Robotics Challenge in Grade 4

A fantastic post by Learning Support teacher, Laura Liguori, about Robotics in Grade 4!

During the eight weeks before Christmas break, Grade 4 Students are taking on the Robotics Challenge. What is the Robotics Challenge all about? It is about…

  • Making
  • Critical thinking
  • Design Technology
  • Coding and Control
  • Math
  • Collaboration
  • Exploration and Inquiry
  • Student Agency

The Robotics Challenge has three phases: The Design Phase, The Coding Phase, The Debugging Phase.

During the Design Phase students work with their Programming Buddy to design a ‘race track’ over which their robot will travel. The more complex the racetrack the more challenging it will be to program it — but that’s what drives the learning and motivation.

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During the Coding Phase students will work together to write a program using the mBot App which is Scratch (a visual block based coding program). Students will use Scratch  to construct a series of algorithms which will direct the robot to travel around the racetrack. The challenge is to try to get the robot to do exactly what you want it to do and that takes a lot of critical thinking and patience! Grit is definitely a key requirement to get through the challenge.

At last, Debugging, the final phase, will challenge students to ask ‘Why?’ over and over again. Why didn’t the robot go straight or turn right when I expected? Which part of my algorithm needs to be ‘fixed’? What will be the consequences of removing this ‘block’ and not that ‘block’? This is where Computing Buddies will need to put their heads together and accept that the challenge is not yet finished. They will also learn how to give one another some constructive advice. Trial and error leads to accurate programming.

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What will we be able to see just before we break for Christmas?

At the end of the challenge will come the moment of great excitement when the students will set their robots down on their racetracks! The 14th Floor will be alive with zooming robots moving around all different types of racetracks with a range of complex patterns. Most importantly, there will be Grade 4 students who will be very proud of what they have achieved! We will be capturing all of this in an iMovie…

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