Trial launch at Birkdale Intermediate School!
We had our first session 2 weeks ago where these young engineers assembled the mBots from bare parts of circuit boards, motors, aluminium frames, screws, nuts and bolts; and using tools like screw drivers and pliers. It was most awesome to see their faces light up when the mBots magically turn on after they finished assembling them and powered up, zipping around controlled by the infrared remote. During the process one group discovered by mistake that wiring the wheels' motors to the wrong ports resulted in the mBot turning right instead of left, easily fixed by reconnecting to the correct ports. This happens in real life all the time even with professional engineers!
Last Friday we had an awesome session with the mBots where there was 2 groups of 6 young engineers all having a go at programming the mBot to play a song (twinkle little star). We had initially planned to just get them to control the buzzer but they picked things up so fast, I had to introduce the LED controls as well and they picked that up real quick too with 5 minutes left in the session to go crazy with their creativity. In a short space of time these young engineers had learnt how to control/manage:
- Event handling from inputs (of the computer keyboard)
- Sequence of commands and adjustable time delays between commands
- Robot output - buzzer tones
- Robot output - generating multi colour light using RGB LEDs (including intensity adjustment).
- Computer monitor status output (displaying the words to the song as it plays)
This week we are controlling the wheels, and introduce the use of variables, conditional operators, repeat and while loops.