TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introductory Robotics / Pre-Engineering, Using LEGO® WeDo and Mindstorms

National Robotics Week

This lesson was created using the Nortel LearniT 6E + S template for integrating technology within the curriculum.

Overview:
Build a robotic machine to sort M&Ms, Jelly Beans, or Lego Bricks by color. This is a fun, two to three week project that involves engineering, physics, science, math, writing, and programming. You need or will acquire a solid grasp of the programming language RobotC. You need familiarity with solving problems with robotic devices designed and built from Lego kits. Watch the video below for inspiration and a glimpse at other students' solutions to the color sorter problem.



Technology Integration:
This project uses advanced, programmable, logic bricks that integrate with lights, sensors, motors, and computers. The project requires supplies from ?, and requires the optional ? software. Students will apply basic math and science skills, learn computer programming concepts, will write about their project, and exercise oral presentation skills.

Teacher Prep Time:
Depending on your skill level and familiarity with Lego and RobotC, you might require up to ten hours to develop a working proficiency at a level that allows you to facilitate students’ solutions to this problem.

Estimated Time for Completion:
Sixteen to twenty classroom hours is sufficient time for most students to complete this project.

Materials:
One ?per two to three member team. This project assumes you do not have access to the 8547 MindstormsNXT Kit, which comes with a turnkey color sorter project. One ? license is required for each computer used in support of this project. If you decide to sort M&Ms or jelly beans instead of lego bricks, be sure to procure an adequate supply. Students tend to eat them. NO Peanut M&Ms!

Project:
As the title suggests, this project is about designing, building, and programming a machine to sort objects by color. The objects to be sorted could include M&Ms (a student favorite), jelly beans, marbles, Lego bricks, or other similar objects. Successful completion of the project will result in a machine that accurately and reliably sorts the chosen objects by color.

Assessment:
A?. It is a Google Spreadsheet that you may use directly in Google Docs. It tallies the grade as you assess indicators. Alternatively, you can also save the template as an excel spreadsheet. The evaluation tool or rubric, Robotics Project Evaluation by Art Searle is licensed under a?.

Engage:
Start by dumping a large quantity of M&Ms or jelly beans onto a table or floor. Several large bags should be sufficient to illustrate the need for a automated solution. Facilitate a discussion on the futility of sorting the material by hand. Begin brainstorming about real world solutions for automating the task. This is a great time to use real world examples (such as this youtube video) of high tech equipment used in similar projects.

Explore:
The best resource for developing the skills required to conquer this challenge is from
?. At thei CMRA site, you will? that you simply could not duplicate on your own. The RobotC curriculum for teaching Tetrix and Lego Mindstorm is an unequalled differentiated instructor's dream, containing sample rubrics, excellent video tutorials, quizzes, and PDFs for a variety of learning styles. Be aware that the site is not OER, but contains copyrighted material, so you are not free to remix and reuse. The web based resources are available at no charge, and if you would like to procure the content on CD, you may do so for a nominal fee.

Explain:
Start with small steps and mini labs. Students need to develop the following skills, all of which can be cultivated by text, images, video, and quizzes in ?.

  • Start RobotC software
  • Download Firmware to the NXT brick
  • Basic programming concepts
    • Basic syntax
    • Program structure
    • Motor control
  • Looping
  • Control Structures
  • Sensors (Making sense of sensors!)
    • Touch
    • Light
    • Sound
  • Variables
    • Storing information (Someone or something has to keep track of the M&Ms!)

Identify the lesson goals for students in each of the sections, Fundamentals, Setup, Movement, Sensing, and Variables. It is not necessary to build the exact, suggested models in each step, but students should build a device that supports the goals of the section. Instead of building the ‘bot’ with a bumper/touch sensor, students may expedite the process by connecting motors and a touch sensor to the NXT brick in a fashion that will allow them to demonstrate mastery of the concepts presented.

Elaborate:
Successful completion of the color sorter project is a highly rewarding achievement for students. The project can also be maddeningly frustrating, causing anxiety and sweating (literally) as a natural competition between teams evolves. You will need to coach reason, discipline and patience, and be a fount of encouragement and good cheer. Demo day is a prime day to invite your building principal or superintendent to observe or participate in the evaluations

Evaluate:
On final presentation day, students are allowed a finite time (five to ten minutes) prior to their presentation to setup and test run their equipment. Next, students conduct a formal presentation that takes audience members from initial concept, design, implementation, troubleshooting issues, programming, through revisions. The project culminates in a live demonstration.

Extend:
? has an interesting section on creating reusable code blocks (functions) that everyone and particularly your more advanced students should be encouraged to consider. By building discrete functions, programmers can make the tools to build 'human language' programs. Consider the following sample from ftctemplates:

task main()
{
DriveForward(12*2, 100); //drive forward 2 feet at 100% power
TurnLeft(90, 50); //rotate left 90 degrees at 50% power
DriveBackward(12, 100); //drive backward 1 foot at 100% power
}

In the sample, self documenting terms like DriveForward and TurnLeft are used to point to more rudimentary and obscure commands. Without the use of reusable code blocks like functions, programmers are left to grapple with more abstract terms such as those shown in the following sample:

task main()
{
while(nMotorEncoder[motorB]< 720

{

motor[motorB] = 50;

motor[motorC] = 50;

} }

As you can see, native code looks a little more foreboding, with esoteric terms like motor encoder, and nondescript names and numbers such as motorB, and 50. Building functions with names identifying their purpose such as goforward, backup, and stop may ultimately make projects easier and quicker to develop.

While the? site is relatively modest, its code samples are helpful, and are covered under the?.

Standards:
This project meets allows students to demonstrate proficiency in the following Common Core Standards:

W.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

W.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

W.11-12.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

W.11-12.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

SL.11-12.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.

SL.11-12.4 "Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.

SL.11-12.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

L.11-12.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.11-12.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

RST.11-12.3 Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.

RST.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11–12 texts and topics.

RST.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.

WHST.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.

WHST.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

WHST.11-12.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

WHST.11-12.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

N-Q.1 Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays.

N-Q.2 Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling.

N-Q.3 Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities.

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