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Mayan Day Five

Today's robot challenge is the most elaborate.

In the burial room are three statues, bravery, wisdom and honor.  The robot needs to push each statue onto a pressure plate.  

Then the robot has to find a ramp and a fourth statue.  That statue has to be pushed up a ramp, over a river (blue bed sheet) and onto the King's sarcophagus.   

We've changed the set-up a bit for this challenge.  My garage isn't all that big, so we've shortened the ramp to 4 feet, and it's at a 25 degree angle because that was the height of the boxes that made up the sarcophagus.   The King statue is behind the sarcophagus, and there is a gold box at the head with some awards we'll give out at the end of the day.  

 Here are the points we used for today. 

   5   For working robot
   5   Comments in program
   5   Using at least two of loop, parallel, or switch
   5   For programming and testing in stages
   5   Locating first statue
 15   5 points for pushing a statue onto the pressure plate
   5   Pushing the statue up the ramp 
   5   Statue standing on pressure plate by King 

There were no points for a robot that returned on it's own today.  If a robot got the final statue onto the sarcophagus, then the pressure plate in the room would be disable and it would be safe to go into the tomb and pick up the robot.   

Since this week was about learning programming skills, 15 points went to programming techniques.  All the kids knew how to do it, so every team could have gotten those points.

It was interesting to watch the designing, programming and testing throughout the day.  There are so many different ways to solve the same challenge.

The Mayan Archeologists built the Super Statue Stormer.

This little robot hat all kinds of technical difficulties.  Their sound sensor worked when it was tested on Thursday night, but failed to work as part of their robot on Friday morning.  First they tried a different NXT brick, but it still didn't work.  So they changed their plan and put the touch sensor on their robot.  

They realized the robot would need a lot of power to push the statue up the ramp, so they built in some gears that would reduce the speed, but increase the power. 

For most of the day, they were happy if the robot went forward at all.  The technical difficulties were very frustrating, but they made sure they got their programming points.  During one of their challenge runs, the robot did locate the first statue and push it onto the pressure plate.  Unfortunately, that's as far as they got in their programming, so the most points they could have gotten was the 30 points they did get in that challenge run.


Statue Bot was designed by our newest team.  On Monday, they weren't even sure how to work together to build a robot quickly.  By Friday they did a great job creating their robot.  Unfortunately, they are still new to programming.  They are learning how to debug a program.  When their robot went backwards instead of forwards or turned left instead of right, they weren't quite sure how to fix it.   Towards the end of the day, they just typed in all the commands they would need to complete the entire challenge and hoped for the best. 

They got points building a working robot, putting comments in the program, a few points for starting out using testing and programming in stages, and they did locate the statue on one of their challenge runs.  Their total was 18 points.

Statue Stealer was the robot that almost completed the whole challenge during the testing.  They came up with the idea of having the robot navigate by turning circles.  They used the sound sensor so that they could shout commands to it so that it would stop when it was pointing in the right direction before it moved forward for the next step.  During one test run, they got all three statues on their pressure plates.  

They realized that some times the statues seemed to get stuck.  So that created a parallel process to add more power if the robot hadn't gotten the statue on the pressure plate within the first two seconds of pushing.  Unfortunately, they had some problems in their testing, and removed it.  

After the first three statues, the robot returned on it's own to the starting area.  They had a separate program to go and find the King's statue and push it up the ramp.   That program worked fairly well and the robot could easily go up the ramp when the statue wasn't there.  Unfortunately, it didn't have enough power to push the statue up the ramp.

Here's a picture of it heading up the ramp when it missed finding the statue.

During the challenge runs, they weren't able to get even one statue on a pressure plate.  They had taken out their parallel process, so they ended up with 20 points.

Even though they didn't accomplish the whole challenge, the kids were proud of the robots and what they were able to accomplish.

Although, the best part of the day may have been eating our cake that was decorated to look like an NXT brick!  The Mayan writing translates as WELL DONE TEAMS. They did a great job all week long.



Read more about LEGO NXT Mayan Adventure week.

Comments (4)

Where did you get the Mayan glyphs for the decorations?

My kids love history and we have a fairly large collection of resource books on subjects like Ancient Egypt, Rome, or medieval England. When I checked the bookshelf, I found two books with Mayan images that I must have picked up years ago.

Maya Designs by Wilson G. Turner from Dover Publications 1980.

Life in Ancient Mexico Coloring Book by John Green from the Dover Coloring Series 1991.

I copied some of the images on different colored papers and used them to cover any labels on the boxes.

We cut out round glyphs to make the pressure plates used throughout the story.

Thanx! I am getting ready to start a class, and plan on using the Mayan Adventure for part of it. Guess I'll start hunting through my local library!


Thanks so very much for taking your time to create this very useful and informative site. I have learned a lot from your site. Thanks!!l


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