Developing Resilience through Robot Design

Over term 1, the Resilient Innovators had been discovering the resilience required when innovating. The students started at the beginning of the year with the Lego WeDo, a refresher for physical modelling, building and sequencing skills required in robotics and programming. They were challenged when the new advanced Lego Mindstorms kits arrived, initially navigating the steps spatially of a suggested physical design process. This challenge was met with confidence and enthusiasm…until the programming came.
Prefacing this investigation was robotic design activity where the children designed a robot of their choice. Their ambitious designs perhaps influenced feelings of frustration as the process of building robots were significantly more difficult, especially getting them to respond in a way the children had desired. The sequencing skills required them to deconstruct every small step, an analogous way of thinking, where thinking about the chronology of events is crucial.

 

 

In the final few weeks of the term, students competed in a robot design challenge, where they had to construct a robot whose behaviour was influenced by their environment. They designed robots with sensors that collected data about their world around them like humans. Their robots saw see colour, detected pressure, recognised distance, felt rotation and temperature. The students selected the sensors they wanted to influence their behaviour as it influenced their motorised movements, sounds and lights. It was at this point where the student’s eyebrows, silence and hands on hips moments that indicated the deep thinking they were engaged in and the difficulty of the project. Here the students had developed an ability to detect problems in their programming designs and others. They built on their previous experiences to solve problems and helped one another in their designs

“The purpose of education is to enhance individual effectiveness in society and give learners practical knowledge and problem solving skills” – John Dewey

 
Their robots design in the final weeks were incredibly thoughtful, but from this teacher’s perspective, they were representative of their development of resilience when problem solving and innovating.

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“...no learner can afford to be dependent on the teacher for everything that needs to be noticed, so teachers have to teach children to look for possibilities.”

Peter Johnston

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