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Teacher Toolbox icon Teacher Toolbox - Introduce the Play Section

In this Play section, groups will be introduced to the sensors on their Workcell conveyor system. They will build a VEXcode V5 project using My Blocks and sensor feedback to divert red disks off of the conveyor system and move a green disk through the conveyor system and to it's designated drop off location with the arm on the Workcell.

What the Teacher Will Do:

  • Bring students together for whole class instruction.
  • Introduce the Lab to the students.
    • In this Lab, students are introduced to sensors on a conveyor system. Explain to students that in previous Labs they explored how to move the arm on the Workcell in 3D space, how to successfully pick up and move disks, and how to code individual motors in order to move conveyors. Now, they will combine those movements and further automate the sorting process by adding sensors to the Workcell.
    • Show the video below to the class so they can see the end result of their project. Encourage students to come back and rewatch this video while they code if they need help remembering how the conveyors, diverter, or arm on the Workcell should move.
    • Explain to students that they will be introduced to using My Blocks in VEXcode V5 in their project to create a sequence of blocks that can be used multiple times throughout a project.
  • Tell students that they will begin the activity by opening the ‘Arm Workcell - With Sensors’ example project.

Teacher Toolbox icon Teacher Toolbox - Facilitating the Sensors Example page

What the Teacher Will Do:

  • Keep students together for a whole-class discussion about the activity.
  • Instruct students that they will be working together in their groups to follow the steps on this page.
  • Ensure each group of students has their devices to run VEXcode V5 and to view this page in the Lab.
  • Tell students to check in with you once they have completed the steps on this page.
  • Break students off to work within their groups. Walk around the room as students are working to answer any questions if they arise.
  • As groups check in, ensure they have built their project correctly before moving on. Guidance for the check in is provided in a Teacher Toolbox at the bottom of this page.

For more information about how to facilitate this activity, go to the V5 Workcell Educator Certification.

In this section, you will be introduced to using sensors on a conveyor system.

You will build a VEXcode V5 project using My Blocks and sensor feedback to divert red disks off of the conveyor system and move a green disk through the conveyor system and to it's designated drop off location with the arm on the Workcell. This video shows how the conveyors, diverter, and arm on the Workcell will move when you complete the project.

In the Seek section, sensors were added to the Workcell in order to trigger the different movements of the diverter, conveyors, and the arm on the Workcell. There are three Line Trackers as well as an Optical Sensor added to the Workcell. The names of these additions are the following:

  • Optical Sensor: Optical Sensor to determine the presence and color of a disk.
  • Load Sensor: Line Tracker to determine if a disk has been successfully loaded onto the transport conveyor.
  • Pickup Sensor: Line Tracker to determine if a disk has passed the diverter on the transport conveyor and is ready for pickup with the arm on the Workcell.
  • Exit Sensor: Line Tracker to determine if a disk has been discarded off of the Workcell via the exit conveyor.

Sensors called out on the V5 Workcell

Materials Required:
Quantity Materials Needed
1 per group

V5 Workcell

1 per group

VEXcode V5

1 per group

Engineering Notebook

1 per group

Device to run VEXcode V5

1 per group

Micro-USB cable

3 per group

Colored Disks (1x red, 1x green, 1x blue)

For Your Information

The Line Tracker is an analog sensor which means the infrared sensor will return a value anywhere between 0% and 100% light reflectivity.

There are two main components inside of the Line Tracker, an emitter and a receiver. The emitter dispenses infrared light and the receiver records the amount of infrared light received back once it has been emitted.

For more information about Line Trackers, view this article from the Knowledge Base.

Line Tracker

In order to code the arm to divert the red disk off of the exit conveyor and sort the green disk, you first need to build the 'Lab 10- Sensors' project.

In VEXcode V5, follow the steps in this video to open the 'Arm Workcell - With Sensors' example project, input your mastering values, name, and then save the project as 'Lab 10- Sensors'. 

Ensure you are using your mastering values, and not the ones displayed in this video. 

Video file

My Blocks are used for the first time in the 'Lab 10- Sensors' project. Watch this tutorial video on My Blocks. This video explains how and why My Blocks are used in a project.

For more information on My Blocks, view this article from the Knowledge Base. 

Look through the 'Lab 10- Sensors' project. My Blocks are used to create a sequence of blocks that can be used multiple times throughout a project. Using My Blocks helps to organize a project as well as better understand project flow.

In our project, My Blocks will be used to define how the conveyors should move in the Workcell once a particular color of disk is detected by the Optical Sensor.

My Block Callout

Find the My Blocks labeled 'Red Detected.' These blocks are used so that when the Optical Sensor detects a red disk, the {Define Red Detected} hat block will be executed.

This helps to better organize the project.

Red detected

Teacher Tips icon Teacher Tips

  • Saving a VEXcode V5 project may look different depending on the device that your students are using. For more information on how to save on a specific devices, view the Save a Blocks Project (iPadChromebookWindowsmacOS) articles from the Knowledge Base.
  • For more information on opening example projects, view this article from the Knowledge Base.
  • For more information on tutorial videos, view this article from the Knowledge Base. 
  • Remind students that their mastering values will be different than the one shown in the video. Students should be using their values, and not the values from the video.
  • For additional tips, go to the V5 Workcell Educator Certification. 

Teacher Toolbox icon Teacher Toolbox - Check in

Review the following with the group during their check in:

  • Ensure their project contains the correct mastering values.
  • Ask groups to explain to you what a My Block is and why they would want to use a My Block in a VEXcode V5 project.