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Robotics Back to School Blog Series

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SCHOOL-BUS-DRIVERIt is that time of year again … backpacks on our backs, buses on the streets, and lessons being planned. Yes, we are going back to school! To kick start the school year, we are introducing a six week robotics back to school blog series that highlights the technical and pedagogical side of planning for your robotics classroom. John Watson, from ROBOTC customer support, and Jason McKenna, a K-8 Gifted Support Teacher in the Hopewell Area School District outside of Pittsburgh, PA, will be sharing with you tips, tricks, advice, and recommendations on prepping your robotics classroom and curriculum.

As each blog is posted, the topics below will turn into hyperlinks, so feel free to bookmark this page!

Topics

If you have any questions or would like to start a conversation on any of the topics, feel free to leave us a comment below!

Robothon – Beacons and Barriers Level Design

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The robot marathon has started!  As the large autonomous vehicle drives down the empty street, it decides when and where to turn.  The bot navigates through the streets, using the dashed lines as guides.  There are a lot of potential wrong turns that it avoids as it rolls by houses and picnic tables.  Eventually, it drives under the banner at the finish line much to the programmer’s delight.

Did this happen in your town?  Maybe!  In fact it might be happening in your town right now because it’s not a physical robot – but a virtual robot driving through a virtual town!

 
Contest Overview

Beacons & Barriers competition imageThis is a game level created by Robotics Academy high school intern, Eddie, for the Beacons and Barriers level design competition.  Eddie used Autodesk Inventor to create some of the models and imported them into the Robot Virtual Worlds Level Builder.

The competition asks participants to create a level for RVW Level Builder, including Checkpoints and obstacles, through which players will navigate a robot.  In addition, participants must write instructions for the level.

How He Created the Level

Eddie used the design process discussed in the Computer Science Student Network’s (CS2N) course for level design called Create Your Own Level with RVW Level Builder.

brainstorm notes about level written with pen and paper

This process starts with brainstorming and research.  He jotted his notes on a piece of paper.  You’ll notice in the image that the drawings are not perfect, that some things were crossed out.  That’s perfectly fine – in fact – that’s what you want to do.

The process of jotting your ideas on paper allows you to see ideas.  If they aren’t good or they won’t work like you thought they might, then you can modify them or come up with ones that will work.  Notice how Eddie crossed out the first drawing with the curved road?  He realized that roads might be easier to construct if they were straight.

Eddie then mapped out his level – showing the start tile, finish tile, checkpoints, and obstacles (in this case: grass).  He then drew how the tiles should look.  Afterward, he modeled the tiles using Autodesk Inventor.  The Inventor Tutorials course on CS2N was helpful in showing him, step by step, how to create an object, export it and then import it into RVW Level Builder.

map drawn with pen and graph papertiles drawn with pen and graph paperscreenshot of road tile in Inventor

Once he made his level, Eddie tested it and wrote down ideas for ways to test it.  He then gave the level to a peer to test.  The test results proved that the level worked well and wasn’t too hard.

For the last phase, Eddie wrote the instructions for the level, zipped the level and the instructions into the same folder and submitted it to the competition.

How You Can Create Your Own Level

This was Eddie’s first time using the RVW Level Builder and he has had limited experience using Autodesk Inventor.  He learned how to use these programs by enrolling in free courses at www.cs2n.org.  You can too!  And since they are online, you can learn at your own pace

Check out the courses:

Introduction to Inventor – Learn the basics of Inventor.

portal for Create Your Own Level for Robot Virtual Worlds

Create Your Own Level with RVW Level Builder – From ideation to product release, learn how to create levels using the RVW Level Builder.

portal for Inventor Tutorials

Inventor Tutorials – Step by step instructions on creating an object in inventor and importing it into RVW Level Builder.

 

 

 

 

 

Once your level is complete, upload it to one of our level design competitions on CS2N.

Written by Luke Reynolds

August 16th, 2013 at 5:37 pm

New RVW Level Build Tutorial at CS2N

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Create-Own-Level-BuilderWe are happy to announce a new course on CS2N, Create Your Own Level with RVW Level Builder. In this new course, you will go through the steps of making your own custom level inRobot Virtual Worlds‘ Level Builder!

The class is structured on a 5-phase version of the engineering process (Concept, Design, Production, Testing, Release). In each phase, you will take a further step towards completing your level, either through planning, creating, or testing your level.

 
 
 
 


 
 

Beacons-and-BarriersLevel Builder enables users to easily create levels and challenges for others to solve. Teachers can create custom challenges for their classrooms or generate unique challenges for each student. Multiple real and fantasy themed robots and objects are available for use. You can also import your own objects with the 3D Model Importer. Your level plays like any other virtual world. You can access all of the motors and sensors on the virtual robot to solve the challenge using ROBOTC code.

Sign up for CS2N and this FREE course today - Create Your Own Level with RVW Level Builder. And don’t forget we have a Level Builder competition going on until August 31, 2013, Beacons and Barriers, with a chance to win some great prizes!!
 
 
 

Summer of Learning Leaderboards are Live

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Robotics-LeaderboardWe are happy to announce that the leaderboards for the Robotics Summer of Learning competitions are live! Each leaderboard shows the overall scores as well as the leaders in each division. The results are real-time, so check back often to see where you stand. The competitions run until August 31, 2013.

Leaderboards

VEX Toss Up

FTC Ring it Up!

 

 

Divisions

  • Middle School Division - 6th to 8th Grade (for the 2013-2014 School Year)
  • High School Division - 9th to 12th Grade (for the 2013-2014 School Year)
  • Open Division - Teachers, Mentors, Coaches, Educators, Hobbyists, Everyone!

Prizes

FTC-Prizes

VEX-Prizes

The official rules are listed on the official Robotics Summer of Learning page.

Written by Cara Friez

July 24th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

ROBOTC Teacher – Jeff Maxwell

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JeffMaxwellWe’ve featured a couple of robotics students the last few weeks, but this week we showcase a robotics teacher who uses ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Worlds in the classroom. Check out Jeff Maxwell’s interview on why and how he uses Robot Virtual Worlds with his students …

 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Sneak Preview: RVW Expedition Atlantis

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Atlantis01Happy Friday! I thought it might be nice to end the week with a little sneak preview into our newest Robot Virtual World game, “Expedition Atlantis: A Calculated Deep Sea Adventure.” We are still working on it, so things might change, but wanted to share an inside look. The game and curriculum will be available this Fall. Check back for more info soon!

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Written by Cara Friez

July 12th, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Earn a ROBOTC Student Certification this Summer for FREE!

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ROBOTC CertificationEvery student who completes a ROBOTC Summer of Learning course will have the opportunity to take a ROBOTC Student Certification Exam! This certificate will represent a student’s programming and robot problem solving accomplishments.

Throughout the course, the student will earn badges as they successfully complete challenges. Each badge contains information to help others understand what a student knows: who awarded it, who recognizes it, when they earned it, links to example student code, their videos, their scores, the types of questions they answered, or other information designed to show off their accomplishments.
 

Badge Pathway

At the very end of the course, students will have the opportunity to take an exam. This certification exam will consist of 125 questions to be completed in 100 minutes. Students will need to earn a score of 70% or higher in order to earn the certification.

Every student enrolled in one of our Robotics Summer of Learning class will have the option of taking the ROBOTC for LEGO or the ROBOTC for VEX student certification exam. Sign up for a class today:

LEGO Icon 3VEX Icon 3 copy
 

And don’t forget about our free ROBOTC live training, starting Monday, June 17th:

Summer of Learning

 

Written by Cara Friez

June 14th, 2013 at 6:09 pm

FREE Summer of Learning ROBOTC Online Classes Start on Monday!

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Live TrainingStarting Monday, June 17th, our free online classes will begin for the Robotics Summer of Learning. The ROBOTC team will show you the best ways to get started using ROBOTC and answer your questions LIVE! The goals for these classes is to support you, our users, and help you earn a ROBOTC certification!

The classes and Q&A sessions will take place throughout the summer on WebEx at the times listed below. The length of the class will be based on how many questions we need to answer.

 
 

VEX
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 11:00am EDT
 
LEGO
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 12:00pm EDT

**Classes will be recorded and posted online after each session.**

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How to Sign Up:

1. Register for Summer of Learning - Choose one of the following Robotics Summer of Learning Courses and sign up!

LEGO Icon 3VEX Icon 3 copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Choose a WebEx Course - Join your choice of WebEx courses 30 minutes before scheduled course begins:

VEX
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 11:00am EDT

LEGO
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 12:00pm EDT

If you would like to ask questions during the live class, make sure to have a USB headset. You can also submit your questions before and during each class through the ROBOTC forum or our social media sites.

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Official RSOL Prizes Announced! 

Robotics Prize
Don’t forget, you can win some great prizes if you compete in one of our ROBOTC Robot Virtual Worlds Challenges! We will be giving away VEX IQ and NXT Kits; ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Worlds licenses; and two $1000 scholarships.
Sign-up Today!

Prizes for the Robotics Summer of Learning Announced!

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Robotics PrizeWe are very happy to announce the official prizes for the Robotics Summer of Learning competitions! We will be giving away VEX IQ and NXT Kits; ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Worlds licenses; and two $1000 scholarships. There will be three competitions eligible for prizes: CS2N VEX Toss Up Challenge, CS2N FTC “Ring It Up!” Challenge, and Robot Virtual Worlds Beacons and Barriers.

Each competition will be broken up into three divisions. Each player is eligible for only one prize per competition. The official rules are listed on the official Robotics Summer of Learning page.

Competitions are open now, so sign up today!
 

 

Divisions

  • Middle School Division – 6th to 8th Grade (for the 2013-2014 School Year)
  • High School Division - 9th to 12th Grade (for the 2013-2014 School Year)
  • Open Division - Teachers, Mentors, Coaches, Educators, Hobbyists, Everyone!

 
Prizes

VEX Prizes FTC PrizesLevel Builder Prizes

The official rules are listed on the official Robotics Summer of Learning page.

Start programming today for your chance at these awesome prizes!
 

Robot designed by Drew Ellis from The Noun Project and the Trophy is from The Noun Project.

 

Beacons & Barriers Level Building Competition has Begun!

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Get ready to create all new levels in the Robot Virtual Worlds’ Level Builder! Sign up for Beacons and Barriers, the Robotics Summer of Learning level design competition.

 

Beacons and Barriers is a design competition primarily intended for kids aged 12-18, but open to all, that is focused on creating fun and challenging levels using the Robot Virtual Worlds’ (RVW) Level Builder and Model Importer.  In addition, the participants will write a succinct and easy to read set of instructions for completing the level. The competition is hosted online at the Computer Science Student Network (CS2N).

This competition offers a unique opportunity for students to create levels and get feedback from their peers. They will also give feedback on their peers’ work.  Everyone learns not only how to evaluate projects logically, but also how to effectively communicate their assessment.

Entries will be judged based upon their difficulty, uniqueness, length, and fun factor. Their instructions will be judged on their ease of comprehension and grammatical correctness. The project’s final score for the competition will be based on the scores given by their peer reviewers.

There will be three divisions for this competition: Middle School, High School, and Open. The top five in each division will win the prizes listed below. Students in Middle School and High School who place in the top five will need to submit verification from their school about the grade they will be entering in for the 2013-2014 school year.  The top entries from the competition will also be highlighted in a blog post after the competition, and the 1st place level will be posted on future CS2N Level building competitions as a benchmark for success.

Level-Builder-Prizes1

Divisions
- Middle School Division – 6th to 8th Grade (for the 2013-2014 School Year)
- High School Division – 9th to 12th Grade (for the 2013-2014 School Year)
- Open Division – Teachers, Mentors, Coaches, Educators, Hobbyists, Everyone!

Registration for the Beacons and Barriers level building challenge is available now, and is open to all members of the CS2N community.

Registering is easy:

1. Visit the Beacons and Barriers Main Page

2. Login to your account or register for CS2N.

3. Click on the box under “Step 1: Register.”

The final level file and instructions are due by August 31st, 2013. Don’t forget to look at the rubric that your level and instructions will be evaluated on. The files must be submitted in a zipped folder containing the .rvl file for your level and either a .pdf, .rtf, or .txt file that contains your instructions.

If you have any questions, whether it is about the RVW level editor, the competition, or how to do things like zip files, create pdfs, and so on, send your question to CS2N through “Contact Us
We’ll do our best to respond to your question as soon as possible.

Remember: The competition does not end with the submission of files. Participants must grade and give feedback on other projects during the first two weeks of September (September 1st until September 14th, 2013). Each participant will have 5 other projects that they must review and give feedback.  Participants will not be able to win prizes if they do not complete their evaluations. After the evaluation period ends, participants may choose to give their evaluators feedback on how useful their evaluation was.

The final winners of the competition will be announced on October 1st, 2013