For a fair chunk of 2016 and 2017 I was working on a contract at the Hutt City Libraries to develop their STEMM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Manufacturing) programmes. One part I worked on and piloted was a series of weekly robotics sessions to introduce participants to basic robotics using mBot and Lego Mindstorms EV3 kits.
The programme was designed to be based on and follow on from Codeclub, which is a volunteer lead year-long structured course to teach kids programming. The robotics course would have been volunteer lead as well and was intended to be more open-ended. My ultimately aim was to extend its coverage as far as the Arduino microcontroller and the infinite possibilities that opens up. Unfortunately resourcing the programme was seen as a problem, and so the programme was canned despite the success of the pilot sessions.
The robotics kits were selected after a careful study of what was available at the time. What I wanted to make sure of was that the robotics kits purchased could teach proper programming, be applicable beyond just that robotics platform, and allow the participants to get into building the robot chassis. The mBot and Lego Mindstorms EV3 fulfilled this criteria.
- The mBot because it is a powerful little unit, used Scratch that the kids were already familiar with through Codeclub, and capable of being programmed using the Arduino programming language.
- The Lego Mindstorm EV3 kits (the consumer kits not the overpriced educational kits) were selected because they were so big and there are competitions around that they could be used for. In my view, the big downside of the Lego Mindstorms kits was that they used a weird proprietary software with its own odd graphical language that was not really applicable outside of itself.
I hope you find this series useful.
The following are links to the individual lessons in this series.
- Robotics 1a - Introduction to the mBot
- Robotics1b - Building an mBot Programme
- Robotics1c - Programming a Guided mBot
- Robotics1d - mBot Sensors
- Robotics1e - More mBot Sensors
- Robotics1f - mBot Sensor lucky-Dip
The sessions are also available as pdfs using the links below:
- Robotics 1a - Introduction to the mBot - (PDF)
- Robotics1b - Building an mBot Programme - (PDF)
- Robotics1c - Programming a Guided mBot - (PDF)
- Robotics1d - mBot Sensors - (PDF)
- Robotics1e - More mBot Sensors - (PDF)
- Robotics1f - mBot Sensor lucky-Dip - (PDF)
Lego Mindstorms EV3 Series
- Robotics2a - Introduction to the Lego Mindstorms EV3s
- Robotics2b - Lego Mindstorms EV3 Body Building
- Robotics2c - Lego Mindstorms EV3 Programming Interface
- Robotics2d - Lego Mindstorms EV3 Chassis Action
For ease, here are the directy links to the pdf versions.
- Robotics2a - Introduction to the Lego Mindstorms EV3s - (PDF)
- Robotics2b - Lego Mindstorms EV3 Body Building - (PDF)
- Robotics2c - Lego Mindstorms EV3 Programming Interface - (PDF)
- Robotics2d - Lego Mindstorms EV3 Chassis Action - (PDF)
This series of lessons on Robotics by Hamish Trolove is provided under a creative commons license - Attribution, Share Alike.
Just in case you are wondering; the contract for the STEMM programme development work was written so that I would that I retained ownership of the IP developed. I figured sharing it would ensure the effort involved with developing the material would maximise its value.