Archive for the ‘PLTW’ tag
This is my third year teaching, but my first time working with Project Lead The Way (PLTW) and a robotics course. After accepting this assignment, I was extremely nervous. I did not study robotics in college, and I had never, ever pictured myself in this role. But I am so very happy to have taken on this challenge.
My favorite part about teaching this class is the atmosphere and expectations that I set up with this class and my students. From the first day of school, I was completely honest with the kids. I broke down the walls of the normal teacher-student relationship where the teacher is looked at as the bearer of all knowledge and all knowledge is passed down from the teacher to the students. I created a culture where students and their knowledge are equally valued and as important as the teacher’s. This led to a culture of mutual respect and collaboration. I, as the teacher, was not viewed as the bearer of all knowledge, but as a helpful resource to rely on when problems arose. The most important part of creating this culture is setting up those expectations from the beginning of school.
The major theme from this class was “Problem-Solving”. I would present students with a variety of real-world scenarios and they would have to think of a design to solve that problem. They would work in groups of 2 to 4 students to create, construct, and program these robots to solve the problems I presented to them. This allowed for A LOT of different interpretations and ways to solve these problems, which was awesome!
Several key strategies that I incorporated into the class that proved to be successful were: purposeful grouping, incorporating student choice, and using students in a teacher’s role to help other students who needed more assistance. I incorporated a “Menus” style of teaching and learning. Students would be purposefully grouped into groups of 2-4 and then they would be presented with 3 different levels of activities: Appetizer, Main Meal, and Dessert. Within each level, students would have to choose 1 task out of 3 or 4 different options. As a group, students would choose which task to complete. Once decided, students would work as a group to design, build, and program the robot to complete the task. I would watch the robot perform the task, sign off on their paper, and they would move on to the next part of the menu. The activities got progressively more difficult as students moved from the Appetizer to the Main Meal to the Dessert level, with the Dessert level activities being the most difficult.
As we get ready to begin with the second semester, I cannot help but think about how much I have learned and how better of a teacher that I have become because of teaching this class. Some future ideas I have are the creation of a “Girls in STEM Club”. The purpose of this being opening girls’ eyes to future careers and possibilities associated with this class and the STEM ideals. Also, possibly creating a VEX Competition Robotics club where students would meet after school to construct robots to participate in VEX Robotics competitions. One thing that I realized early on in my teaching career is how much teachers learn from their students. Teaching this class has been one of the best learning experiences of my life.
– Ross Hartley
If you’re a teacher or robotics coach and would like to write a blog about your experiences teaching, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We are at the 2014 PLTW Summit in Indianapolis this week! Stop by our booth to say hi and ask us questions.
We also have our latest iPad app, Robot Virtual Worlds Expedition Atlantis, available to try out.
And there is a ROBOTC Maze Challenge where you can program a VEX IQ robot using ROBOTC Graphical.
We look forward to seeing everyone!
From the project page:
“The Vex Claw Game was chosen as our project for the first semester because we could really use it to promote engineering throughout the community. It’s not only fun and exciting, but it also incorporates each of the Project Lead The Way classes that we offer at Walker Career Center. Parts from the claw game include many skills that we have learned during out time in PLTW including constructing structures with Vex parts, programming, rapid prototyping, CO2 laser cutting, and wiring. This project took us around 3 months of in school time to complete.”
To read more about the project and see how it was built from the ground up, visit their project page here.
On behalf of the ROBOTC team, job well done!
Do you get hungry? Do you enjoy eating food more than you enjoy making food? If you answered “Yes!” to both of those questions, you’ll be happy to know that the future engineers of America have you covered.
Students from two Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Schools have integrated the sensing and control capabilities of the VEX Cortex Robotics system with the advanced articulation capabilities of the LynxMotion Robotics system to create highly capable (and delicious) assembly lines.
The first two videos are brought to us by students in a Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) class at Kings High School in California.
Robotic Sandwich Factory:
Buttered Toast Factory (complete with real-life toaster):
The work behind the last two videos was done by students in another CIM class at Lancaster High School in New York.
Coffee Manufacturing Line:
Widget Assembly Line:
Well done to all the students involved, and to the instructors that inspired them. Keep up the great work!
If you’re looking for more information, additional videos and explanation can be found on their respective YouTube channels.