Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More Middle School Robots

About a month ago, two of my colleagues and I visited the Science Camp at Mason County Middle School.  The last hour of the morning was devoted to robots.
My VEX kit.  The rolling tool box makes it easy to move, as the kit is heavy.
I was happy to be able to do the wheel size lab with students.  Speed Bot was built for this lab, but it wasn't running at the time.  The students timed the robot over five meters with two or three different wheel sizes, depending on the group.  They had to predict how the wheel size would affect the time.  It was interesting to me that some students thought the smaller wheels would make the robot faster.

The students ranges in age from 8 to 13, and were very engaged.  There were different tasks, timing, recording, and driving the robot.  With multiple trials, the students got to do each of the tasks.

In addition to teaching the students about geometry, units, and measurement, there were a few additional benefits to our Science Camp activities.  First, we got to try to sell some of the other science teachers on a robotics team.  The other is that we got to troubleshoot some of our activities for future camps.

One of the most interesting things for me today was a paper from one of the students.  She had to find the average of two numbers, and she didn't have a calculator, so she divided by two using long division.  There is something for people on both sides of the math wars, investigative learning and algorithms on the same page.
So full of win!