Computer Programming: A MS Technology and Engineering Lesson

Title of Lesson: Robotics and ModKit

Course Name: Technology and Engineering Education

Grade Level: 8

Author’s Name: Wyatt Hall

School District: Eastern Lebanon County School District

PA Academic Standards for Science and Technology and Engineering Education
3.4. Technology and Engineering Education
3.4.7.C3.  Describe how troubleshooting as a problem-solving method may identify the cause of a malfunction in a technological system.
3.4.6.D2.  Use computers appropriately to access and organize and apply information.
3.4.6.D3.  Design and use instruments to evaluate data.
3.4.8.D2  Operate and maintain systems in order to achieve a given purpose.
PA Academic Standards for Career Education and Work
13.2. Career Acquisition (Getting a Job)
13.2.8.B. Evaluate resources available in researching job opportunities, such as, but not limited to:
  •  CareerLinks
  •  Internet (i.e. O-NET)
  •  Networking
  •  Newspapers
  •  Professional associations
  •  Resource books (that is
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook, PA Career Guide)
13.3. Career Retention and Advancement
13.3.8.C.  Explain and demonstrate conflict resolution skills:
  •  Constructive criticism
  •  Group dynamics
  •  Managing/leadership
  •  Mediation
  •  Negotiation
  •  Problem solving
Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to:
  • Apply critical thinking skills to solve a complex task.
  • Explain how the VEX IQ robot using ModKIt can be programmed to move.
  • Accurately measure various distances.
  • Calculate various angles.
  • Navigate CareerLinks to find employment opportunities in the field of computer programming and list at least three related qualifications for the career.  
  • Distinguish the difference between multiple components of a robot, such as, but not limited to LED Touch Sensor, bumper sensor, distance sensor, and color sensor.
Conceptual Background
To teach this lesson, an individual will need a strong background in programming, specifically an understanding of the program ModKit.  In addition, teachers will need an understanding of multiple sensors and how/why they function when developing a program.  The ability to measure accurately to the nearest 16th of an inch or millimeter is also required.
Instructional Procedure
Day 1
5 MinutesLesson Question: What role do sensors play in our everyday life?  
  • Open class by having students respond to the following question: What are robotic sensors?  
  • Have 2 to 3 students share their examples.
  • Use student responses to assess their prior knowledge and understanding.
12 MinutesSensors Worksheet
  • Hand out the sensors worksheet, have students complete the worksheet during the class lecture.
  • Discuss the following sensors: light sensor, LED touch sensor, temperature sensor (HVAC), proximity sensor (ultra distance sensor), photodetector sensor
  • In addition, demonstrate the following sensors using the VEX IQ robot: Contact Sensors (Bumpers and Touch LEDs), Proximity Sensor (Ultrasonic Distance Sensor), Gyroscope Sensor, Color Sensors.  
25 MinutesModKIT Introduction
  • After presentation and VEX IQ sensors demonstrating, introduce ModKIT; used for programming robots. First, begin by demonstrating how to open ModKit, changing file name (Click “Untitled Project”) and saving document (click project arrow and select save location).
  • Have students set-up their robots by selecting the “robot function” and connected the motor/sensor to the designated port.
  • After students set-up their robot, demonstrate how to use the blocks function. Students can begin to write a simple program.  Begin by adding a start command, followed by a forward and turning command.  Have student write a program for their robots to navigate a 10” by 10” inch square.
  • Have students download the command to their robots using the download tab (Note, students must selected the corresponding computer USB in Modkit to download their program).
  • After students successfully write their program to navigate 10” by 10” square, have students compete the same task with their robot navigating the course in reverse.
  • Introduce the bumper sensors, and have students include a bumper sensor in their 10” by 10” reverse square program.  Robot should stop when the bumper is pressed at any point while navigating the 10” by 10” square in reverse.
  • Next, have students write a program to have their robot go forward continuously until the color red is detected.
  • Finally, demonstrate LED setup, and have students program their LED Sensor to change colors from blue to red for 10 seconds, every .5 seconds.
3 MinutesExit Ticket:
Explain what a robotic sensor is, and list three common examples.
Days 2 and 3
Students will apply their knowledge from yesterday’s lesson on sensors and program their robot to complete a maze.  Students will need to apply previous knowledge from the sensors lesson and programming, an understanding of corresponding angles and measuring linear length to complete the activity below.
1 MinuteBegin class by reviewing corresponding angles with a daily question:  Have students solve for the missing angle “A” and “F”
4 MinutesNext, distribute the Robot Maze handout, then review the tasks and rubric.  Note: Pre-programing your robot to demonstrate the course will help engage students.  (Do not show students your program).  Encourage students to film their robot navigating the course so they can make adjustments.
30 MinutesAllow students to begin programming and testing their robots.  Note: To develop critical thinking skills, only give students 3 attempts to test their program.  Optional: Give students a free help pass.  If they do not use their help pass, give them an additional 5 points towards their score.  If they do use their help pass, do not add additional points.  Only provide assistance towards a single task/question, not multiple lines of code.
10 MinutesHave students review the link below and list current career openings in the field of computer programming.  Have students develop a list of 3 employment opportunities along with a list of 3 qualifications/educational requirements for each employment opportunity.
 Career Link
Formative Assessment
Learning objectives for this lesson will be based off of the activity rubric found at the bottom of the Robot Maze handout.
Materials Needed
To complete this activity, instructors will need access to the following items:

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