For many people, the activity 'Robot Olympics’ is not too far-fetched because it at least paves the way for something that is highly possible on a larger scale in the future. Here you have 10-year-olds creating their own little contraptions with simple and amazing tools to discover how things work. The results varied considerably with some robots needing a little coaxing on the way. However, everyone gets the basic idea about robots from this event as they are able to tinker around with Dash and Dot.
Children seem to learn so much more about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) from such robotics activities, and while competition encourages children to become winners it also teaches them the idea of sharing and collective learning experiences by not just interacting but observing how each one creates a brilliant little gadget.
While the activity did not have much to do with making robots as opposed to creating a chariot for the robot, the children learned a lot and had a lot of fun too. The idea is basically for the elementary children to learn something from the activity.
There are 4 different types of robots in B.O.S.S. HQ at the moment. Each of these possesses its own unique advantages and disadvantages for various challenges set. In order to ensure that the playing field is even and fair, the scoring criterion for each robot is based on:
- Ability to carry Dot to the Finish Line
- Chariot Design
- Making it from the Start to the Finish Line
Additionally, penalties were also applied when robots ran into the bricks on the sides, and also when the “Robot Wrangler” had to intervene with his or her hands in order to direct the robot during the course.
Some students managed to construct some pretty elaborate chariots for the Sphero. However, couldn’t operate because of the extreme weight of the chariot. This would have taught students about balancing weight of the chariot with the maximum power output of the robot.
The Cubelets were such an attraction for the teams that they spent more time on putting the Cubelets together and had less time for building their chariots. Although Edison was supposed to follow the black line, it refused to follow it with any predictability. Also, Dash’s chariots fell apart each they were being tested.
While there are apparently many hiccups during the whole robotics event, it can be seen that it was a brilliant and enjoyable learning experience. The children will inevitably learn with some mentorship as to where they had gone wrong. The idea is basically to “Think, Make, Improve.”
Regardless of the hiccups that the robots faced, they all crossed the finish line and everyone cheered for them. Also, all participating students received a robot Spirit Stick and the Dash Team #1 was awarded the “gold” medal.
For future robot events like this one, it would be great to explain things such as balancing weight with power so that children keep that in mind. They can also learn about better time management in terms of building the chariot structure so that it matches the robot. If they have time they could always test the chariot with a better design through minor changes. This will surely help them at the next “Robot Olympics”.