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Extend Your STEM Robotics Classroom with Robot Virtual Worlds

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Teacher Feedback

Whether you’re just starting a robotics program, or you’ve been teaching robotics for years, you’re probably on the lookout for new and interesting activities to keep your students engaged and learning. Robomatter’s Robot Virtual Worlds, a high-end simulation environment that enables students to learn programming without a physical robot, is a great tool to help.

Palm Island GameThrough classroom environments, competitions environments, and game environments, Robot Virtual Worlds enables you to create a scaffold learning experience to teach students important math, programming, proportional reasoning, and computational thinking skills.

And, by combining Robot Virtual Worlds with our curriculum, you gain access to step-by-step tutorial videos that teach students how to program using motors, sensors and remote control, as well as practice challenges that allow students to apply what they’ve learned in either a virtual or physical robot environment.
Designed to complement a physical robot classroom, Robot Virtual Worlds is a natural fit for teachers who have limited budgets. But, not only does Robot Virtual Worlds help you do more with fewer resources, you can also use it to enhance your students’ STEM experience.

Here are just a few ideas:

Create an In-Class Robotics Competition: Robotics competitions are a great way to motivate students and keep them engaged. But, they also provide a great opportunity to teach important math, programming, proportional reasoning, and computational thinking skills. By using Robot Virtual Worlds in conjunction with our curriculum, you can create a scaffold learning experience for your students that’s both exciting and engaging. The schedule below is just one idea for how you can use an in-class Robot Virtual Worlds competition in your classroom:

RVW_Teaching_Calendar copy

RVW Info 03

Use it as a Pre-Assessment: When students return from summer break, some will have retained all or most of what they learned the previous year. Others will have retained far less. But how do you know? Most teachers work under the assumption that they need to review everything before moving on to a new concept. Using a pre-assessment can help you make intelligent instructional decision about what you need to review and when you can move on. Here’s one way you can use Robot Virtual Worlds as a pre-assessment to direct your instruction: Create a challenge in the Robot Virtual World Level Builder that asks students to utilize different programming concepts. You’ll be able to see what skills the students have retained and what skills you need to review, and that can be a tremendous time-saver.

RVW Info 05

Use it to Manage Students Working at Different Levels: One of the hardest things for a teacher to do is teach to each individual student’s current instructional level. Robot Virtual Worlds can help. Let’s say you have a student who is struggling to learn some of the beginning ROBOTC concepts and another that is breezing through the curriculum. With Robot Virtual Worlds, you can easily differentiate instruction by using the Robot Virtual World Level Builder to create a challenge for each student. Additionally, if students are working in Palm Island or Operation Reset, you can have one student program their robot to make turns while using timing, and have the other student use the Gyro Sensor. That means you can differentiate instruction within the SAME lesson.

RVW Info 02

Assign Robotics Homework: One of the problems with using physical robots alone is that there often aren’t enough robots for each student to have their own. And, even if there were, you might not want to have students take the robots home, for all sorts of reasons. With Robot Virtual Worlds and the Homework Pack, you can easily assign robotics homework without having to worry about managing the logistics of physical robots. The Homework Pack allows students to have their own individual licenses to use Robot Virtual Worlds at home. The Homework Packs also come in handy for students who have missed class and need to make up work.

Measurement

Mathematize Solutions: With the Robot Virtual Worlds Measurement Toolkit, students don’t need to guess how far a robot needs to travel to solve programming problems. With intelligent path planning and navigation, you can have students do the math, show their work, and explain how they solved the problem.

RVW Info 04

Get New Students up to Speed: As teachers, your days are filled with the unexpected. One of the most challenging surprises is when you are told that you will have a new student in class because the student just moved to your district. Your class may be three or four months into the ROBOTC curriculum, and your new student may have no ROBOTC or programming experience. Here is where Robot Virtual Worlds came be a lifesaver. Instead of having the new student jump into whatever challenge your students are doing with physical robots, you can have the new student watch the lessons from the ROBOTC Curriculum and complete the challenges in the Curriculum Companion Pack. After the student begins to learn some ROBOTC basics, he or she can be introduced to the challenge that the rest of class is working on.

Go to robotvirtualworlds.com to learn more and get started with a free, 10-day trial!

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Written by Cara Friez

September 1st, 2015 at 6:15 am

You spoke, we listened!

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Webinar Series

We’re here to help you make the most of your school year. That’s why we’re making some small tweaks to our webinar schedule, based on your feedback. To help you guys gear up for the competition season, we’re making the following changes:

  • Wednesday, September 9: Using ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Worlds to prepare for VEX Competitions
  • Tuesday, September 29: CS2N Automated Assessment Tools
  • Tuesday, October 21st: Using Robot Virtual Worlds in the Classroom

Read more about each webinars here!

Visit robotc.net/hangouts to join. In the meantime, if you have any questions, visit our forums for lots of great discussions and tips about Robot Virtual Worlds, ROBOTC, and competitions!

Written by Cara Friez

August 26th, 2015 at 11:02 am

5 Tips to Help You Streamline Your STEM Robotics Classroom

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Blog - 5 Tips STEM

Running a STEM robotics classroom can seem a little overwhelming, especially if resources are tight. How can you keep your classroom running smoothly if you don’t have a lot of resources? It’s easier than you might think. Here are a few tips to help:

Screenshot-2014-01-15_14.12.031. Use virtual robots. Virtual robots, like Robot Virtual Worlds, are a great way to add to your robotics classroom without adding to your costs. Designed to supplement physical robots, Robot Virtual Worlds allows you to teach robotics with fewer robots and more easily organize and keep track of your classroom.

You can also more easily mange students who are working at different levels, assign robotics homework, and use simulated fantasy worlds to capture students’ imaginations and make learning fun. Visit robotvirtualworlds.com to get started with a free 10-day trial.

 

2. Explore grants and other funding options. Curious about grants but don’t know where to start? There are a lot of grants and funding for STEM teachers, if you only know where to look.

Project Lead The Way has a great list of grants, as well as some information on citizen philanthropy on its site.  And, Edutopia’s “Big List of Educational Grants and Resources” page is also worth a visit.

 

CMU RA copy3. Take advantage of free resources. While this one seems obvious, it’s not always obvious where to go for quality resources. STEM is a hot topic right now, which means there’s a lot to sort through on the internet. Here are just a few of the free resources we like:

There are a lot of great webinars, blogs, and forums as well. For example, you can check out our Back-to-School Webinar Series or join the discussion on our forums.

 

4. Invest in training. Investing in the right training will help you get the most out of your STEM classroom. Because STEM requires students to take a more active role in their learning process, look for training programs that provide practical, hands-on experience to help you manage your STEM classroom and maximize your resources.

By partnering with Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy, Robomatter is able to offer a full line of training for STEM robotics teachers. Click here to learn more about online and onsite training for VEX and LEGO platforms.

 

Uncomplicate 25. Take advantage of contests and giveaways. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to get free stuff. There are lots of organizations who want to help STEM teachers and students. Take a look at these sites for some ideas:

Written by Cara Friez

August 25th, 2015 at 6:30 am

Join Us for the Back to School Webinar Series – UPDATED!

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Webinar Series 2

To make sure you’re ready to take on the school year, we’ll be hosting a series of webinars to help you get your robotics classroom up and running. Check out our webinar schedule below and visit http://robotc.net/hangouts to join!

 

  • You may have heard about Robot Virtual Worlds, a high-end simulation environment that enables students to learn programming without a physical robot. But, how do you use it in the classroom? Join this webinar to learn the many ways Robot Virtual Worlds can help you simplify and extend your robotics classroom.

 

  • CS2N Assessment Tools: September 29 @ 7:00 pm EDT
  • We know that all teachers love grading, right? Computer Science Student Network’s (CS2N) Automated Assessment allows teachers to keep track of their students’ submissions, scores, and progress. Learn how to create a CS2N Group for your different classrooms, import student rosters, automatically track progress of Robot Virtual Worlds, and how to utilize some of the free courses offered through CS2N

 

  • ROBOTC is the most used language for the VEX IQ Challenge, and for the VEX Robotics Competition. Robot Virtual Worlds provides a virtual environment for robotics teams to learn the program. Put the two together and you have a powerful combination that can help your team be competition-ready. And, you also have a great way to provide open-ended programming challenge for students of all abilities, whether those students will be competing or not. Learn more in this great webinar!  

 

If you can’t make a webinar, don’t worry! Each webinar will be recorded, post here, and posted on  http://robotc.net/hangouts the following day. Check out the past webinars below …

  • Getting started with ROBOTC for PLTW: August 19 @ 7:00 pm EDT
  • Learn everything you need to know about getting your PLTW robotics classroom up and running with ROBOTC. This C-based programming language has an easy-to-use development environment and is the premier robotics programming language for educational robotics and competitions. 

(Starts at 1:56)

Written by Cara Friez

August 14th, 2015 at 10:43 am

Uncomplicate Your Classroom with Robot Virtual Worlds!

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Teach Faster Flexible

You’ve probably heard of Robot Virtual Worlds, a high-end simulation environment that enables students to learn programming, even if they don’t have direct access to a physical robot. But what are the benefits of Robot Virtual Worlds and how can you use it in your classroom?

Robot Virtual Worlds is a great tool for you, your students, and your classroom. Our infographic shows just a few of the ways Robot Virtual Worlds can help you uncomplicate your classroom by:

  • Helping you teach more efficiently with fewer resources
  • Lowering the cost of staring a robotics classroom
  • Managing students working at different levels
  • Keeping students engaged
  • Capturing authentic assessment and tracking individual student progress

 

 
Robot Virtual Worlds is not designed to replace your physical robots. Instead, it’s designed to help you enhance what you’re already doing in your classroom, and help you teach faster and more efficiently with fewer resources. Looking for ideas on how you can use Robot Virtual Worlds in your classroom? Here are just a few:

  • Have students use Robot Virtual Worlds to test their code before working with a physical robot
  • Use Robot Virtual Worlds to assign robotics homework
  • Use Robot Virtual Worlds to create your own virtual challenges
  • Use simulated fantasy worlds to capture students’ attention and make learning fun
  • Provide a virtual environment for robotics teams to learn to program

You can also check out these real-world stories from teachers who have used Robot Virtual Worlds in their classroom:

Palisades Middle School

Read about how Palisades Middle School is using Robot Virtual Worlds to teach 8th grade students how to build and program a robot through collaborative teamwork

Hopewell Area School District

Learn how a teacher in the Hopewell Area School District used Robot Virtual Worlds to challenge students to apply the basics of ROBOTC programming while also asking them to come up with unique strategies for solving an open-ended challenge
 

Want to learn more about using Robot Virtual Worlds in your classroom? Tune into our “Using Robot Virtual Worlds in the PLTW Classroom” webinar on Wednesday, September 9th at 7:00 pm EDT.

 

Written by Cara Friez

August 12th, 2015 at 9:28 pm

2015 ROBOTC Nighthawk Robotic Camp

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IMG_5681From July 14th thru July 27th students with China ROBOTC have been attending The 2015 ROBOTC Nighthawk Robotic Camp hosted by the World and California State Champion Nighthawks Robotics Club, at Murrieta Valley High School. The students are being instructed by Mr. Kevin Bradley, the instructor and coach for the Nighthawk Robotics Club, and Franz Froehlich, a MVHS student which during the summer of 2014 instructed a VEX camp in China for the China ROBOTC company. During the camp students began learning to program robots through the ROBOTC Virtual Worlds. The students are then able to take what they have learned in the virtual world and transfer it into the physical world by building and programing robots to complete challenges set before them by the Nighthawk Robotics Club.

 

 

Through this camp the students will be able to apply their newly gained knowledge to complete the iSTEM robotics challenge events. As well as get the experience and knowledge to prepare them for the new VEX game “Nothing but Net”.

– Terry Sy

Written by Cara Friez

August 10th, 2015 at 7:10 am

PLTW Teachers – Uncomplicate your Classroom!

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PLTW Twitter

Robomatter is pleased to support Project Lead The Way (PLTW) schools and teachers! We want you to make the most of your school year with the PLTW Upgrade Pack.

Learn More!

The PLTW Upgrade Pack Includes:

 

RVW Video Player

Robot Virtual Worlds

Designed to enhance your physical robot classroom, Robot Virtual Worlds is a high-end simulation environment that enables students to learn programming without a physical robot.

 

 

 

 

ROBOTC Graphical

ROBOTC Graphical Interface

ROBOTC Graphical uses the same Natural Language commands you’re used to, but with an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface.

 

 

 

 

VEX IQ

Program VEX CORTEX and VEX IQ Robots with One Language

With the PLTW Upgrade Pack, you can program both VEX CORTEX and VEX IQ robots using the same ROBOTC programming language!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want access to Robot Virtual Worlds, ROBOTC Graphical, and VEX IQ Programming?

Upgrade Your PLTW Classroom today, for only $249!

 

The upgrade includes access for 100 seats for the entire school year.

 

Written by Cara Friez

August 5th, 2015 at 7:00 am

VEX CORTEX Trainer: Using the LCD

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VEX Cortex Trainer The latest chapter within the VEX CORTEX Video Trainer Curriculum is now available … Using the LCD! Located in the Sensing section, this chapter covers how to configure and implement the LCD as a useful tool in your program.

Some of the lessons you’ll learn within this chapter includes:

  • Three steps to using the LCD

  • Displaying a custom message

  • How to display continuously updating values

  • How to use the LCD to debug your program

 

VEX LCD

 
Check out one of the chapter videos here:

 

Check out the entire curriculum here!

Written by Cara Friez

July 20th, 2015 at 6:35 am

Robomatter SnapCAD Video Tutorials

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SnapCADVEX Robotics recently released a brand new, free software called, SnapCAD, which is a community-built solution for designing virtual VEX IQ models. SnapCAD is a great option to test out a novel idea in the virtual world before building it physically, or to share your creations with the world in the form of step-by-step build instructions!

We at Robomatter want to help you get started with an introductory set of tutorials videos! The videos cover the workspace configuration, creating a new model and adding parts. VEX has included pre-build models of all four VEX IQ Starter Kit robots, so we walk you through where they are and how to include them. The final three videos touch on part selection, positioning, rotation, and what the grid does.

 

Download SnapCAD for free here! Then check out our tutorial playlist below or on our YouTube channel.

And don’t forget about the VEX IQ Summer Build Contest where you could win a $250 promo code to use in the VEX IQ store!

Written by Cara Friez

July 9th, 2015 at 6:45 am

ROBOTC and Science Week in China

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IMG_3433In China, there’s a week dedicated to science and our China ROBOTC team was there to participate in the big event! “Science Week” is an annual nationwide event where students are encouraged to attend their area science and technology center to feel and see the latest development and innovation of the technical world.

“Beijing Science Week” is the largest exhibition in China. By winning the 2015 VEX World Champion title in VEX IQ programing challenge, China ROBOTC team was the only robotic educational institution invited to showcase the VEX IQ robot and Maker idea with the powerful ROBOTC programming software.

As honorable guest of the event,  Professor Kim Hyatt and Labash from CMU visited China ROBOTC booth and joined the award ceremony of Beijing Science Week in China.

As honorable guest of the event, Professor Kim Hyatt and Labash from CMU visited China ROBOTC booth and joined the award ceremony of Beijing Science Week in China.

At the closing event, China ROBOTC VEX IQ was awarded with the most popular demo by the crowd and Terry Sy, director of China ROBOTC, was awarded with Science Week Event Ambassador. Congrats to everyone involved!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Cara Friez

July 7th, 2015 at 9:56 am