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I help other groups get CoderDojo started. I work mostly with Arduino and Robots (mBots)

AI Racing League

See details here:

We are working on a new group called

Instructor's Guide for mBots

  1. Try not to drop the robots or step on them
  2. Warn the students that it is easy to drive off the tables
  3. All labs that use the motors should be done on the floor

There are several concepts that we want to teach

  1. The mBot default programs
    1. remote, collision avoidance, line following - Note: no PC is needed for these modes. Just the mBots and batteries! Each box has a figure 8 course. If we have a white table-top you can put down black tape
  2. Connecting mobile devices to your PC
    1. we use the 2.4GHz dongle and the green light must be on
  3. event-based programs
    1. attach a function to a key on the keyboard
  4. continuous loops
    1. programs that run forever
  5. reading a sensor
    1. we used the ultrasonic sensor on the front of the mBot
  6. comparing values
    1. we compare the distance to a fixed number to change the robot's behavior
  7. variables
    1. use a variable to hold the blinking state and delay time
  8. subroutines
    1. create a set of functions for driving (forward, turn-right, turn-left etc.)

Some teaching strategies

  1. try to keep the initial labs simple
  2. introduce one simple concept at a time
  3. constantly ask the students for their own ideas of what they want to change. Younger kids want to change colors. Repetition helps them learn and remember.
  4. try to keep the robots on the desk using the LED labs to start. Keep the motor labs for later in the session
  5. Avoid the sound labs if the room is too noisy

Here are some "mBot" challenges:

  1. Make the LED on the top of the mBot turn red when you hit the spacebar and off when you hit the "o" key
  2. Make the LED blink continuously using the forever loop - change the speed of the blinking
  3. Make the the color change when you move your hand closer to the mbot
  4. Bind the forward, back, left and right to the arrow keys
  5. Make the robot drive a single square
  6. Make the robot dance - pick a random direction to turn and a random distance to move
  7. Make the robot go forward unless there is an object in front. Then turn. (Collision avoidance)