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Drive Forward and Reverse

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

  1. How do you think the Autopilot could be used as a tool for measurement?

  2. If you didn’t have a ruler to measure how far the Autopilot robot moved, which VEX piece would you choose to act as a measuring stick? Why?

  3. Looking at the Autopilot robot, how many pieces do you think you used to build it? Record your guess and why you chose that number in your engineering notebook.

Teacher Toolbox icon Teacher Toolbox - Answers

  1. Answers may vary but could include wanting the Autopilot to move to a specific point and then measuring how far it went, or you could “tell” (program) it to move a certain distance.

  2. Students could choose to use any VEX piece as a measuring tool with a number of justifications. Students might choose a short piece for accuracy, or a long piece to easily measure long distances. Some students may note the gray beams would be good because you could also use the holes to measure partial distances.

  3. Students could answer any number for their guess. There are 154 pieces in the Autopilot robot, and students could guess more or fewer pieces depending on their reasoning. For an additional exercise on estimation, see the Extend Your Learning below.

Extend Your Learning icon Extend Your Learning - Estimating

Estimation is an important skill for students to practice. As a class, work through the following activity using the third Exploration question.

  • Ask students to share their guesses on how many pieces are in the Autopilot robot, and write them on the board.

  • Order the estimations from smallest to largest. Ask students to identify where their guess is within the set.

  • Ask students how they came up with their guess. Students will respond with a variety of answers.

  • Guide students to think about how to systematically estimate the number of pieces. This could include:

    • Identifying the number of steps, and estimating an average number of parts per step. This would require multiplication to find the final estimate.

    • Listing the type of parts, and estimating how many pieces there were of each part. This would require addition.

    • Students could add their own ideas on how they could systematically estimate.

  • Give students time to revise their estimates, and ask them to record them in their engineering notebooks.

  • Ask students to share their new estimates, and list them on the board once again.

  • Reveal the exact number of parts, and see who was close to the real number.