Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

Anyone Teaching Robotics?

Posted on: June 2, 2009


robot-starwarsI’ve been searching for a curriculum and some ideas for teaching robotics.  I’m looking to build a course that is half a year of robotics and half a year astronomy.

I haven’t found very much so far.  Some stuff at Carnegie Mellon and constant links to Lego products, but not much else.  I’m looking to make this an elective the following year and I need to start figuring out how I’m going to make this happen.

Some of you must either teach this course or have someone in your school who teaches this course.

I need some help please.

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20 Responses to "Anyone Teaching Robotics?"

I taught a class this year where some students used arduino’s to build robotic devices (mostly rovers- one that was a line follower and another that used infrared to drive autonomously….to some extent :)

The arduino is easy to use, has a great programming environment that helps kids learn c, can be easily interfaced with sensors, motor/servo controllers, and has a nice price point.

Check out http://www.arduino.cc or http://www.sparkfun.com

There’s not much on curriculum at either of those sites, but the arduino site has lots of sample code.

Jeff

You might also want to look at the Parallax website. Their robotics with tht BOE-BOT is usable in the classroom and was designed to be a robotics learning course. You can download the text to see what the curriculum looks like.
The BOE-Bot is listed at:

http://www.parallax.com/Store/Robots/RollingRobots/tabid/128/CategoryID/3/List/0/SortField/0/Level/a/ProductID/296/Default.aspx

Look near the bottom of the description for resources that can be downloaded.

hello, i am into education and looking for starting to teach robotics in my school.
also forming/composing a draft syllabus.for the same.
would really love to know who all can help me in finalising the same.
any inputs shall be of great help.
thanks a million

arun

we have some kids using the Pitsco robotics lessons and materials.

Update – I contacted my Lego rep, he sent me a sample and all the software and curriculum I needed. My son and I played with the NXT for a little while. It’s really pretty cool, we’re going on vacation this week and I’m going to take it along to program and play with during down time. I took it into my principal over the summer and showed her. She took one look at the simple program I had in there and said, “We are so getting this!” Yes, it helps that she’s a nerd too. The challenge for our school is the computer for every two kids. We’ll figure it out, but the whole curriculum and software package is extremely well done. I can’t wait to try it out with my classes.

I am a high school robotics teacher in Austin, Texas. We use VEX (http://www.vexrobotics.com/) kits and Lego MINDSTORMS in our robotics class. Both of these kits can be scaled to use in grades 5th – College. You can get additional software for the LEGO besides the NXT G but the NXT G software is very easy to use and the kids have a blast with it. Carnegie Mellon offers several different curriculum guides to use with Mindstorms as well as VEX. Another kit it the PITSCO Textrix Robotics Kit. It can be used in conjuction with the LEGO MINDSTORMS.

I post interesting sites and news from time to time on my blog.

tats cool, may i get some materials n projects of robotics? my id nayazbsc@gmail.com

I’ve been working on this same question for a couple of years, so here is my 2 cents worth. The NXT-G programming and MIndstorms kits are pretty basic and not what I’d call high school level. I’ve been using it for years with elementary and middle school students, but it doesn’t begin to address more realistic programming and robots at the high school level. The TETRIX-based platform with an NXT processor brick that uses NI’s LabView programming software is the ticket for a couple of reasons. #1, the kit itself is more in tune with real world applications without being “over the top” for most students just getting started with more complex robots. For example, use of servos, motors, sensors and microcontrollers all makes sense since those are all around us these days. #2, LabView is a real world programming software that is accessible for most students. But again, all there is out there is too spread out to find and assemble into a syllabus, or it is meant for college students.

The problem is there is no high school robotics curriculum published with this in mind, which is a huge bummer. The university systems across the country and companies that produce these materials need to put their heads together and develop a syllabus and instructional resources like they did for Mindstorms, but at a high school level. The VEX system had its flaws, but there was at least a bare-bones curriculum for it. Whoever develops this high school robotics curriculum first is going to make a huge pot of money, especially with Obama’s call for increased STEM education last month.

Marc,
I start teaching the Lego robots right after Christmas break. I will have some feedback on them in the next couple of months. I don’t disagree with your assessment of the level of the Lego robots, however I don’t believe the course is really about the robots. It is about using a hands-on engineering environment to teach problem solving and logical thinking.

I can tell you, for my 12th grade students, these are the right level. If you read through some of my past posts, I talk about the poor academic level of most of my students. My honors class isn’t really an honors class with the exception of a few students. Perhaps one or two have any kind of programming experience, and those are mostly HTML, not structured languages.

Still, for those that can put together a class of AP level students, the Lego may not be the way to go.

I am trying to put a robotics curriculum together for 6-8th grade kids using the NXT-G and Mindstorm kits and graduating towards the Tetrix with the NXT kitds. If someone has a similar curriculum and is willing to share the straw man would me I would be very grateful. Thanks

You can take a look at our curriculum. Product previews can be found here:

http://www.education.rec.ri.cmu.edu

We do offer TETRIX curriculum as well as NXT, and VEX curriculum.

Here’s a link to our online store is here: http://www.robomatter.com

Thanks, I didn’t know this site was out there. I really like what I see, we are going to purchase one or two of the summer camp curriculum. It turns out the response to the Lego robots has been outstanding and this summer I will be teaching one week of robotics at the local community college and two weeks at my school to bring in interested middle school students.

Wishing I had found you sooner. Our robotics teacher on campus (Mr. Hoss McNutt) was honored this year to be the runner up in the Great American Teacher Awards http://www.ronclarkacademy.com/great-american-teachers-awards.aspx (he’s the guy on the right w/ the big smile & the red tie). I don’t exactly know what curriculum he uses but I can tell you he’s AMAZING. Our website is http://www.summitcollegiate.org/ and you can reach him through our staff directory. He’s a wonderful fellow & I’m sure full of info that can guide you on where/how to get started. :)

I am teaching at Santiago Canyon College in Calif. I have an introduction to robotics programming with the lego NXT class going now. Students are going crazy!!.. I am developing a course for Applied robotics & Embedded Programming. Feel free to use anything you find on my site.

Select “My Courses” then CS157.

Ron, your stuff is great. I will be in contact to discuss ideas and to steal as much as possible, you are my hero right now. Thank you so much.

Ron’s page is here:

http://www.rkessler.com/CS157Robotics/robotics.htm

Hi Scott,

I am so gald someone looked at all my stuff!! I re-organized things yesterday to make the lessons flow better. I have 5 challenges that teach “behaviors” and 4 new activities which focus on specifc programming techniques(loops, variables, etc). I made several ramps, buildings, elevators, bridges, and a maze for students to practice on. It is a 3 hour class..they come early and stay late. It has been a very rewarding experience. Four of my best students are entering the Imagine Cup competition! Too cool!

Ron

Scott,

One more thing. The NXT’s can be programmed using a version of C called Not Exactly C (NxC). It has a very nice interface and let’s us make very serious apps. There is also a new JAVA programming option I just saw. The NXT has two CPU’s and does a whole lot more than people think. With the other languages, it is more than most of my college students can handle.

Scott,

My second robotics class has been approved and we have a new certificate in Applied Robotics & Embedded Programming. It covers electronics, the Boe-bot and Windows embedded.

I’ve been teaching two levels of semester-based high school robotics and engineering for a couple of years. The intro level is based on the Lego NXT kit and focuses on scientific principles of robot mechanics, sensors, NXT-G programming and logic, and the engineering process. The advanced level is based on FIRST Tech Challenge using Lego kit, TETRIX components and National Instruments’ LabVIEW programming. It goes much deeper into mechanics, programming, electronics, use of sensors and the engineering process including keeping a detailed engineering notebook. The curriculum is loosely based on Carnegie Mellon’s Introduction to Mobile Robotics series. If you have access to Rubicon Atlas, my course curricula are posted there for educators to view or obtain and adjust according to your own curricular needs. If you do a search for “robotics” in Rubicon it brings up the curricula designed and shared by another U.S. teacher as well.

Mark,
I’ve been campaigning for semester electives, but we are a small school and scheduling half-year courses is really difficult. I’m moving my course in exactly the same direction as yours. We are working with NXT and CMU engineering software right now. I just put in the PO for a First Tech robot. We are going to play with it this year and compete next year. In fact, I just went to one of the competitions this weekend to see what it looked like. With two of these classes next year, the plan is to have two FTC teams competing.

I don’t have access to Rubicon, is it possible you can email the curriculum?

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