Over the last few years I have enjoyed learning ‘some’ coding and robotics skills. I find the students soon over-take my level of competency, but that’s great! I’m always looking for opportunties to learn more and I was able to attend Modern Teaching Aids PD on LEGO Mindstorms EV3. EV3 is the third generation Mindstorms, it follows on from RCX and NXT. Find out more here. I have mentioned NXT a number of times throughout this blog, and after our involvement in First LEGO League last year when two weeks before the competition my wonderful High School colleague, Tim, brought an EV3 over from the High School to use! I felt I needed to upgrade too!!
Joanna Burk from Modern Teaching Aids ran a fun and very informative session on building a basic model robot using the EV3 brick and sensors.
The session started with a fabulous activity to demonstarte how ‘different’ we all are, each participant was given six pieces of LEGO to make the famous ‘duck’ (first LEGO construction toy) …so many designs were made! Many commercial LEGO products come with instructions …but they don’t need to be followed, the same applies to the robots, creativity and imagination adds to the excitement of robotics!
A little time was spent on exploring the EV3 brick and navigating the interface. Then it was accessing the software and learning how to program to make the robot move. All the LEGO educational software with tutorials and instructions are available free on the LEGO education site. Coding the robot is a simple drag and drop, similar to Scratch, however it can really stretch students (and me!) when writing algorithms to perform multiple tasks. It is a lot of trial and error, maths, logical thinking, problem solving, persistance…..and fun!
Below are some videos of different challenges; stopping the robot before it goes off the table! Using colour sensors to follow a black line. To complete a challenge of navigating the robot to start with the touch sensor, to stop for a pedestrian crossing using ultrasonic sensor and then follow the road to arrive at a garage and reverse in!! Heaps of FUN! Especially working with the wonderfully talented Lynette Skeers, who works with Anne Weaver, from All Hallows’ School….they are both amazing!