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Movement Challenge

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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 would you use Autopilot in your daily life? What tasks could the robot accomplish?

  2. Think about the different sensors on the Autopilot and explain how these sensors could help solve a problem in your daily life. (Example: The distance sensor could help find walls in my apartment when it’s vacuuming).

  3. Think back to constructing Autopilot, what advice would you give to someone that is starting the build?

  4. Think about a place you go in our school every day. Write down 3-5 steps to get you to that place from here, as if you were explaining it to a friend.

Teacher Toolbox icon Teacher Toolbox - Answers

  1. Answers may vary when discussing how robots could be used in daily life. Remember to use modeling examples such as the Uber Self-driving car or the Roomba that vacuums carpets.

  2. Answers for the mapping task will vary but center around students being able to spatially grasp how to give directions and navigate through a virtual task. If students struggle, implore them to draw out the map, marking the turns with arrows like forward, reverse, left and right.

  3. The difference from robots to people is that robots will perform the command without compromising the mission. With this knowledge, you can tell students that if their calculations are wrong, the robot might drive into the wall.

Extend Your Learning icon Extend Your Learning

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

  • Ask students to share their directions (3-5 steps) to a familiar place in school.

  • Ask students to now go back and use direction words like forward, backward, left and right.

  • Guide students to spatially think about their mapping skills in terms of measurement. Ask students, “Did you use units of measurement? If so, why?”

  • Give students time to revise their directions with measurement words such as inches and feet.

  • Guide students to think about how these directions would be different with a robot.

  • Ask students, “How would you change your directions if you gave them to a robot? What would you need to break down differently? Rewrite 2 of the steps to show this change.”

  • Give students time to rewrite. Walk around facilitating troubleshooting if students still need help.

  • Allow students to share finished steps using a robot this time to go to the familiar place in the school.

  • Share with students how spatial reasoning relates to computational thinking like spelling relates to reading. When we think in images, it’s easier to code. This is because the idea of coding becomes real and hands on. We can talk about robots using code on a screen, and similarly we can equally think of that same code spatially in an area such as a classroom.

    The connection of computational thinking (thinking in code) and spatial reasoning (seeing the code) has positive impacts on a person’s ability to understand coding in a tangible way. Ultimately, we are teaching students to discover solutions computationally which is critical to solving the complex problems found in the world today. Thinking of those problems specifically with spatial reasoning is the ideal outcome.

  • Give students time to listen to others directions to familiar places around the school.

  • If time remains, pick one student’s directions and have the class act out the directions as if the class were robots.