Can you program a robot long distance using your knowledge & measurement of exterior and interior angles of a polygon? Can you use you math skills to solve a problem under pressure?
This project connection started out with the students in New York sharing angle measurements with the Benton Harbor class. Then after some introductions, the Benton Harbor class input the angles into their robot, "Sam." Unfortunately the robot rejected the numbers, so the New York class had to recheck their math. After getting the numbers so the robot would accept them, Sam traced the angles of the polygon and got it almost right. Then they tried one more time and traced the polygon correctly.
Then the classes discussed how Sam was made. "Sam" is a kit from MathMachines.com. A couple of students in New York immediately looked up the website online!
Next the class in New York shared information about their Robolab robots. Our Benton Harbor students started up Robolab on their computer and the students in New York taught them how to use the software. The students in New York explained the software and then walked them through programming the robot to move around a rectangle. After programming, they tested the robot locally.
Students used so many academic skills in this program:
- Math skills: measuring, estimating, adding & subtracting, working with angles, problem solving
- Presentation skills: explaining their robot's setup to the other class, teaching the software to the other class
- Communication skills: speaking clearly, listening to the instructions from the other class/teacher, and working in groups.
A group of teachers and administrators were also visiting the New York class, as well as a news team. The teacher in New York was excellent at multi-tasking! What a great example of multiple uses of technology within a project based learning environment.
This whole project was planned by the two teachers. The distance learning coordinators involved just helped get everything connected. This is happening to me more & more – my teachers are the ones dreaming up the project. They just need help getting a partner & getting connected. My goal is to increase this type of videoconferencing in my districts!