Programming Robots

Badge requirements with different names for varying troop levels are noted with a slash, but activities meet criteria listed for both.

Create a simple machine/Learn how robots work

Prior to programming the robot, it is a simple machine. Allow troops time to explore the components of the LEGO kit and learn more about the gears, axels, and other pieces available to them. Encourage scouts to make their own simple machines or identify ones that are created through the base drive robot.

Test your robot senses/Discover the robot brain

Robots use sensors to collect information about where they are and what is happening around them. This can help them complete a challenge faster or take on a harder task. In this step, have the scouts discuss the different types of sensors in the EV3 kit and the type of data they provide. Can they give use cases for each sensor? Is there one that seems more helpful than others?

If time allows, provide an example of sensors in action. This may require some prep work to build an EV3 robot or bringing a competition bot that utilizes sensor input.

Learn about programming

Talk about how programming is used to instruct a robot through a task. From there, introduce the different types of code blocks for the EV3. Have scouts work together to write out a potential program on paper. This can be a simple challenge like how to make the robot drive in a square.

This is also a good time to break down the terminology in the badge guide.

Try simple programming

Once troops have a general understanding of how the blocks work, it's time to test the programs they'd previously written out. Try converting the paper programs into EV3 code and test it with the robot. As time allows, have scouts change their code until they can complete the challenge.

If possible, give troops time to play around with different coding options. Some fun ways to do this would include adding sounds to the robot, dancing at the end of the challenge, or adding eyes to the EV3.

Code a robot

Now that the troop is familiar with creating and deploying code to the robot, it's time for a real challenge. Create a maze that the robot can be hardcoded to go through. Scouts may want to work in teams to get their base robot from one end to the other.

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Iowa City Robotics 2024