Day 88: JanTerm Day 1

Monday, 5 January 2015

The JanTerm began today! I’m teaching Introduction to Engineering with Shaffiq Welji, a colleague from the math department and a co-conspirator on the robotics team coaching staff. During Intro to Engineering, a 3 week course, our kids in grades 9 through 12 will study mechanical systems, control systems, and power systems. We’re using the VEX robotics system as our base for most work and everything is project-based.

Today, kids started by building the ClawBot from a kit. Our theory is that kids need to first see how these parts can work before they start designing their own.

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ClawBot, about halfway built.

We gave the kids these tasks for Monday and Tuesday:

  1. Build the ClawBot.
  2. Build a 2nd robot from the extra parts in the PoE kit box.
  3. Make a robot follow a black line we lay down on the floor.
  4. Make the ClawBot pick up a spray paint can and move it from the end of the line to the beginning.
  5. Make a creative and useful modification to either bot.

By the end of Monday, most groups were almost done the ClawBot. Our class time is somewhat limited because the schedule has built-in community and break time. It’s a great idea but I think we took too much time off today and hope to find a better mix tomorrow.

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I do appreciate a well-organized parts box.

What do you want to know about JanTerm?

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