« June 2009 Newsletter | Main | Robot Week Day 2 »

2009 Mayan Robot Week

It's Mayan Adventure week again!

We've got nine kids on three teams who will spend the week building and programming robots to explore a Mayan Tomb.  Over half the group was part of our first Mayan Adventure week in 2007, so we've made a few changes to keep it interesting for everyone.

The Tomb Raiders have have five team members who have all been on FIRST LEGO League teams for up to three years each and will be part of a FIRST Tech Challenge team in the fall.  They are building robots with Tetrix parts from Pitsco and programming in RobotC for the first time. 

The Mayan Monkeys have two team members.  One of them is new to LEGO Mindstorms, the other one has one year of experience on a FLL team in the past, but is a bit rusty.  This team will be programming in NXT 2.0

Team Teamwork has two team members.  Both of them have two years of experience on FLL teams and spend lots of time programming and building robots.  Recently they have learned Robolab, so they will be programming in Robolab for Mayan Adventure.  Their challenge will come from having all their move blocks limited by a sensor.  They can't just tell the robot to move forward 5 rotations.  It has to be until touch sensor pressed or until ultrasonic sensor less than 10 inches, or whatever they dream up.

All robots will be using the LEGO Mindstorms brick, motors and sensors.

The story for the week is based on LEGO Mindstorms: Mayan Adventure by Jim Kelly.  Since some of the kids know the story, we've made a few changes just to keep it interesting!




Day 1   -  Explorer

The robot has to go down a tunnel, turn left, then proceed to a T-shaped intersection.  One side will be longer than the other.  The longest side has a pressure plate that the robot needs to sit on for 10 seconds.  Then the robot has to find it's way out of the tunnel.

Here's what the tunnel looks like in the book.  The final intersection was changed to a T-shape, with tunnels going both right and left. diagram of tunnel in Mayan temple


I thought the challenge would come from deciding which way to go at the intersection.  But the kids had lots of ideas, including how to use the ultrasonic sensor to get two readings, compare them, then go down the longer tunnel.  The team that can't move a set number of rotations realized how difficult it will be to just back-up and find the right branch of the T intersection to go out. They may have to do some more thinking about it.

The kids built three very different robots.

robot with LEGO Mindstorms and TetrixPoints for Tomb Raiders

5      for working robot
10    % Tetrix on robot
5      robot returns
8      teamwork

28 Total points for Really Outrageous Bot 

Today was the very first time the team had built a robot with Tetrix.  They definitely need to learn how to use the new materials.  Their robot wasn't very stable and pieces fell off without anyone knowing how to put them back onto the robot.  But they did look at how the points were going to be awarded and managed to create a robot that went into the tunnel, and then backed up of the tunnel.  Unfortunately, it made no attempt at finding or sitting on the pressure plate!  

robot with lots of sensorsPoints for Team Teamwork

5 for working robot
10 for successfully using 3 sensors
10 Team work 

25 Total points for Solution 

Team Teamwork worked hard throughout the morning and were ready to start testing by lunch time.  They used the touch sensor to find the end of the first tunnel, then figured out they could back up on coast until the touch sensor was released.  Their robot backed up enough to allow it to turn down the tunnel.  That was a very creative use of the touch sensor.

Then they used the ultrasonic sensor to turn the robot until the reading was high enough that they found the tunnel entrance.  The ultrasonic sensor was mounted on the side of the robot so it could head straight down the next tunnel.  They used this method again at the T-intersection.  Then the robot headed off down the left hand tunnel, sat there for 10 seconds when it found the end of the tunnel.  It back-up straight until it found the end of the right hand tunnel and sat there for 10 seconds.  That's as far as they got during the testing.

Unfortunately, the robot had trouble with the turns during their final runs and never found the pressure plate!  


robot with touch sensorPoints for Mayan Monkeys

5 for working robot
10 use loop in program
5 robot on pressure plate 10 seconds
5 robot returns
10 Team work 

35 Total points for Monkey Boy 

This robot started out with a loop that repeated twice to head down the tunnel until touch sensor, back up a bit and then turn left.  Then it headed off to the pressure plate, waited for 10 seconds, and found it's way out of the tunnel.

It was the first complete program written by one of the team members.  The turns were very nice 90d turns.  The little robot was designed efficiently and did everything it was suppose to. 

A great first day for the Mayan Monkeys!



Continue reading Mayan Adventure Robot Camp  Day 2


Find out more about how to plan your own Mayan Adventure Robotic Week.



Comments (2)

Nice idea using the Tetrix. The problems the team may have had, has to do with the robot itself - screws do have trouble staying tighten, tabs on the motors break off easily, servo motors might get stripped with heavy objects, and you have to be careful gearing up. The new Tetrix for FTC supposedly addresses these problems.

Thanks for the tips. I'll pass them along to the team.

These may be frequent problems with Tetrix, but it also had to do with learning to build Tetrix for the first time.

By the end of the week, there were no pieces falling off the robot!

But they might have been stripping motors. We'll have to watch out for that problem.

We are all anxiously waiting to see what is in our FTC kit when it arrives in August.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 30, 2009 7:58 AM.

The previous post in this blog was June 2009 Newsletter.

The next post in this blog is Robot Week Day 2.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.