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October 2011

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From:
Betsy Wilco <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Betsy Wilco <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Sun, 9 Oct 2011 13:51:52 -0400
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I had my kids figure it out. This might seem too simplistic to those of you used to using calc to order your breakfast, but it works, too! The first time they tried programming,and once they realized that they needed to tell it how far to go, I asked them how they were going to figure out how to make it go the right distance. They quickly figured out that they needed to know how far it went on one rotation, which would be the distance around the wheel. Then they tried marking one spot on the wheel with white out and seeing how far it went on paper. That gave them a pretty good idea. I also had, just waiting in my desk for the day they asked for it, a very thin cloth measuring tape with metric markings on it. Once they realized they needed it I said, "Hey, try this!" Now they know the wheel diameters by heart and figure the number of rotations automatically using the calculators. 
It might appear that I am "dumbing it down," but as long as they have done the work to figure it out, I think it is fair to use a simpler method. 

>>> Brandy bergenstock <[log in to unmask]> 10/8/2011 11:45 PM >>>
I know most 4th graders have had zero pre-algebra, so filling in equations is a bit over their mathematical paygrade, but I found introducing the concept of measured distance took very well for nearly all of them.  We worked the Circumference (C=3.14 x diameter) together and just always kept that out for them to fill into the formula of : 

distance over circumference= rotations (d/c=r)  
The kids measure their distance, convert to centimeters {if they didn't measure in it (inches x 2.54= {X}cm)},  add that to the calculator, I'm the LEGO coach not the math teacher so they can use calculators in my work ( I care more that they understand how & what they're doing, not that they have all their multiplication down pat) than they divide by the C- which we worked together.  I find I sometimes have to do C more than once with them because they forget where it is on their paper, or they just want to know how to do it themselves.  This 3 step process equals the number of rotations (*not degrees) they need to move to go that far.
       Measured turns are a bit trickier and didn't stick well, making most of the kids feel completely lost and a bit frustrated in the end, so I don't advocate teaching that 4th graders, but 95% of my kids got how to figure out the distance, and it was immensely helpful, not to mention a huge time saver.  

  Alternatively, you can use the "VIEW" on your robot's menu to find the distance in rotations or degrees.  Most of my kids use that to calculate their turns.  I only have 1 child who goes through the math of working out turns.   Like all programming on the NXT, you have to do it several times.  Most of the kids just guess at a number somewhere between the lowest and the highest number they got, but you can also teach/review averages with them if you want :)
     Now that I read over your last post, you didn't necessary say the kids didn't know how to do this, just that the programs were trial and error, so if this wasn't your post comment, maybe, just maybe it might help another coach.  I didn't find out about this equation until after last season was over, so I'm happy to shared now! 
Regards, 

Brandy

      

 


________________________________
From: Sonya Shaver <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Saturday, October 8, 2011 11:01 PM
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] Software Rule question


The software that we use to program our brick is called LEGO MINDSTORMS.  It's what came with our NXT brick when we bought our FLL Education NXT kit four years ago, and  it's what we still use.  They write the programs, download to the robot, and then trial and error until it works.  I didn't know you could program on the brick itself.  That seems like it would be more cumbersome, but maybe it depends on what you are trying to do.  So many possibilities!


Sonya
Harrisonburg, VA


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