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The User Interface Challenge asks students to program the Check, Up, and Down buttons on the robot's brain to control the Clawbot's arm and claw. This requires programming the Clawbot to react in different ways depending on the button or buttons pressed. This challenge culminates in a game where students have to try to grab, lift, lower, and release as many objects as possible in one-minute rounds. Further details of the rules can be found on the page for the User Interface Challenge.

There are not many materials needed for this challenge except for the selection of a variety of ten objects that students will need to grab, lift, and return to where they were. You should provide or at least screen the objects to be grabbed, lifted, lowered, and released during this challenge because they will need to be objects that are safe for possible dropping. Also, remember to provide any rubric(s) prior to beginning work on this challenge so that students understand how their work will be scored. Rubrics to score pseudocode (Google / .docx / .pdf), engineering notebooks (individual (Google / .docx / .pdf) or team (Google / .docx / .pdf)), and programming (Google / .docx / .pdf) are all available and linked again later in this section.

To set up this challenge, have the students work in small groups of four. Ask the students to then find a group to work with, or pair the groups yourself if time is limited. The students should create a group name or number that can be used as their Clawbot ID. When the students are organized into small groups, ensure that they have their Clawbot ready with their project downloaded and ready to run. Ask the students to make sure their project runs properly (opening the claw, closing the claw, raising the arm, lowering the arm).

Assign students to the roles of lifter, scorekeeper, switcher, and timekeeper.

Here is what each role is responsible for:

  • Lifter: Uses the interface to lift and replace objects and earn points for the team; one lifter per team per round.

  • Scorekeeper: Uses a score table to track the number of items successfully lifted and replaced within a each round of a minute.

  • Switcher: Places a new object in front of the robot after removing the previously lifted object from the claw. The switcher will replace the object after the robot has grabbed the object, lifted it up in the air, lowered it, then opened the claw releasing the object on the table or surface.

    The switcher is removing and replacing the object.

  • Timekeeper: Tracks the one-minute time limit for each round.

If there are more or less than four students in a group, a student can assume multiple roles or more than one student can be assigned to a role.

A scoring table is included but rows can be added for additional groups and rounds. Each group can use their own scoring table or everyone can record on the same one. If multiple groups are using the same score table, write each groups' Clawbot ID or group name/number in the second column.

If time permits, have the groups play multiple rounds and the scorekeeper should combine the points from each round at the end of the User Interface Challenge for a total score. The group with the most points at the end of the challenge, wins!

IQ clawbot holding a question mark

An Interface to Grab and Lift!

In the User Interface Challenge, you need to program your robot so that a user can use the Check, Up, and Down buttons on the brain to pick up a variety of objects.

Your user interface for controlling the Clawbot will need:

  • A button or buttons for opening the claw

  • A button or buttons for closing the claw

  • A button or buttons for raising the arm

  • A button or buttons for lowering the arm

To complete the challenge you will need:

  • A Clawbot

  • Objects to be picked up: an empty can or water bottle, a VEX cube, an unused piece from the VEX kit, or anything else that your teacher can provide