MINDSTORMS

Class photo

Core Classes

Robot U’s core classes are open-ended, problem-solving lessons that make learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through real-life robotics engaging and fun for students.

Tailored to children from the 4th grade through 8th, our advanced robotic programs are built around the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 educational robot sets (with expansion kit) and an education program designed by LEGO education and Carnegie Mellon University. We supply the use of one robot kit and one tablet pc per two students. The classes are structured so the students are taught a lesson (or two), given a challenge, experiment in pairs or small groups to come up with the best solution, come back together to show and explain their solutions.

The classes tend to be on the loud side because ideas are flying all over the place and since we use tablets more often than not the students end up on the floor tweaking their programs. We’ll be the first to admit it can be a little chaotic because of the enthusiasm, but students are made aware of the class rules about respect for themselves, others, and the materials daily and we want them excited about their creations.

Every student is emailed a link to a list of skills to learn. They are encouraged to log in and update their progress periodically. If they find something they wish to learn that is not part of the curriculum for that session they may ask a mentor to either teach it to them or, if the timing isn’t right for individual help, they will be guided to the lesson on their tablet.

Our sessions follow the LEGO Education engineering curriculum and starts with “Make It Move” and progresses forward until they have achieved mastery of the kits.

Students that have taken a course (or four) will be in the same physical class as the beginners. This will give them the opportunity to; help the new students; learn leadership; and reinforce their previous lessons. They enjoy the freedom of being able to create more complex robots and programming while the beginners are learning the basics.

Session 1

Make It Move: Students are challenged to design, build, and program robots that move using motors with rotation sensors. In five projects, students apply mathematics and science knowledge to create robots that measure distance and speed, move without using wheels, maximize power to move up an incline, and move and turn to create regular polygons. Students will also apply their knowledge of simple and complex machines and use ratios to describe proportional relationships.

Session 2

Make It Smarter: Students are challenged to add sensors to their robots to control behavior and to measure, graph, and analyze sensor data. In five projects, students develop robots that use sensors that measure ambient and reflected light, distinguish specific colors, measure distance from an object, recognize a touch-sensor state (pressed or not pressed, or pressed and released), and measure angular displacement or rate of change.

Session 3

Make a System: Students are challenged to design, build, and program robotics systems built from subsystems. In five projects, students develop systems that move a ball, pick and place objects, simulate manufacturing, sort colors, and communicate their location. Students test their system, gather data, and use that evidence to engineer system optimizations and improvements.

Session 4

Take it to the Next Level:Is designed to enable students to take their experience of robotics to the next level. There are plenty of special elements such as different gears, a large turntable, robot personalization parts, and unique structural elements. These are joined by many extra standard elements such as beams, axles, and connectors. Students will build larger and more complex models. This session is optimized for robotics competitions and will culminate in a two hour workshop where they will show off their robots and be awarded a Certificate of Mastery

Robot Building

Student built robots

Student built robots.

In addition to our core classes we offer week long classes or one to two day workshops where students follow instructions and build complex robots. This is a great activity for students that just want to build cool stuff without feeling committed to learning the programming. The programming will be explained though, but they won’t need to do any.

Robot Challenges

This is the best of both worlds. No long term commitment like the core courses, but the students will need to learn some programming and experiment with their engineering concepts.

The students are challenged to one or a series of challenges for the duration of a full day workshop or the period of one week. The challenges could be as simple as a sumo match or the more complex challenge of an obstacle course. There is a lot of commotion as the students work in teams to constantly improve their robots. Team work is key here to a great time.

Preparing for FIRST LEGO League

(the condensed version)

This workshop is designed to give the most information in the shortest amount of time. They will learn basic programming and all about the kits capabilities.

They will learn

  • How to navigate the software
  • How to operate the Programmable Brick
  • The uses of the different MINDSTORMS pieces
  • Basic programming
  • Calculating robot movements
  • Basic sensor uses
  • Gearing
  • Line following and other  programming standards

Preparing for FIRST LEGO League

(The full week camp version)

Over the period of a week long camp students will learn all the basics and then some. During a week long summer camp students will learn a great deal about both the MINDSTORMS sets and FIRST LEGO League. Come fall they will be ready to hit the road running.

They will learn

  • How to navigate the software
  • How to operate the Programmable Brick
  • The uses of the different MINDSTORMS pieces
  • Basic programming
  • Calculating robot movements
  • Basic sensor uses
  • Gearing
  • Advanced programming
  • Engineering concepts and techniques
  • Design a robot
  • Troubleshoot and re-engineer
  • Line following and other  programming standards
  • What to expect in a FLL competition
  • Work with high school mentors from FRC
  • To work as a team

Don’t worry, there will be many opportunities to get outside and get some fresh air and play.

 

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