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A Teacher’s POV: RVW VEX IQ Beltway

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Beltway2Jason McKenna, from the Hopewell Area School District outside of Pittsburgh, PA, writes about his experience in the classroom with the new Robot Virtual World game, VEX IQ Beltway. Check it out below …

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The new VEX IQ virtual game Beltway is a great way to challenge your students to apply the basics of ROBOTC programming while also asking them to come up with unique strategies to try to score as many points in the 2 minute game as possible. My students just spent about 3 weeks working on the challenge and trying to score the highest score as possible. The students had an absolute blast and as a teacher, it was great seeing all the different ways the students tried to tackle this completely open-ended challenge.

Beltway4The objective in Beltway is the same as VEX IQ Highrise: program your VEX IQ robot to autonomously score as many cubes as possible during a 2 minute period. With Beltway, a conveyor belt has been added around the perimeter of the game field in order to assist with game play. Additionally, the virtual environment utilizes “magic stacking” meaning that the cubes automatically jump onto the stack when they are placed onto of the stacking cube regardless of the apparent size of the robot. The conveyor belt reduces the accumulation of error, where, for example, a robot’s slight error in one turn becomes a larger error when the robot repeats that same turn 4 or 5 times. Any time students attempt a long program with many different elements they will at some point become frustrated with the accumulation of error that occurs. Magic stacking and the large margin of error that enables easy pickup of cubes eliminates any frustration that the students may encounter as try to pick up cubes and then stack them. These elements of gameplay in Beltway allow students to focus on their strategy, and it also allows them to try to experiment with many different scoring methods because they are not spending a lot of time programming perfect 90 degree turns and aligning their robots perfectly to pick up a cube. You can click here for a more extensive list of rules and information about gameplay!

Beltway1Beltway comes with a variety of sample programs that students can use to help them get started or as a reference as they adjust their strategies. For example, if students decided that they wanted to control the conveyer belt manually, they could refer to a sample program to see how that is done. I did that many times while monitoring the students. After a few days, the students aren’t repeatedly raising their hands; instead, they just refer to the sample programs for guidance.

The game also served as a great tool to teach beginning programmers the utility of comments. Oftentimes, beginners don’t make programs quite as long as the ones they will make for Beltway. Students quickly saw the need to point out what was going on in their code with comments so they could go back to those sections and make whatever adjustments they wanted as they progressed with their gameplay.

As I stated earlier, my students had a lot of fun while playing Beltway. It is not easy to keep students’ interest level high in an activity that takes 3 weeks. The students maintained their level of interest and they consistently asked to stay after school to work on their programs some more. We had an in-class competition where the students ran their final programs. The winning team scored the winning points as the timer, literally, went to zero. It was pandemonium in my room. Kids were high-fiving each other, cheering, and remarking at how awesome the competition turned out. Students were also talking about the different strategies that the other teams used and how they could change their programs based upon what they had just seen.

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So now, of course, the students want to play some more. This is great because now I can use that as an opportunity to show students how they can take some of the code that they used over and over again (for example, picking up cubes) and show them how they can use full ROBOTC to turn those behaviors into functions. Beltway has proven to be both a great teaching and learning tool in my classroom.

Click here to download the game!

- Jason McKenna

Asia-Pacific Robotic Championships 2014

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Terry Sy, a robotics teachers who completed ROBOTC training at one of our Professional Development classes, shares his latest robotics competition adventure with us from the 2014 Asia-Pacific Robotic Championships. Read about it below …

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photo 5The Asia-Pacific Robotic Championships 2014 were held in Dongguan, China from December 1st to December 4th. The first time in its history, China ROBOTC took 4 teams down there to compete. Among those making the trip down to the southern city were a China ROBOTC VEX team, Qingdao ROBOTC Boca Primary School team, Qingdao ROBOTC Boca Secondary School team, and ROBOTC-Experimental Primary School team affiliated to Shaanxi Normal University.

All the team members had a great time, competing in both the VEX and the VEX IQ competitions. Many new friendships were forged and the fantastic experience will be cherished by all those who took part for many years to come. But our teams weren’t just going down there to make friends and have fun. They had come to challenge for the championships.

Asia ROBOTC

Altogether, the teams had a lot of success in their respective competitions. In the VEX IQ programming skills competition, one of our primary schools took first place, while the other was a close runner-up. In addition, our secondary schools joined the primary school with a first-placed finish. Meanwhile, in the team competition, our elementary school and secondary school both finished in the runner-up position. As well as this, one member from the primary school and one member from the secondary school excelled in the robot skills competition, both taking 2nd place, and they also received 3 gold awards in IQ and an inspire award in VEX to cap off a fantastically successful event.

 

 

Written by Cara Friez

December 26th, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Visit us at the PLTW Summit 2014!

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Photo Nov 02, 3 21 40 PM We are at the 2014 PLTW Summit in Indianapolis this week! Stop by our booth to say hi and ask us questions.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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We also have our latest iPad app, Robot Virtual Worlds Expedition Atlantis, available to try out.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photo Nov 02, 5 00 43 PMAnd there is a ROBOTC Maze Challenge where you can program a VEX IQ robot using ROBOTC Graphical.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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We look forward to seeing everyone!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Written by Cara Friez

November 3rd, 2014 at 6:30 am

Virtual NXT 2.1.0 Update!

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We are happy to announce another big update to the Virtual NXT, bringing it to version 2.1.0! This update fixes compatibility issues with the Move blocks in the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 programming language. The Move Steering and Move Tank blocks both work as expected.

We’ve also created a new resource for using a RVW Gyro Sensor with the Virtual NXT in the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 environment.

virtual nxt

The Virtual NXT allows you to program virtual robots in the Robot Virtual Worlds using the same programming languages as physical NXT robots. This is an incredible tool for giving students additional practice programming and can even help students increase their understanding of scale and rate, two BIG IDEAS in mathematics.

The Virtual NXT works with the following NXT compatible software: LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT (NXT-G), LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, and LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS. The Virtual NXT looks and acts like another NXT to these programs; when you download a program to the Virtual NXT, that program is run by a robot in the Robot Virtual Worlds.

More information, including a Teacher’s Getting Started Guide and a Getting Started Presentation are all available at RobotVirtualWorlds.com/virtualnxt. Download the software and try it out today!

Written by Jesse Flot

October 24th, 2014 at 11:45 am

Expedition Atlantis for the iPad is Now FREE for a Limited Time!

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Flat Pad Mini MockupThe Robot Virtual Worlds team is proud to announce our iPad app, Expedition Atlantisis now FREE for a limited time from the Apple App Store!  

Expedition Atlantis immerses you in a world of underwater robotics exploration, where you must solve math problems to control your robot’s movement in the deep seas ruins.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
btn_standards_rollThe math problems will help students understand proportional relationships and the basics of robot programming. It is designed for the student to learn as they play, and includes in-game tutorials to help them play along. As you play, you’ll be able to customize your robot, and also earn achievements through our Computer Science Student Network (CS2N). A full teacher’s guide for using Expedition Atlantis in the classroom is available at www.robotvirtualworlds.com/ipad.
 
 
 
btn_research_rollExpedition Atlantis was tested in a number of diverse classroom settings. In every case, students had measurable gains in proportional understanding, as well as increased interest in math and robotics. Read more about the research here!
 
 
 
 
 
Check out our gameplay video here …
 


 
As you play along with the app, please send us your feedback at support@robotvirtualworlds.com! We’d love to know what you think and any improvements we can make.

Download Today!!

 

Written by Cara Friez

October 6th, 2014 at 6:45 am

Sign Up for the VEX IQ Virtual Challenge!

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We are very excited to announce the VEX IQ Virtual Challenge! This challenge is part of an ongoing research project by Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy and the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center designed to assist robotics teams learning to program.

teacherstudentmessageParticipating students will learn programming that enables them to solve this year’s VEX IQ Virtual Highrise Challenge. As they learn they will also earn an Introduction to Robotics and Programming Certification.

Robomatter, Inc. will be working closely with the Robotics Academy to create high quality STEM learning experiences, and has agreed to provide access to all related materials FOR FREE this competition season …

- This year’s Virtual HighRise Challenge Game
- Programming Curriculum to help you learn to program
- A live online course to help guide you through the curriculum
- Free ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Worlds Software for active participants
- Digital Certification for students who complete the course and challenge

The first online training course starts October 16th, but you will receive access to the software, the virtual worlds, and the curriculum immediately when you register to participate.  In order to solicit responses to our research questions the ROBOTC and Robot Virtual World licenses are time limited, they will last until November 15, or if your students actively participate by working your way through the programming challenges you will have the license extended until April 2015.

To access these resources and find out more go to the VEX IQ Virtual Challenge page: www.robotc.net/vexiq

We hope that you participate in this project. If you have additional questions please send them to research@cs2n.org

Written by Cara Friez

October 3rd, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Sensor Section Available Now in our ROBOTC EV3 Curriculum!

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Sensor SectionThe ROBOTC team is proud to announce the completion of the Sensing section of the Introduction to Programming EV3 Curriculum!

Check it out to learn how to use the EV3 Touch, Sonar, Gyro, and Color sensors with ROBOTC Graphical here! The curriculum is completely free to use, and more materials are always being added.

Check out two of the video tutorials below:
 
 

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Code! Compete! Learn Robotics Today!

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We are excited to share our Fall online training schedule with you! Enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation.

Register for a class today!!

Online Training Schedule

EV3 Online Professional Development
Oct 15th – Nov 19th, 2014
Wednesdays for 6 Weeks
6-8:00pm EST (3-5:00pm PST)

Complimentary ROBOTC for EV3 Webinars
More Details Coming Soon!
Oct 14th – Nov 18th, 2014
Tuesdays for 6 Weeks
7-7:45pm EST (4-4:45pm PST)

ROBOTC Online Training for LEGO / TETRIX
Oct 16th – Nov 20th, 2014
Thursdays for 6 Weeks
6-8:00pm EST (3-5:00pm PST)

ROBOTC Online Training for VEX CORTEX
Oct 13th – Nov 17th, 2014
Mondays for 6 Weeks
6-8:00pm EST (3-5:00pm PST

Complimentary ROBOTC for VEX IQ Webinars
More Details Coming Soon!
Oct 14th – Nov 18th, 2014
Tuesdays for 6 Weeks
6-6:45pm EST (3-3:45pm PST

 

 

 

 

Pre-Release of our ROBOTC Graphical Curriculum Available Today!

 

 

Try Out the Newest Robot Virtual World Competitions!

The VEX Skyrise virtual world simulates the brand new VEX Robotics Competition, announced today at VEX Worlds, for the 2014-2015 season. Like previous simulations of the competitions, this virtual world includes multiple fully programmable robots, the correctly scaled field and game objects, and score and timer tracking.

Simulating the official 2014-2015 VEX IQ competition, VEX Highrise, the object of the game is to attain the highest possible score by Scoring Cubes in the Scoring Zone and by building Highrises of Cubes of the same color on the Highrise Bases. It’s absolutely perfect for teams who want to do strategic planning and learn how to program!

 

 

 

 

Written by Cara Friez

September 2nd, 2014 at 10:39 am

Curriculum Preview: Intro to Programming VEX IQ for ROBOTC!

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We are excited to give you a preview into our newest curriculum series: The Introduction to Programming VEX IQ with ROBOTC. The website is still in-the-works, but it should be completely ready by August. The focus for this curriculum is on the VEX IQ virtual and/or physical robot and the ROBOTC 4.0 software featuring the new  graphical function. It consists of videos, PDFs, quizzes, and our famous easy to use step-by-step videos. Check out some of the videos of from our curriculum series …
 


 

 

 

The Introduction to Programming VEX IQ with ROBOTC is a curriculum module designed to teach core computer programming logic and reasoning skills using a robotics engineering context. It contains a sequence of projects (plus one capstone challenge) organized around key robotics and programming concepts.

Why should I use the Introduction to Programming EV3 Curriculum?

Introduction to Programming provides a structured sequence of programming activities in real-world project-based contexts. The projects are designed to get students thinking about the patterns and structure of not just robotics, but also programming and problem-solving more generally. By the end of the curriculum, students should be better thinkers, not just coders.

What are the Learning Objectives of the Introduction to Programming VEX IQ Curriculum?

  • Basic concepts of programming
    • Commands
    • Sequences of commands
  • Intermediate concepts of programming
    • Program Flow Model
    • Simple (Wait For) Sensor behaviors
    • Decision-Making Structures
    • Loops
    • Switches
  • Engineering practices
    • Building solutions to real-world problems
    • Problem-solving strategies
    • Teamwork

For more info and to see the online version of the curriculum, visit http://curriculum.cs2n.org/vexiq.

Sign up for the Robotics Summer of Learning All Summer!

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Fun RSOL

Did you know that you can sign up for the Robotics Summer of Learning anytime during the summer? All our live webinars are recorded, so you can easily sign up today and work at your own pace!

FAQ

 


How do I join and get into the class?
Sign in or sign up for a new account at CS2N.org. Then visit http://cs2n.org/summer-of-learning and click on the VEX IQ robot. You’ll be taken to a new page where you will click “View” under “Summer of Learning 2014 – VEX IQ – Intro.” From there you will be in the official Summer of Learning course!

How much does this course and/or software cost?
Nothing at all! It is free until September 1, 2014.

What do I need to download?
ROBOTC and the VEX IQ Challenge Pack. You need to download both items. The License ID and Password is located in the CS2N Moodle Course. Use these to activate the license for the entire summer (through September 1st). Computer Minimum Requirements.

Where can I find the link for the live classes?
The link is at the top of the section for the topic of that class. For example, if the topic for the live class is turning, the link will be at the top of the basic movement section. This is also where you will find the recording after the live class has ended.

What is the class schedule?
The live class schedule is listed below, but remember that you can work throughout the summer at your own pace. All classes are recorded. Just keep in mind that if you work ahead, some items of the curriculum will not be released until later this summer.

Will I be able to use the ROBOTC Graphical with EV3 and/or NXT? And, will there be a RSOL class for that?
ROBOTC for LEGO MINDSTORMS is still in development, but it will be available later this summer. Once it is ready, there will be a Robotics Summer of Learning course specifically for it.

 

Live Webinar Course Schedule

  • June 16: Introduction to Software, Setup, Forums and Procedures used in this course
  • June 17: Intro to Expedition Atlantis and Moving Forward
  • June 23: Turning and Intro to Ruins of Atlantis
  • June 30: Forward until Touch and Forward until Near
  • July 7th: Turn for Angle, Forward until Color, Intro to Palm Island
  • July 14th: Loops and if/else
  • July 21st: Repeated Decisions, Continuous Decisions, Intro to Operation Reset
  • July 28th: Joystick and Button control, intro to VEX IQ Highrise

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