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Author Topic: 1/10 scale Robotic model car - failure in the education world of 7-12 STEM  (Read 1909 times)
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STEM for middle schools. "How things work."
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Folks,

My goal is to encourage our 7-12 students about STEM and to learn "how things work".  I designed an in-school  model building project.  The students build a radio control car into which they insert an Arduino Nano between the radio receiver incoming signal wires and the steering servo and Electronic Speed Control.  The car's robotic job is to race around a unfurnished room hugging the wall.  It has two sonar sensors.  One pointed forward.  The other pointed to the right. These the Arduino uses to determine which direction to steer and whether to go forward, backward, or apply the brakes.

Here is a document which includes a course curriculum, pictures of the car,  more videos,  a wire list, a parts list, and a pointer to the C-code that works.  It is this document that the teachers and students received.
http://www.employees.org/~kjones/Robocar Course Curriculu1.doc

This package was offered across the country by Ten80 Education as a competitive challenge.  Only one teacher/class in the United States succeeded in building the car.  When I asked that teacher why he thought no one else had succeeded he replied, "Not enough time."   I am not sure how to interpret that response.

I am discouraged and have been planning to put the project up in the attic.  smiley-cry Today it occurred to me that this Arduino Forum might have some constructive suggestions.

Please??
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No direct answer but the robotics subsection might be a better place too ask.

idea: try to get some parents involved so it becomes partly a outside school computer/robotic club?
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North Central Massachusetts
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STEM for middle schools. "How things work."
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Folks,

My goal is to encourage our 7-12 students about STEM and to learn "how things work".  I designed an in-school  model building project.  The students build a radio control car into which they insert an Arduino Nano between the radio receiver incoming signal wires and the steering servo and Electronic Speed Control.  The car's robotic job is to race around a unfurnished room hugging the wall.  It has two sonar sensors.  One pointed forward.  The other pointed to the right. These the Arduino uses to determine which direction to steer and whether to go forward, backward, or apply the brakes.

Here is a document which includes a course curriculum, pictures of the car,  more videos,  a wire list, a parts list, and a pointer to the C-code that works.  It is this document that the teachers and students received.
http://www.employees.org/~kjones/Robocar Course Curriculu1.doc

This package was offered across the country by Ten80 Education as a competitive challenge.  Only one teacher/class in the United States succeeded in building the car.  When I asked that teacher why he thought no one else had succeeded he replied, "Not enough time."   I am not sure how to interpret that response.

I am discouraged and have been planning to put the project up in the attic. Today it occurred to me that this Arduino Forum might have some constructive suggestions.

Please??
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Kids have short attention spans and need to see quick results on first projects, and the project probably needs to have some cool/fun factor. Maybe a simple bot with a laptop/netpad/smart phone running Skype that they can wirelessly operate from a remote a laptop/netpad/smart phone running Skype (maybe in another school). A bot tootling down the hall talking a little smack! Competitive robotic activities between classes/groups also might be of more interest.
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Consider the daffodil. And while you're doing that, I'll be over here, looking through your stuff.   smiley-cool

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After a couple of years pondering this subject my conclusion is that the problem is not with the students, but with the teachers.  It is not that they can not program the car, they can not even build it.
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After a couple of years pondering this subject my conclusion is that the problem is not with the students, but with the teachers.  It is not that they can not program the car, they can not even build it.

I think the problem is probably not with the teachers or the students, but a poorly designed (but well intentioned) project that misses with its intended target audience. At about page three I even lost interest and stopped reading. Perhaps you should get involved with some of the high school robotic competitions and see what they are doing. You got feedback from the one teacher that tried your project, you should evaluate the issue described.
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Consider the daffodil. And while you're doing that, I'll be over here, looking through your stuff.   smiley-cool

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My son's charter school junior class has entered the Army sponsored Ten80 challenge the last 2 years. The first year, they had about 6 weeks to prepare (found out about it late I think) and managed 2nd place against a school that had finished first for years.
This year with the school year to get ready (or whenever they start), and with last year's 2nd place finishers offering guidance to start the project (they really didn't like losing overall the prior year!), they won.
The Ten80 project involves racing radio control cars, modeling the car in Solid Works, presenting a paper or talk on improvements that could be made.
Doing an arduino-based programming project with 6th & 7th graders might be too much. We used to do a DELVE program (design, experiment, learn, etc). 6th graders would do some ramp based stuff, measuring acceleration, speed, distance, etc. 7th graders would do a line following robot using the Lego mindstorms and drag & drop programming language.
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I agree.  I need help from some teachers.  I have been trying (without money to pay them) to get that assistance.  Ten80 Education also has attempted to get more teacher input.  You mentioned LOGO.  I worked with Seymour Papert's brother in the 1970's in a Massachusetts company called GENERAL TURTLE.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seymour_Papert
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