coachchowmiller on twitter and Instagram

Here's a link to the playlist (Ian’s Robotics Class Videos): 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Wonder Gears Looks Like a Good STEM Resouce...

It's not robotics, but there is much in the way of Science (Simple Machines), Engineering, Math (if kids are guided and challenged to see and analyze the things they create  mathematically)... Extend this into LEGO Robotics and the full STEM continuum would be there (T = Technology)...

Students tackle LEGO Robotics Obstacle Course to Learn STEM

This group handled the obstacle course like a boss. To get full credit they had to use the color sensor in color mode and reflective mode, they had to use the gyro sensor to turn, they had to stop on the third green line at the end and they had to knock off the block with a medium motor appendage of their own design.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Developing Student Creativty: Make ‘mistakes’ part of the creative process

FROM:ISTE Connects 2/10/2017 

Make ‘mistakes’ part of the creative process

The phrase “everyone makes mistakes” has a unique meaning for retired educator and ISTE author Mark Gura. Rather than just a cliche, he see it as an entry point for bringing creativity, and a new way of thinking, to literacy lessons.

“Mistakes are a valuable tool, rather than something to be avoided," Gura says. "They should be celebrated and folded into the learning process.”

In the bigger picture, this different way of thinking about mistakes will also help teachers bolster a culture of creativity in classrooms.
One way to do that is to turn a string of assignments into one cohesive project, with a beginning and an end. That appeals to students more than “an endless parade of activities,” Gura says.

Here’s what a poetry project might look like:
Gathering feedback. As students write their poems, have them seek advice from classmates. “In a classroom with a strong culture of accepting mistakes, we can share our work with others and rely on them to provide feedback,” Gura says.

Reflecting. Ask students to journal about their poem and write a formal assessment where they identify areas of improvement. For instance, they might explain that they are not happy with the overall direction or a certain portion of the poem.

Rewriting. After journaling and reflecting, students can return to their poem and rewrite it based on feedback from classmates and their reflections in their journals.

Gura suggests students create several versions of the poem, saving all versions so that “the creative options are visible, able to spark further ideas and able to be manipulated.”

Presenting. Students present their finished poems to an audience. “The wonderful thing is that this can be an ongoing circle of readers, writers, creators and collaborators,” Gura says. “Creativity is a process-oriented phenomenon. We’re not just dropping seeds and sprinkling them. We can scaffold this for students, showing them a process-oriented approach.”...

Read the full article at its source:

Make, Learn, Succeed Building a Culture of Creativity in Your School

Make, Learn, Succeed Building a Culture of Creativity in Your School
Develop Student Creativity - Topics: Curriculum, Robotics, STEM, Project-based learning, Personalized learning, Maker movement (click on cover image for more information)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Stylish Little Robot for Kids and Others...

"Piaggio Gita is Your new Robot Friend That Follows You Around"

"The company behind the iconic Vespa scooter has decided it was time to focus on other means of transportation, unveiling this stylish little robot, that could be your personal helper in the near future. Called Piaggio Gita, this cool robot is the first of its kind, a two-wheeled machine that’s able to track its owner and roll along behind them. But when you take a closer look at its top, you’ll have a real surprise, as a lid flips to reveal a storage bucket for cargo. With a carrying capacity of 18 kilograms, Gita is designed to operate on a human scale, and it will definitely prove in handy when you’re out shopping or traveling somewhere.

The electrically powered droid is also capable of operating autonomously in a mapped environment, so it can perform deliveries and pick-ups on its own..."

Read the full story at its source: 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Student Robotics Team Battles for World Title

Vermont student robotics team to battle for world title

"RUTLAND—A Rutland area robotics team will be headed to St. Louis, Mo., in April to compete in the FIRST® World Championships. FIRST sponsors robotics and technical competitions for students at all levels. The Robo-Rattlers compete at the FLL level, where students aged 9 through 12 design, build and program a LEGO robot to complete missions autonomously on a 4-foot by 8-foot game field.

Each year, the program has a new theme. This year’s theme is Animal Allies. Robot tasks this year include: gathering and moving food to feed animals, transporting a shark tank, operating a milking machine, and hanging the robot on a wall. Teams also investigate and create a solution for a real-world problem related to the theme. The Robo-Rattlers tackled the problem of pets left in hot cars and designed and manufactured a cooling system that closes into a car’s window and runs off the car battery. The system texts regular temperature updates to owners and even sends warnings if the temperature is rising too high.

The Robo-Rattlers are the first Vermont FLL team to attend the World Championships. The iBOTS, another Rutland team competing in FRC, the next level up, attended the World Championships last year. The Robo-Rattlers have appeared on WSYB on the Kenn Hayes show twice, and they have a show on PEGTV called “Robots on the Radar.”

The Robo-Rattlers have competed at the FLL level for four years. Currently, there are nine kids on the team from all over the Rutland area. Through this program, they have learned computer programming, engineering design and construction, electronics, public speaking and presentation skills, leadership and teamwork, and other essential life skills.

Scott McCalla, one of the Robo-Rattlers’ coaches, said that he’s excited to see the kids experience the global scientific community at the World Championships. “It will be so great for our kids to meet and learn from so many other teams from all over the globe.”

Karen McCalla, another coach for the team, says that the experience will be priceless. “It’s so exciting,” she said. “There is an Innovation Faire at the Championships that features tech demonstrations and hands-on activities for the kids, so they’ll get to see cutting-edge new products, meet with real-life robotics engineers and scientists as well as learn about potential career paths. This is so much more than just a competition!”

“The kids have worked really hard and it’s great so see them grow so much over the years that they have participated. Public speaking, project planning, working with a group, what FLL calls ‘core values,’ are such great skills for all these kids moving forward no matter where their educational and work paths take them. These are the ‘soft skills’ that every employer and college looks for,” said Randal Smathers, a parent of two children on the team.

“I love working on the project because creativity is a specialty, “ said team member Samantha Merrow, age 12. “It allows for hands-on fun while inventing and learning about various interesting topics. It makes your brain think in different ways and gives you opportunities to gain information on topics you might not have been exposed to before.” ...

See the full article at its source: 

Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

LEGO Robotics for 3rd Grade Hands-On STEM Learning

Tri-State students learn through play


Hundreds of elementary students in South Gibson Schools are playing during class time.

They just started a Lego Program. It's part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math initiative.
We caught up with kids at Haubstadt Community School who were learning about pollination. Teachers tell us they try to match the projects to follow their curriculum.

"It's so fantastic. The software is easy to use and what's even greater is the kids love it! They just absolutely love anything hands on." says Third Grade Teacher, Mrs. Bengert.

Each kid gets a lego set.  All of this was made possible through a $7,000 grant by the Gibson County Foundation.

Read the full article at its source:

Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Student Robots to Learn to Code With Emojis and Express Themselves Visually

I LOVE this approach to making student robots expressive... and why not add a 2 Dimensional Element to the 3 Dimensional Robot? This approach (and we also see it in the Peeqo robot covered a few posts ago) seems to me to make for a wonderful resource to pull Visual Art/Visual Language into Student Robotics, handily fleshing STEM out to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Math)! :)

COJI Robot Review, Learn To Code With Emojis, Programming Robot From WowWee

Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Creative and Expressive Student Robots

Got this good material from BirdBrain Technologies in my In Box recently... I like BirdBrain's approach as it seems to me to strongly encourage and facilitate the Creative/Expressive aspect of Student Robotics. 


Check out these new interdisciplinary classroom projects with the Hummingbird and Finch!
  • Opera Bots: Students at Springdale Junior/Senior High School in Springdale, PA created robotic dioramas to demonstrate their understanding of Giacomo Puccini's opera, La Bohรจme.
  • Design Thinking and Robotics: At St. Anne's-Belfield School in Charlottesville, VA, students used the Hummingbird in a design challenge focused on the needs of a student with cerebral palsy.
  • Writing and Robotics: This summer camp at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro enabled students to write their own fiction or nonfiction work and then design and build a robot based on their writing.
  • Games with the Finch: Students at Buzz Aldrin Middle School in Montclair, NJ used the Finch to create their own board games.

Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

GIF Robot for STEAM Learning

Here's a simple approach to highly expressive robots that teachers and students can take some inspiration from and run with... A great crossover between Robotics and Art; true STEAM Learning - ScienceTechnologyEnigineeringArtMath

"The Peeqo Robot Communicates Using Only Animated GIFs"

"Who is Peeqo?

Peeqo, a cute desktop robotic assistant, communicates using animated GIFs. Abhishek Singh designed Peeqo for his thesis at ITP.

“Let me begin by telling you three things that I really love,” said Abhishek to as he kicked off his thesis presentation.

“The first thing that I really love is building things by hand,” he said. “I also love animated movies,” he went on. “And the third thing I love, which you’ve probably figured out by now,” referring to the screen behind him that has been displaying a variety of short looping videos to illustrate his speaking points, “is animated GIFs… these simple looping images that can communicate anything from emotion to information.”
So Abhishek combined all three of his loves and created an assistant to keep him company while he works. Abhishek sees Peeqo as a cross between Amazon Echo and a Disney character..."

Read the full article at its source:

Robot Hands and LEGO Robotics

"A grocery store is testing squishy robot hands to pack its bags"

"We’re getting really close to completely automated deliveries.
Ocado Technology, the research division of Ocado, a large UK online grocery delivery company, today showed off a robot concept that it has been working on with a range of European universities and Disney Research’s Zurich office. The robot is essentially a soft, malleable hand attached to a relatively standard industrial robotic arm that can be used to grip produce without damaging it...

...Ocado said in a blog post that it’s still developing its idea... this technology has massive implications for the possibility of robotics to displace aspects of the human workforce, particularly in the logistics industry.

The last few years have seen all sorts of projects and research undertaken to simplify and automate much of the labor-intensive work of packing, loading, and shipping goods to people. Amazon employs nearly 270,000 people across the world, the vast majority of whom work in its warehouses preparing orders to be shipped to customers..."

Read the full article at its source...

Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!