beginning of content:

Authored by

  • Michael Schmidt
    The Harker School
    San Jose, California

Lesson: Introduction to Robolab software
Level: Seventh-grade computer science (appropriate for any introductory Computer Science course)

Materials Required

Lecture Notes & Worksheet: 20-30 minutes

You can use these lecture notes to present the introductory information while each student fills out the worksheet. This is to keep the students involved during this slightly longer-than-normal lecture.

Hands-On Discovery (15 minutes)

In this Student Lab (.pdf/30kb), you and your students will learn how to connect actuators and sensors to the central RCX. Preset programs within the RCX can be run (program slots 1 & 2), or some pre-downloaded programs of your own can be run.

Student groups (two to four students) follow the Mindstorms building book to create their robot. Once done, the students use Robolab: (Inventor Level 1) to create the five programs. Programs 3 and 5 need to be saved if completed. Most students should reach program 3 within 45 minutes. Programs 4 and 5 are provided for the faster students.

Assessment (5 or 10 minutes)

Students take a three-question quiz with the option of doing it over if they do poorly.

The questions range from proper wiring to troubleshooting a program. The retake is given after extra review has been offered.

Summary of Expected Results

Students are expected to learn simple wiring, basic actuator control, and simple conditionals of time and using a touch sensor. The by-product of these concepts will also give them a sense of physical control over their robot's actions and confidence that those actions will reflect their programming. Also, an inherent element of troubleshooting is discovered.