Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Learning about language through focusing on Coding

Learning about language through focusing on Coding

Learning Coding (a language that enables humans to communicate with and direct robots) can foster insights on English Language and its applications in inter-human communications! In other words, if students learn this new (additional language) of Coding can they understand English better by observing the rules, mechanics, conventions, applications, etc. of Coding?

This would be true of learning a foreign language. Learning French would give a fresh and differently contextualized set of insights into grammar, punctuation, etc.
One VERY simple activity for kids to do based on the above -  after having kids learn some Coding and apply it to a robot project they are working on, simply ask them to reflect and respond to a prompt like “What about the way you used Coding to communicate to your robot gives you an understanding about the way you speak to people when you are instructing them to do something?”

Dr. Rose Reissman (English Language Arts Coach at I.S. 63 - Ditmas Middle School – Brooklyn, NY) adds:

I would pose prompts like these:

-        As you learn the language and conventions of coding, share some mistakes you or your partners make at first with programming that causes your robot to not make the move or do the task you desire. 

Detail the exact coding mistakes you make the consequences for the robot moves or task completion.

-        In what ways do speakers of English or other languages also make "mistakes" in codes which result in actions or answers which do not communicate the information or achieve the action desired.

For example:

A contest in a school for a movie trip that was paid for by the students which promised "3 tickets" after the students wrote a review for the movie.

This was a code mistake by the school since there was only one paid by students chance to see the movie and so 3 free tickets to it would be useless. The intent was that writing a review would get the student blue positive behavior tickets that could be redeemed in the school reward store.

Find other examples of "mis-coded" school or store notices or outside signs and explain the coding mistakes and how the "code" can be corrected.

2. What "codes" play out or are used in friendship exchanges that indicate you've got a friend- List code exchange between you and a true friend that make little actual literal  sense but have meaning to you.  Some of these may have to do with where you come from- such as someone from Brooklyn NY will say:

I got your back-meaning I will defend and side with you
Busting your chops- meaning just arguing to argue for fun -not serious about it

3. Also if you are an ESL speaker, say from a Spanish speaking country-
How is the code of noun verb object different from English-
For example "I have 12 years” in Spanish is great code but in English correct to say "I am 12 years old."

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Robot Explores Glaciers in Antarctica - Great STEM Vido

From my In Box sent by NOVA PBS

Our sponsor DRAPER
Beneath Antarctica’s glaciers, a 12-foot-long robot named Icefin explores places neither boats nor divers can reach.
Icefin is testing technologies designed for exploring Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. But before its successors go into space, this robot has a serious job on Earth: taking measurements from under a glacier so researchers like Georgia Tech astrobiologist Britney Schmidt can better understand how climate change is affecting Antarctica’s vulnerable ice. NOVA’s Caitlin Saks and Arlo Perez meet with Schmidt and her team of young scientists and engineers on the 8-mile-long Erebus Ice Tongue to discover how this robot is gathering data before its “grandkids” leave our planet.

Then, Schmidt, her team, and Icefin head to the Florida-sized Thwaites Glacier on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Thwaites is one of the most remote places on Earth, but this so-called “Doomsday Glacier” is on the front line of climate change. The thinning and melting of Thwaites already accounts for 4% of global sea level rise, and scientists fear the glacier may eventually collapse.

Now, with the help of Icefin, scientists hope to better understand why Thwaites is melting so quickly—and whether it’s at risk of accelerated melting in the near future.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Students Mentor Younger Peers in Student Robotics

Robotics teams continues at Brooklyn's Winterhaven School

It was back in 2007 when a robotics team at Winterhaven School – the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) "focus option" school in the Brooklyn neighborhood – achieved world-wide acclaim by winning the FIRST Lego League International Championships. Many of that team, always known as the "Pigmice", went on to Cleveland High School, and there began competing in the FIRST Robotic Championships.

Now, wanting again to have their own team as they continued to participate in robotic competitions, the students at Winterhaven started a new team, "The Amazing Walri": FIRST Lego League Team #39834.

Among their mentors were some of the members of Winterhaven's original "Pigmice" team, who are now busy in their 2020 "build season" at Cleveland High School – but who took time to help the new team at Winterhaven get started.

As for "The Walri"? Winterhaven team members admit they made up that fanciful pseudo-Latin pluralization of the word, "walrus" (Odobenus rosmarus) – the large flippered marine mammal.
"Our [new] robotics team went to the qualifying tournament at Catlin Gabel School, where we won "Best Core Values" – an award for demonstrating that we work well together as a team, and utilize innovation in our problem-solving," said spokesperson and Winterhaven eighth grader Frances Springgate.

Their "problem challenge" was finding a cost-effective and efficient means of
"improving the interactions between the transport of goods and the movement of people at the most problematic of rail crossings in Inner Southeast Portland" – along S.E. 11th and 12th Avenues. (A software company actually came up with a solution to that vexing problem, as reported in the February BEE.)

"From there, we moved on to the State tournament, held at Liberty High School, in Hillsboro," Springgate told THE BEE. "There, we won the first place 'Innovation Project Award for Research' for our project that we called, "The Crossing Conundrum"," she added.
"This is because we did a lot of research about this problem, including reaching out to both neighbors and experts on the topic, to find good answers and solutions," informed Springgate.
On the State level, "The Amazing Walri" came in 18th place among 57 school teams in the robotics game, after improving their overall score from 220 to 355 points during that competition on January 18 and 19.

Read the full article at its source: https://pamplinmedia.com/sb/74-news/453820-369596-the-pigmice-mentor-robotics-team-walri-at-alma-mater-pwoff

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A Smart, Interactive, Mobile Family Robot.

From my In Box... Looks like a very worthwhile learning resource... I'll be taking a closer look at this one!

-----Original Message-----
From: Misa Robotics LLC
Subject: The Smart, Interactive, and Uniquely Mobile Family Robot.

Smart, interactive, and uniquely mobile -
 Misa can playwith your kids, sense obstacles,
and keep your home safe.

Fully mobile with 4 wheels and a plethora of sensors
enables Misa to travel, learn & interact with the
world around it. Misa’s wheels are big enough to handle a
wide range of flooringand carpets - even thresholds.
Drive System
A powerful, yet quiet, drive train that helps Misa move
effortlessly throughout your home.

Touch Sensor
Misa responds to human touch in a truly personal
way. A gentle tap to the head will make Misa look up
at you and talk affirmingly.

Obstacle Sensor
Obstacle sensors enable Misa to navigate
your house and also stay away from edges and obstacles in it's path.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Robot Dog Is Working on an Oil Rig

Interesting article from Popular Mechanics

  • Spot, the internet-famous Boston Dynamics robot dog, just landed its first job at a Norwegian oil and gas company.
  • The robot will survey an oil and gas production vessel, according to Bloomberg.
  • Since last September, Boston Dynamics has been making Spot available for commercial lease. This looks to be the second organization to take the robotics company up on the offer, after a bomb squad in Massachusetts.

Spot the Dog—the robotic viral sensation known for opening doors, climbing steps with ease, and even taking clean dishes out of the dishwasher—has just landed a full-time gig as an inspector at an oil and gas company in Norway.
At some point this year, the Boston Dynamics robot will begin patrolling Aker BP's oil and gas production vessel at the Skarv field in the Norwegian Sea, Bloomberg reports. There, it will run inspections, look for hydrocarbon leaks, and put together reports based on the data it collects.

Read the full article at its source:

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Clicbot: Fascinating New Robot for STEM Learning

Clicbot looks like it's going to be a great addition to the family of robots kids have access to!

"Clicbot is your family’s newest friend. He listens, he thinks, and he even reacts. His personality is contagious, and his playful design makes him even more lovable. More than that, he’s an engaging teacher that knows how to make learning fun..."