The Munroe Elementary School Robotics Club split into two teams (the Monday and Wednesday groups) and engaged in a competition May 8 in the gymnasium.
According to Club Advisor Dan Bishop, the first challenge was the color sorting event in which the robots had to move forward until they detected an object, at which time it then had to determine the color. The robot would then use an arm to swipe the object to left or right depending on the color.
At this point, Tallmadge Middle School teacher Richard Day offered a short demonstration on the projects the middle school robotics club had done, as well as what the middle school was doing with STEM.
Next was a timed event on how long the robot took to follow the lines of the basketball key. The final event was the robotic sumo whereby one robot pushes another outside a box. Bishop said the arduino groups built a command interpreter and controlled the robots via bluetooth using cell phone applications. One of the EV3 groups built a fully autonomous robot which used three ultrasonic sensors to detect, then move toward the other robot; tracking the movement to keep the other robot in its path.
Formation of the Munroe Robotics Club began back in January.
"Munroe teacher Jon Bryan had some grant money to be used on STEM projects like this, so he was able to purchase four Lego Mindstorm EV3 kits and some accessory kits," said Bishop, adding "I personally purchased two arduino robotic cars for use in the club as well.
Bishop said there were nearly 90 applicants for the first round of the club, which ran from February through May.
"We randomly selected 30 students due to resource and space limitations. The club was evenly selected from the third, fourth and fifth grades, and with an equal number of boys and girls. The club was divided into two groups, one that met on Monday and another that met on Wednesday" continued Bishop. "In each meeting session, students formed groups of two or three per robot. The students selected whether they wanted to work on the arduino or the EV3.
On the EV3, students learned to program in a GUI where you connect action, switch and loop blocks together to program the robot to complete a specific task.
"On the arduino, students wrote in code in the C programming language that would be used to program the robot to complete a specified task. C programming is one of the most common programming languages and is used in a large portion of devices from cell phones to cars. During the course of the club, the students were given various challenges that their robots were to complete like following a line on the floor to completing a maze.
"The students then chose which challenge they wanted to enter for the competition."