Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Region 4 Spring Robotics Pentathlon and Aviation High School Open House

Beacon is providing bus transportation to Aviation HS. We leave at 7:30am. Bring a lunch.

Click here for permission slip for Saturday. All participants must have a signed permission slip to attend.

We have had a slow start developing really good solutions for these events but the team always seems to pull through.
The best event for I.S. 93, as always, is our technology presenation skills. Any member of our team could present and do well because so many team members know so much about the robotic concepts such as gear trains and robust construction.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Gears Again.

Gear trains are essential for designing and constructing robots to perform how builders intend for the robot perform. We come back to this problem repeatedly. Mastering the construction of gear trains comes with lots of practice.

I re-discovered a nice website to help us with this. It is a Rice University site. I like to use these sites because it shows how the concepts of engineering Lego Robotics is not an exclusively middle school or high school problem-- colleges and universities study these problems and provide rich resources for us to use.

See what you think. I believe that you will benefit by reviewing the information on those pages.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Student Blogs Highlight Student Learning

Check the Student blogs and websites on the right. These are my lego robotic students who are begining to blog which means they are publishing what they learn.

I had hoped they would just do it. Some did. Some did not. As this is new ground for me, I am learning that I have to find a way to make what I want my students to do "a must."

Well, now "they must."

Students will begin to migrate their Lego Robotics Journals to on-line publishing.

One way is to write in "Word" and then copy and paste the text to a blog entry. I find it difficult at first, to write the content, and to figure out how to make the blog entries work. Wilson has chosen to use a different page maker.

Advanced features of blogs or other on-line publishing:

  • Embed links and references into the blogs to add definitions and other sources to back up what is being reported or said.
  • Add pictures and photos of your own robots from class instead of copying pictures from the web to illustrate your entries.
  • Add extra sidebar topics by messing around with the html on the template.


Go to the other students' journals and post comments on what they have reported about their learning. This may seem awkward or forced at first until we learn how to communicate by blogging and publishing on-line.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

More Claws, More Journaling

Agenda for the week:
More Claws, More Journaling

Work Groups will continue to troubleshoot their robots. This means the robot must be pretty quick and needs to have a motorized claw that grasps a soda can. These activities always sound simple and are very easy to do poorly.

Here are some observations from last week:

1.) The first attempts of attaching the claws to the robots looked clumsy and did not work very well. That is what I expected.

2.) More students were adding better quality notes to their journals. That is what I had I hoped for.

3.) Many of the robots got very heavy. That was not as predictable but I was not surprised.

4.) The gear trains were designed by using shortcuts. I thought I would see more gear trains designed better because we spent so much time on the dragsters and learning gear trains. I thought groups would use that information to their advantage when trying to design a robot for this task. You earned that knowledge from hard work. This surprised me.

5.) There was a lot of re-designing going on. I saw many more students willing to tear apart what they were building to fix a problem. That is what you should be doing.

Groups should be ready to run their robot and grasp a can by the end of the week.
I would like to see each student start a blog journal so that you can write and publish your work to the web.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Attaching the Claw

This week the activity will be attaching the claw.
In the past few weeks, work groups have been building a grasping claw. Recently, other members of the work groups have been building a speedy robot.

What is next? Of course! The claws need to be attached to the robots.

Make the grasping claws an integral part of the robots. I am suggesting that groups may need to make some slight adjustments to the chassis of the claw or the robot to make a good strong fit. Plus, does it look good? Here are the criteria in Rubric form.

Let me add another challenge to this activity. Do you need sensors to tell the robot that it has touched a cylinder or that the arms of the claw are touching? If so, now is the time to integrate the sensors into the design. Remember our first concept of robot construction? Robust Design. Incorporate that concept now.

If you are successful, you will have a quick, controllable robot that can grasp objects and deliver them to another location.

I am ecouraging students to post comments. Predict what your problems might be for this activity. How does your group plan to intergrate the sensors? How do you feel about tearing apart what you have built AGAIN?