This year I’ve used LEGO Mindsrorm EV3 with my Year 8 students for the first time, and it has been a learning curve! In November last year, myself and our other Year 8 teachers attended an introductory course for the robots. The course was good but then I didn’t play with the robots until January and I’d forgotten most of what I’d learnt. Then it was time for me to write a program for teachers to follow. The introductory course I attended didn’t give us a program to follow it was just a range of different tasks/challenges to explore during the workshop. So I sat down and started to map out what I wanted my students to achieve.
On the technical side, I wanted students to design, implement and modify programs using branching and iteration. On the skill based side, I wanted students to seek solutions and put ideas into actions, consider alternatives and apply logic and reasoning. Furthermore, I wanted students to develop collaborative skills, to work in teams and develop some sort of sense of perseverance or ‘grit’.
To achieve this, I needed to structure the program so that it progressively gets harder in order for students to build upon their knowledge and understanding of their previous task. I did a lot of research and came up with the program below which you can download from the bottom of this blog.
Important things to note:
- Do not give students an instruction manual or go through all the features of the software. Guide students through the installation of the software, how to create a simple code (ie forward movement), rename the program file, connect a robot to a device using the cable and how to download a program. Then show them how to access the program on the brick and run the program.
2. Give them a few simple tips
– Before you run a program on the brick, make sure that it is disconnected from your computer
– Ports are important
– If the brick flashes green when you run a program check your ports
– The large button on the top left of the brick, I call it the emergency button as it will stop running the program when pressed and your robot will be still 🙂
3. Upload your tasks to some sort of platform so that students can access them. This will enable students to work at their own pace.
Some work samples:
My program isn’t complete yet! I am trialing new tasks using more sensors and more complex tasks this semester, I don’t want to blog them until then.
However, when we finished the touch sensor task we did divert from my planned program. My class really wanted to build and do some creative filming with the robots. So I split my class into two teams and they built elephants. Well, they tried. We failed. When they tried to program the elephants, one of the elephants kept on loosing its legs and the other’s trunk kept on rolling up and crunching! The girls were so disappointed as it took them a long time to build as a team but they learnt a lot along the way about team work, collaboration and persistence.
Feeling their pain, I took the injured elephants home and asked Zac (my 17 year old son) to fix them. He rebuilt an elephant for me, I let him have a day off school to do this, good compromise, win win for all ;). He also built a Snap robot for my class. Then my class programmed them.
Later I held a STEM robotics day for girls at my school. I selected students from grades 5 to 9 who share a common interest in robotics. The girls worked in teams to build and program a range of different EV3 robots. Below are two examples.
Resources to download: Please note, credit to Sanjay and Arvind Seshan. My resources may be downloaded and used, for non-commercial use and must not be uploaded to any other website (download from this site only). Thank you for your consideration and respect, share and share alike 🙂