Lesson 5: Design brief 1 – My program
Creative thinking and problem solving – Students come up with their own challenge and conceptualise how the robot can provide a solution. This may take two lesson periods; alternatively this can be a home work exercise. Students may select their own topic, state the program’s purpose and explain where the program could be used in the real world.
1. Identify a problem that the robot can solve or a fun movement to music
In the future robots will be our helpers. We already have robot vacuum cleaners, so this future isn’t too far away. What helpful or entertaining task can a student’s robot perform?
- Dance to music – robot dances to the student’s favourite music
- Vacuum cleaner – students can draw a living room floor layout on a large piece of paper and program the robot to ‘vacuum’ the entire area
- Security robot – students can define a secure area (square drawn on paper or a small object. The robot’s job is to guard the secure area by driving around it.
2. Describe the problem or the movements the robot needs to make
Using the design brief worksheet students describe the problem that their robot program solves and how the robot program solves the problem.
Example: The problem is… ‘People can dance well, but their movements are slow and can be out of sync with other dancers.’ My robot will solve this by… ‘Making fast movements and by keeping in time with the other robots doing the same dance routine. This will be more entertaining to watch than people dancing.’
3. Write the program and test it
Students write their program and test it.
Inevitably, the first attempt is never successful. Some students may need extra encouragement to keep trying! Failure is a normal part of programming (or any engineering discipline). Thomas Edison famously failed 10,000 times before he succeeded at inventing the light bulb! The students can describe their failures on the design brief worksheet.
5. Describe the programming icons used and what they do
Using the design brief worksheet 5.2 students select a number of icons being used in their program and describe what the icon does in the program. Print additional sheets to have students describe more programming icons.
The students demonstrate their robot’s behaviour and talk about their idea, the program, the problems that they encountered and how they solved them.