Our practice following this week’s match was one of the best practices we have had yet. The team spent nearly all of the practice learning about programming and testing the programs they wrote. I have spent a lot of time trying to think of the best way to teach programming while still keeping it fun and something the team could understand.
Robotics Club Practice
As we always do at the beginning of each practice, I had each student give their input on the previous match. All of the team was very happy with their performance and very happy that they had the highest score in the Vex IQ Driver Challenge by a large margin. Each student also mentioned that they could tell they were getting better at controlling the robot they created for this season.
After our review of the match, I moved on by demonstrating a sample program I had written to make their robot “dance.” The students were amazed to see their robot moving on it’s own and were very excited to see what they could make it do.
To get the team programming I first had them analyze the movements that the robot makes to execute their normal driving strategy. We wrote the procedure on a whiteboard, creating a sort of pseudo-code.
Because I want the students to begin learning what they will be doing at the Middle and High School levels, we chose to write the code in RobotC. RobotC has a number of built in functions to make this a breeze, and we were soon testing the student’s code. I won’t go too much into it now, but I am confident that the team will have one of the top Vex IQ programming scores at next week’s match!
It is exciting to finally be competing in all three aspects of the Vex IQ High Rise challenge, and I suspect that the Programming Skills and Driver Skills aspects of the competition will be our team’s strong suit. This makes sense as this season we have focused on learning some of the more advanced robotics concepts rather then using their tried and true design!