How do robots think?

Robolympics is a summer Year 8 expedition completed by C22.

The learning targets were :

  • I can convert coordinates into bearings and distances.
  • I can apply pythagoras and trigonometry to solve the ‘Shortest distance challenge.’
  • I can develop a program for my robot to complete set challenges.
  • I can use the science journal protocol to reflect on my work.
  • I can explain how control systems can embed intelligence into products.

Students were challenged to follow a set of bearings and distances on the large car park, and discovered this traced out the shape of Wall-E. They read about George Boole who was a teaching assistant in Doncaster and a mathematician who wrote about the laws of logic, which are the fundamental laws in all modern day computers. Students played games with logic gates such as AND, OR, NAND, NOR and XOR to work out how inputs changed their output, learning how to express these using Boolean algebra and Venn diagrams.

When the guiding question and learning targets were revealed students discovered that they would be working with robots, which had been purchased for the school by a range of sponsors from companies around Doncaster.

For the challenges, students worked in teams of 3, each with their own robot. The first challenge involved programming their robot to move between a set of coordinates. However, the robots do not understand coordinates so students had to use Pythagoras’ theorem and trigonometry to work out the bearings and distance between each coordinate point. They then had to work out how to program their robot to follow this path accurately and as quickly as possible.

Their next challenges were all based on learning how their robots think, how they can be programmed to react to sensory inputs and how they can give them some limited intelligence.

The expedition culminated in two Robolympics challenges where we had to race our robots around a colour coded racetrack and use Maths to solve the ‘Schoolyard Problem’.

All resources relating to this expedition can be found below:

Expedition Posts

Final Product – Robot Challenge Reports

In 2016/17 C21 also completed this expedition with the final product being a Celebration of Learning where their robots competed against each other. Click on the link below to see the winning class teams battle it out.

C21 Final Product