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STEM Labs
Changing Velocity

Teacher Portal

Now that the build is finished, explore and see what it can do. Then answer these questions in your engineering notebook.

  • Why does the Autopilot have four wheels instead of only two? Why is having four wheels better?

  • VEX IQ calls their motors Smart Motors. Why do you think they call them smart? What might VEX IQ Smart Motors do that would make them seem smart?

  • Should the Autopilot always drive as fast as it can? Why or why not? Give at least one example of when it should drive its fastest and at least one example of when it should drive more slowly.

Teacher Toolbox icon Teacher Toolbox - Answers

  • The Autopilot was designed with four wheels for many reasons and students might name any of them. But, this question is intended to get students thinking about how the four-wheeled drivetrain design leads to the Autopilot’s stability. Answers related to widening the base of the robot, giving it more traction, or even simply making it bigger than a two-wheeled robot should all be connected to its stability.

  • Students can guess and speculate in many fun ways. A good guess is that they are smart because they can be programmed. The actual answer is that a Smart Motor includes encoders that collect feedback about the motor’s performance and adjust its performance as needed to meet the demands of the programming block. That’s what makes them smart. There will be some more information about this later when discussion setting the motor’s velocity.

  • Students should recognize that like a car, a robot should not always move at the same velocity. The Autopilot’s velocity should be adjusted to meet the demands of the task. When racing another robot or a clock, then yes, the velocity can be maximized. But if moving through tight spaces, across narrow passages, or any task requiring precision, the Autopilot’s velocity should be reduced.

Extend Your Learning icon Extend Your Learning - Building an Obstacle

Students can build an object using the pieces remaining in their kit.

Ask the students to use the remaining pieces to build a structure that the Autopilot robot will have to move around. Give some examples to the students including a wall the robot will have to turn around, a small bridge that the robot will have to travel under or a small ramp that the robot will have to drive over. Encourage students to think about how changing the robot’s velocity would affect it moving around these objects.

Ask the students to first brainstorm their ideas in their engineering notebook before building. Encourage students to take notes as they build on why they chose to build their objects using certain pieces.

Encourage students to keep the following questions in mind as they build, “is your structure strong enough to support the robot moving around, under or over it?” “why did you use the specific pieces that you did?”