We had our conputer lab transform into a new shared makerspace studio. Above is a video my colleague recorded. It shows our first group of students, our kindergarten boys, playing and learning about the Cubelet robots. As we were still waiting for our new furniture, we were able to get beach pillows for our students to use. And, we love our new hardwood floor!
Our 8th graders brought out the school’s first quadcopter (QC) on its first test flight. Inside the safety of the little greenhouse next to the science lab, the QC went airborne for the first time! All went well, until they lost control and it started to fly away on its own! It seems that the QC is pretty powerful and the controls are very sensitive.
Kill Switch Now!
In the brainstorming session before they flew the QC, the boys smartly programmed a safety kill-switch to make sure that if something like this did happen, it would land safely and away from harm. Luckily, no one got hurt and all is well.
Yesterday, I’ve shared with our 5th graders their long awaited Lego Robotics project. Time was the biggest factor of trying to get the kits to the class during their Mondays. So many holidays and special events happen on Mondays. That can be a blog post series in itself in the future.
Anyway, the project is a scaled down version of First Lego League’s Nature’s Fury competition from last fall. Their task is to complete 3 missions. The objectives are to safely transfer the ambulance and a supply truck to the safe zone, and to lift the house from flood waters. The house has a lever that has a significant amount of tension for the robot to overcome. It may sound easy, but it has frustrated my 7th graders for a good amount of time last quarter. So, let’s see how the 5th graders fair.
As they students are excited about the robot itself, adding extraneous parts (which adds weight and volume to their robots and therefore messes with their programming), we emphasized the importance of teamwork, troubleshooting and sharing phases of this project. There are a lot of great stories about how rare it is to have a single person to really be responsible for a great work. Even Steve Jobs had Woz. Bill Gates had Paul Allen. Michael Jordan had Pippen, Kelly has Michael. And even myself, I am so lucky to have great amazing colleagues that makes things work in our Spark Studio.
The past few weeks, we have been exploring and learning more about the intricacies of our Lego Robotics EV3s. They have learned about various sensors by doing simple but important tasks such as:
using the touch sensor to touch the wall and return to home base
search for the predetermined line and doing a hard 90 degree turn by using the color/light sensor
completing the sophisticated programming of doing a smooth figure 8 manuever
Last Monday, we took a break from the EV3s by exploring what the Cubelets are. The lower form students have been experimenting and getting to know how to use the cubelets. They are simple, amazingly fun, yet logical way to learn about robotics. As I introduced the Cubelets to our middle school students and intentionally not giving much direction, they found them to be awesomely fun! They quickly learned what each individual cubes does. Some are motor cubes, some are (flash) light output cubes, sound cubes, passive cubes, temperature cubes and more
Also new are 3D building instructions that you’ll be able to view on your tablet. The new app will let you zoom in and rotate around every step in the instructions, so you can more clearly see what you’re building.
Good to see that it’ll make use of tablets! Woohoo! Got tired of lugging around laptops. Hopefully the apps for the tablets (iPads) will work very well and seamless.