Main Street School fifth-graders – who have been studying about the various genres of robots and examining how they require different inputs and outputs to process instruction – recently constructed robotic testbeds to further understand programming and machine control.
Using the VEX IQ snap-together robotics system in their Project Lead the Way classes, the students built the testbeds and experimented with unique types of sensors and output modes that control a robot.
“These testbed models established the foundations of robot control and helped students understand how to control certain commands of a robot, like turning axles and recognizing colors or movement,” said technology teacher Gwenn Carney, who heads the Project Lead the Way curriculum.
The construction of the robotic testbed project also helped students understand that each model needs a control system, which is called a brain. As students worked together in teams, they concluded that a human programs the brain by using inputs to get a desired output or action.
“They understood that robots can only do what they are told to do,” Carney added. “The purpose of this project was to guide students to understand robotic systems and automation. They also learned about the importance of precise collaboration in their work groups in order for their testbed models to be functional. This construction was the most advanced since their first PLTW experience in third grade.”
This robotic unit at Main Street School is the first PLTW build that required basic electronic facets coupled with sequential programming. PLTW is the nation’s leading provider of rigorous and innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics curricula. It allows students to apply their critical thinking skills and acquired math and science knowledge to real-life, hands-on engineering and technology projects.