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Mayan Day Three

Today's challenge was more fun to recreate.  The hole in the wall was just a gap in the cardboard boxes.  The kids discovered that if they were in just the right spot, they could peak around the boxes and see the basket.  We added an extra box just inside the entrance to block that view.

The robot will be exploring the library in the temple.  The first challenge is for the robot to take a picture of the scrolls in the library.  We've got small digital cameras that the teams can send in with the robot.  Then the robot will have to locate a basket with a key in it.  The robot will know it finds the basket based on the color of the floor in that area, there's suppose to be a stone circle inlaid in the floor around the basket.  The robot has to retrieve the basket with the key. 

The book suggests having the robot lay out string that can be used to pull the basket towards the entrance.  I'm assuming the kids will do it that way, but it's up to them.  Their challenge is to take a photo and get the key.

For the basket, we're using a large whicker basket that came at Christmas with fruit in it.  It took me a  while to find a reasonably large basket that had straight sides.  Most baskets are narrow at the bottom and open out at the top.  I wasn't sure how well that shape would work.  The key is suppose to be made from carved animal bone.  We found a deer antler that should work

The next challenge was the obsidian ring.  My garage floor has darkened over the years.  I wasn't sure that something black would provide enough of a contrast.  We decided to make the stones (paper cut outs) from quartz instead.  

Points for Day Three - Library

   5   For working robot
   5   Planning and testing program in stages
   5   Photo of sign
   5   Finding basket
   5   String around basket
   5   For robot that returns on it's own
   5   For retrieving the key

The set-up may have been easy, but the challenges turned out to be harder for kids.  Today was what coaches like to call a good 'learning' day. 


It turned out that attaching the camera and taking a picture was difficult.  Only one team actually had a program and robot attachments that could attempt the photo.  Unfortunately, the robot didn't push hard enough to actually take the picture.


One team had the idea to use the ultra sonic sensor on the side of the robot to check for when the robot had passed the basket as it went across the room.  Unfortunately, that didn't seem to work.  We weren't sure if it had something to do with the weave on the whicker basket.  It might not have returned an accurate value to the ultra sonic sensor.  There program did seem to work if a book was held in front of the basket.

Library Bot

The third team designed a four wheel robot with fixed wheels.  They had lots of trouble trying to get the turns to work.  The other teams seemed quite surprised by the 4 wheel design, but didn't think to point out the challenges of that type of design to the newest kids in our group.  

We did have one team whose robot was able to locate the ring around the basket, and they almost made it around the basket with the string.  Unfortunately, the robot stopped at the half way point.

No one made it all the way around the basket.  No one took a photo of the library and no one retrieved the key.

As I said, all the challenges gave the kids lots of opportunities to learn things.

At the end of each day, we let the kids pick their own teamwork score out of 10.  The first few days the scores were between 5-7.  Today the scores were between 2-3.  So did the poor teamwork result in robots that couldn't do the challenge, or did the kids not know how to work as a team when they encountered problems with today's task.  That's an interesting question that we'll talk about in the morning.



Read more about LEGO NXT Mayan Adventure week.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 4, 2007 11:27 PM.

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