- Contact Us
Here are resources for people looking to teach robotics, especially those who came to my presentation at the SWATCA teacher’s convention on Hands On Robotics.
Here is a PDF version of my slides; note that is lacks all audio and video clips.
Also take a look at ScratchEd, a site for people teaching children to use Scratch.
Sign up for the Robotics In Education mailing list.
Come to the 2013 SABRE Games, next Thursday (Feb 28, 2013). (Come to watch; or bring some young roboticists to participate!)
If you have a LEGO Mindstorms NXT set, try out Enchanting.
Check It Out
There are some great books in the Jim and Mary Kearl Library of Cardston that you can sign out easily from your local Chinook Arch library (and ought to be able to get via inter-library loan from any public library in Alberta, or perhaps Canada).
[There are a great many other excellent books on robotics; check out an online bookstore near you.]
Listen to some great podcasts.
Here are some interesting videos.
- Mitch Resnick: Reading, Writing, and Programming
- Chris Rogers: Teaching STEM with a Camera and a Brick or Two
- Frank Noschese: Learning Science by Doing Science
- Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers
- Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover
Keep In Touch
Here are my contact details.
You can also follow me on Twitter — @ClintonWB.
I also run a mailing list called SABRE Announcements. You can sign up on the left.
- LUMACS – outreach program at the U of L that does robotics.
- The NXT Step (This is the premier blog on the NXT).
- NXTPrograms has fabulous building instructions for all three NXT kits.
- Stem Robotics 101 “is both a turn-key curriculum for novice Robotics teachers and a collaboration tool for veteran Robotics teachers.”
- LEGO Engineering has a number of robotics-related activities, and it run by Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach.
- Kids Engineer! has some great curricular resources, interesting blog articles, and aims “[t]o understand and promote engineering education in elementary schools.”
- Here is LEGO’s official page for LEGO Mindstorms.
Competitions and Events
- I run the SABRE games locally.
- With other groups, we’ve run Robofest locally for several years.
- Calgary hosts the Western Canadian Robotics Games every May, and they meet every Saturday at the Aerospace Museum.
- Do be sure to check out the Mini Maker Faire in Calgary next year.
- FIRST Alberta run events like the FIRST LEGO League (FLL), Jr. FLL, FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition — with an event for every age range.
- NAIT is running a VEX competition.
- The Western Canada RoboCup Jr. event runs in Kelowna every year.
(There are lots and lots of other events, and it is easy to host your own).
- Robotics Through Inquiry (with materials from AISI Learning Leaders in Calgary)
- All I Really Need to Know (About Creative Thinking) I Learned (By Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten
- Also see the LifeLong Kindergarten Group ‘s homepage.
- Focus On Inquiry (by Alberta Education)
- Logo Summer Institute 2013 in New York, July 8-12.
- 2Learn.ca has also offered courses on robotics.
Where To Buy
- Educational kits can be ordered through Spectrum Educational Supplies. (You might also check out LEGO Education, but they do not sell outside of the USA).
- Retail kits can be purchased from many places, such as RobotShop.ca, Amazon, Target, Toys R Us, and from LEGO directly.
- Parts are best purchased at BrickLink or eBay.
If you are looking for interesting sensors, check out
Other Interesting Technologies
Just a short list — as there are so many!
I’m pleased to announce that Enchanting v0.2.1 is out!
Why not start out the new year by trying out a new way to program your LEGO Mindstorms NXT robot?
Here’s a video showing what it does.
[If you’d rather, watch this shorter trailer video instead.]
Enchanting is free (as in lunch, and in speech) and available for Windows XP+ and Mac OS X 10.4+. (We would love help getting the experimental Linux and Raspberry Pi versions ready for use.)
Please see the Enchanting website for information on getting started with Enchanting — we now have Enchanting Cards [3.4 MB PDF] and there is an interactive eBook on programming in Enchanting 0.0.9.1 .
Here are the scripts demonstrated in the video:
Introducing Enchanting - Sample Programs.zip [395KB]
and here are screenshots of those scripts:
Drive Around A Square
Follow That Line (With Eyes)
|The Big Bad Wolf||The Little Pig|
Drive Around An Arbitrary Polygon
The Sumo Bots:
The two robots ran almost identical code, shown in Enchanting card #12 , except that I added code to turn on the lights to show what behaviour they were executing (which I forgot to save!), and I made one wander in the opposite direction so that the fight wouldn’t take all day!
The 3-metre Dash is drag racing with a twist. Your robot needs to cross the finish line as quickly as possible without crossing the disqualification line. The distance from the starting line to the finish line is 3.02 m, and from the finish line to the disqualification line is 0.84 m.
- One or more robots will be placed completely behind the starting line.
- There will be a timer watching each robot.
- The chief timer will say, “On your marks, get set, go!” and timers will start.
- Roboticists will start their robots, either by hand or with a signal, such as a sound or a light.
- The timer watching each robot will stop the timer as soon as any part of the robot is over the finish line.
- If any part of the robot goes over the disqualification line, it is disqualified and the time is not counted.
- Robots will not be touched until the judge determines if the run counts or not.
- In the event of a false start, the match will be re-run.
- Each robot has two opportunities to dash, and its best time (that was not disqualified) will be recorded.
- Build a robot that goes straight. A longer robot, with wheels farther apart will usually go straighter.
- Experiment with different wheels and gears.
- Make your robot as light as possible.
- Have fresh batteries
- You may need to start braking (or reversing!) before you even get to the finish line.