What is Robotics?Edit

Robotics is the science or study of the technology associated with the design, fabrication, theory, and application of robots. (please see wikibooks for more information on Robotics)

Rationale for RoboticsEdit

  • Problem Solving
  • Decision Making
  • Goal Setting
  • Logical Thinking / Sequencing
  • Troubleshooting
  • Modification Skills
  • Engineering Basics
  • Computer Programming

Uses of Robotics in EducationEdit

Robots and robotic technologies have an intellectual and emotional appeal that surpasses any other type of engineered product. This appeal has attracted the inquisitive minds of children and young adults. These technologies represent a practical application of physics, computer science, engineering, and mathematics, and provide a very effective and flexible approach to demonstrate a range of engineering concepts. As a result, robotic technology and robots are being used to teach basic software and mechanical engineering at the grammar school, middle school and high school levels. For the younger learners, robots and robotic technologies offer them interest in the fields of science, mathematics and computer fundamentals, as well as teach them basic life skills such as: responsibility, problem solving, decision making, goal setting, self-esteem, logical thinking, sequencing, troubleshooting, modification skills, engineering basics and computer programming. bazzinga

Sample Robotics ProjectsEdit

  • Fancy fans and wacky windmills The Hewitt School


Robotics CurriculaEdit

  • 8th grade introduction to program and robotics The Hewitt School This class meets for 10 weeks, once a week for one 45 minute period, therefore I am less ambitious about what we cover than I would be with more time. I'm using MicroWorlds EX Robotics on pc. Organized by topic, not by class period. Students work in pairs.
    • Setup: Students first practice procedure for setting up robotics communication, learn about the basic hardware and software.
    • Command center: Students use the MicroWorlds command center to send commands directly to the RCX. Here we try a few simple primitives to control the RCX with a motor attached, such as aon, aoff, and wait 5.
    • Procedure panel: We use the procedure panel to write commands in sequence with an expanded vocabulary. Students make a simple fan and program it to spin at different speeds, change direction and play melodies.
    • Repeating and looping: Using their fans, students learn to shorten repetitive commands with repeat and run a program indefinitely with loop.
    • Sensors: Students make a simple raising arm gate and control it with a switch. The switch-controlling program uses the waituntil command. Then we use a light sensor to trigger the motor and adapt the motor's procedure accordingly (it has to stay up even after the black car has passed or the car will get whacked on the way through the gate!).
    • Multiple motors and sensors: Students spend the remaining classes, 3 or so, programming vehicles that drive in a circle or square. They can attach a marker to draw shapes as well. They integrate repeat and loop commands into their programs by simplifying repetitive sequences like driving straight and turning four times to make a square. They integrate if statements by controlling their vehicles with a switch. We also try to work light sensors into the vehicles or the earlier gates, but usually run out of time. I would like to integrate the use of if statements here to direct the light sensors. We'll see if we get to it this trimester.


Robotics SoftwareEdit

  • MicroWorlds EX Robotics, published by LCSI, is available for Windows and Mac OSX platforms. It provides a stable environment for robotics programming with Logo in a purely textual format. Users quickly discover that one misspelled word can bring a program to a halt. Robotics interface via the infrared tower uses either serial or USB port. One disadvantage compared to Robo Blocks software is the lack of support thus far for RCX to RCX communication. For example, one might want to program one RCX to serve as a remote control for another RCX unit, which Robo Blocks allows.
  • NXT-G - This software comes with the educational version of the Lego Mindstorms Kit. It is the language used by most teams in the First Lego League competition. Like Robolab, its predecessor, NXT-G is an icon-based programming language in which users drag and drop an assortment of pictures that correspond to robotic commands in to a chain.
  • LogoBlocks, freeware developed at MIT, has versions for Windows and Mac OS9 and OSX. See screenshots here. So far, LogoBlocks on a Mac requires use of a serial port infrared tower. In LogoBlocks users create robotics programs by connecting interlocking blocks with Logo code vocabulary on them. The blocks will only attach in syntactically correct configurations, thus guiding users toward correct programming syntax. LogoBlocks allows RCX to RCX communication, which is not possible with MicroWorlds EX Robotics.
  • Cricket Logo, also developed at MIT, is a text-based programming interface for use with the Handy and Super Cricket robots.
  • Jackal, developed by Rahul Bhargava, is also a text-based programming interface for use with the Handy Cricket (though not the Super Cricket) with the added bonus of color-coded syntax that recognizes Logo primitives and displays them in different colors by type.

Interesting Sites and ArticlesEdit

FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology is a multinational non-profit organization, that aspires to transform culture, making science, math, engineering, and technology as cool for kids as sports are today.

Robotics in the Classroom - Resources for Teachers

Robotics Plan Project – Allows students to experience robots through an internet tour and WebQuest

K-12 Experiments in Robotic Software - A place to learn about robotic engineering

Robotics Learning Kids Workshops - LEGO Robotics Classes for Kids (and Adults)

Robotics Resources for Educators (LEGO) - Robotics Resources for Educators Using Programmable LEGO Materials

Educational Experience (LEGO) - A collection of lesson plans, student activities and programming ideas that are ready for teachers to use in the classroom

Virtual Classroom Tour : Sumo Robots - Created by educators and selected for publication by the AACTE Innovative Teachers Advisory Board

RobotCurwikilum - A wiki educational curriculums that use robots as tools in the classroom

MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory - Offers a broad range of research on mobile robots and autonomous systems


See this comprehensive page for some of the most commonly asked questions about robotics from educators.


(2002). Standards for technological literacy: content or the study of technology. International Technology Education Association. Retrieved March 7, 2006, from Academic Search Premier database.

Geissler, J., Knott, P., Vazquez, M. & Wright, J. Virtual reality robotics programming software in the technology classroom. Technology Teacher. Retrieved March 7, 2006, from Academic Search Premier database.

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