Inquiry Focus

Celebration of Learning

In Robotics, the Kindergarten students learned that we have robots in our home right now! A robot is a machine that does a job for us but some tasks are built into the machine so we simply turn it on and it does the job for us, sensing things, running programs, and doing work that might be otherwise boring or dangerous. Some examples of robots in the home include the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and smoke detector.

We learned that robots require a program to be written to dictate the work of that robot. A washing machine contains a program that tells it to fill to a certain line with water, indicate when the water reaches this level, start the agitator, stop the agitator, spin very quickly, empty the water, refill the water to the same line again, begin the agitator again, stop the agitator again, and finally spin and empty the water a last time. What a detailed program!

In keeping with our "Flower Power" learning, we recognize that flowers are produced for sale all over the world. Flower growing is serious business. In class, it was fun to plant bulbs of the hyasinth and narcissus. But what is we had to fill fields and fields with tulip bulbs to supply the spring tulips to Sobey's or Superstore? That would become boring and a robot would be a huge help in this task.

Our first step in creating such a robot was to explore how our Robotics group could work together in building a strong chassis which is the robot's body. It needs to be strong because it holds the motor, RCX box and sensor. We explored with all sizes and shapes of chassis in our groups. Not all of the chassis worked; some required the group to rethink their plan. Robotics is all about working successfully in a group. This means taking turns, ensuring even those who do not ask for a job are given an important task to carry out in that Robotics period.

Note how all these groups of children are working together to solve the problem of building a strong chassis.


Once the strong chassis was build, the groups tried to push their robot down the hallway (as no motor was attached yet) without having the RCX box fall off. Some robots required further modifications to complete this task successfully.


It is time to carefully study the RCX box, which is the brain of our robot. Mr. Jessee brought in a carefully contained inside of an RCX box for us to examine with our eyes, not our hands. It is here for you to explore with your eyes too. The Orange team is demonstrating how the RCX box fits on the chassis.


Now each group is ready for a computer to begin programming. First we made some practice programs to help us to learn about the icons. Before we knew it we were able to program our robot to do the following actions:

After being turned on it will begin a 5 rotation loop of starting the motor, moving forward sensing black holes in the ground (hole in which we will plant tulip bulbs), when it senses these holes it moves forward ever so slightly (0.25 seconds more forward) to ensure that the robot's chassis is not covering the hole, and this repeats for the five holes when it comes to a stop.


With our robot complete, strong and secure, and our program downloaded into the RCX Box, it is time to create a track on which our robot will run. Since this is supposed to be a robot which helps us by finding holes in the ground to drop flower bulbs into, we glued on 5 holes in a straight line for the sensor to find. Then we decorated the edges. Each group had to decide (as a group) what medium to use for these decorations. The results range from paint to chalk pastel, charcoal and oil pastels.


Don't forget to write about all of our explorations in robotics so we can remember this experience always. Here are the journal entries from the last day of robotics for some groups! We wrote the names of our team members, drew the robot as it looked for the celebration of learning and used "kid writing" (sounding out words and writing the letters that we hear) to write what we enjoyed the most in our April robotics unit. We even copied down some robotics part terms of the pieces used in creating our robot.

Robotics Celebration of Learning

Finally, we shared our learning in our month long study with our family members. We were the teachers, sharing what we made, how we made it, solving problems, showing our journal record keeping and demonstrating how to make the program on a laptop is we desire. It was busy, exciting and fun.





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