Day 12 and 13: These robots are AMAZING!

Our final days of Summer Academy Lego Robotics are bittersweet. Today, we had time to rebuild or adjust our golfbots to create a new robot. Teams are getting very adept at altering their robots quickly and are showing the capability of designing parts of their robot on their own.

The First Tech Competition team “Spontaneous Construction” demonstrated their robot today.

Thursday, we will say, “Goodbye” to our bots as we disassemble them and inventory our kits. This is a big day and a sad one as the teams have really become attached to their bots.

We will have one more robotics team (a FIRST Robotics Team), this one from Irondale HS, visit our class to demonstrate their robot.

Day 11: Day 2 of Mini-Golf

Our second group went to mini-golf at Moose Mountain Adventure today and it was another great day for golf! We don’t have any hole-in-ones to report, yet all had a great time! Check out the pictures below for today’s golfers and their engineers.

Back at school, we redesigned our robots. Stay tuned for a Rubik’s Cube solver, more robocross and possibly a couple of stair climbers!

Tomorrow we are looking forward to a FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team’s robot demonstration. Your child is eager to show off their robot at tomorrow (Wed.) evening’s open house from 6:00-8:00.

Footage of some MiniGolf bots in action: Day 2 of Mini-Golf.

Day 10: Mini-Golf Day 1

On this rainy Monday, our enthusiasm stayed strong! Half of our teams loaded up their golf-bots and headed to the MOA Moose Mountain Mini-Golf Course and put in a round. Our robots were the golf club. As you can see from the photos, some bots hit the ball while other pushed it through the course. All robots moved in autonomous mode (ask your robotics engineer for more information on that), so teams programmed their robot with different movements to meet the various challenges on the course.

Day 9: Mini-Golf Preparations

We had a very productive day as teams prepared for mini-golf next week. Teams need to build a robot that can move the ball; the robot is the golf club. Another requirement is that they need to program their robot to golf using autonomous movements. They need to write programs so their bot has a long-distance, short-distance, and other types of ball movements. The groans were loud from many who had built remote controls in the last two days, yet they can go back to remote control after golfing.

Families have been emailed about which day their child golfs next week. We will be back before our usual noon dismissal. Golfbot are packed and ready to go first thing Monday morning. Those golfing on Tuesday have chosen to make many changes to their robots and will be busy finishing programming Monday.

Day 8: New Robots Emerge

This day, after a mini-build challenge of “Build a Cartoon Character”, teams started to create their own robot for robo-cross or golf. It is exciting that every team finished the maze challenge early and had lots of time to be creative with their robots.

This morning, we had 6 teams battling for high score in robo-cross and more teams may challenge later next week. After lunch, teams turned their planning and programming to mini-golf. Parents should have received an email today regarding which day (Monday or Tuesday) your child will be going to mini-golf. Students also were told in class. No need to send money to mini-golf, we will be leaving MOA about the time they open.

Below are several of the robots built today, more will be posted tomorrow.

Day 7: More Sensors and LOTS of Robo-cross rebuilds

There as a flood of accomplished challenges today, which led to 8 teams starting to build a robo-cross bot. When teams finished learning to program the ultrasonic sensors and get through those challenges, they have moved on to robo-cross. Up until now, everyone’s robot has basically looked the same. As teams brainstorm, design, and build their robo-cross bot each bot is taking on very different looks. Teams that have not quite finished the ultrasonic challenges are still in a great place! Robo-cross is not a “must do” activity, though it really lets teams show their engineer and design skills.

As teams move into designing their own robots, the teamwork is so encouraging to see – teams helping teams! Learning from each other and knowing how to teach each other is a powerful skill for success!

Tomorrow is our last extended day, with a 2:30 dismissal. It sounds like the rain is going to hold off until later in the afternoon, so we are planning to walk to the park again. We have ordered the same number of lunches for tomorrow. If students have made any changes in their plans, we will have plenty of lunches for everyone.

Speaking of food, the concession stand will be closed this Friday (June 21), so we encourage students to bring their own snack that day. There will be no opportunity to purchase snacks this Friday.

Looking ahead to next week, we will share the list of which days each team is going to mini-golf by the end of the day Thursday. We have asked students who know they will miss Monday or Tuesday to let us know and we will plan accordingly. On the day of mini-golf, the teams will load the busse and depart by 8:30, play golf for about an hour at the Mall of America course, then return to Columbia Heights HS by 11:30. It will be an exciting morning. We have also confirmed that the Irondale HS FTC Team is coming to demonstrate their 2019 robot on our final day of Summer Academy.

The vacuum cleaner challenge!

Teamwork – the rebuild
Teamwork – the programming
Teamwork – Teams helping teams.

Day 6: More Sensors and RoboCross Rebuilds

Today was a sunny day outside and a day that tested our perseverance and troubleshooting skills inside the classroom.

We started the day building a animal out of Lego to share during Inspiration time. Then we watched videos about Artificial Intelligence and had a lively conversation about whether the robots were thinking, feeling, or just responding to programming commands.

Students are now all fully working with their robots’ sensors, completing the Vacuum Challenge (video of that will be available tomorrow), and the Maze Challenge (video below). A few teams have started to build the robo cross bot.

We will work on robo cross up until lunch break on Thursday. Then, we will introduce mini-golf and teams will work on switching their bots one more time – into golfing bots! More on that tomorrow.

Programming for the Maze Challenge
The Maze Challenge using ultrasonic sensors.

Day 5: Moving in a Different Direction

A week into class and we have creativity, ingenuity, and… Robocross!  After a week of honing programming and building skills, students have moved beyond the teacher driven challenges and are letting their imaginations reign.  Bots are humming, singing, and talking, gaining remote control abilities, and getting ready to scoop things up. We look forward to the rest of the week! To learn more about what Robocross is, check out this video demonstration from a Science Olympiad

It is a good day to shout out to our TAs. This group of assistants help students with their programming, set up the challenge fields, and give advice for how to fix programs that don’t work the way they planned. Thanks so much!

Lego Robotics 2019 Teaching Assistants.

Day 4: Movement and Turns!

This week the students worked through a number of challenges that increased their ability to build their robots and program them to accomplish a number of tasks.  This was not always easy – the engineering design process requires lots of trials, testing, and reprogramming.  We ended the week with many teams accomplishing the “The Orchard Challenge” where students need to program their robots to drive through a “field” and not “run over the trees.”  Here are some video showing some of this and other challenges.

In the Orchard Challenge, robots need to move through the “orchard”, turning between the trees, without running over any trees. LOTS of tight turns and precision programming!
Dizzy Drill Challenge incorporates several turns with move forward commands.

Day 3: Our First Extended Day

Today, students learned about engineers and the engineering process. We learned that almost 1/3 of the Lego Robotics class has a relative or friend who is an engineer!

As work progressed today, everyone completed at least 2 of the programming challenges! We focused on using the engineering process of identifying a problem to be solved, exploring options, selecting a course of action, testing it, and continue to improve. Team work is going GREAT thanks to everyone’s willingness to meet new people and jump in to a partnership.

We walked to a park for lunch and fun and games. The weather was perfect for eating outside and using the playground and playing tag. Check out some of our work today., including a video of the Dizzy Drill.

The Retrieval Challenge required programmers to make their robot move ahead 50 cm, drop the arm over a block and drag it back to the starting line.