22 Dec 2004 sgmcclellan   » (Apprentice)

I've been so busy between work, the upcoming holidays and other things that I haven't had time to update the diary, but finally, here it is:

We finally received our robot kits, parts and other software and we have already had 3 meetings. At our first meeting, we didn't have any of the kits, parts or software so I had to improvise using my own materials. For the other two meetings we were able to work normally.

I would say that the children are pretty excited and they are a good group. After the first meeting, we decided to extend the meeting time from 1 hour to 1.5 hours. This will give us more time to work and try things out.

By the end of the second meeting (after we received our parts), the children had made their first robots and would've had them running all over the place except we didn't have our batteries yet. All in good time I guess.

By the end of the third meeting, we had received our batteries and we had programmed one of the robots to actually do something like travel in a square - mastering motor control and timers. We are using the basic tankbot design because it is easy to build and travels fairly slowly.

In meeting four, we are going to take a look at sensors - touch, light and rotation. Once we master those things then the fun stuff will really begin. The children will be turned loose to create a robot of their own design and programming in order to solve a class-defined problem.

The children came up with some pretty interesting problems and I look forward to seeing their solutions. We are going to divide up into teams of 2 or 3 and go to work. This program is so successful that the school has decided to offer a robotics class as a special class during normal school hours. I will need help from another parent or teacher when that happens though because this is not a paid position and I need to keep paying my bills.

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