At 11:02 AM -0400 10/9/10, Kaperick, Joe wrote: >All very cool ideas and thoughts about ways to have the robot >navigate and cover specific distances repeatably. My one concern, >especially for the newer coaches, is that these methods shouldn't be >handed to the team "pre-packaged". At best, they should be observing >the problems with using a timed setting and brainstorming ideas for ways >to make it better. Absolutely right! The coach's job is to create a setting wherein the kids can brainstorm and problem-solve. And also to make available, or teach, the basic skills that the kids to draw upon. By this point in the season the coach (or at least one coach) of a novice team should be reasonably knowledgeable and proficient at programming. And probably has a pretty good idea of the level of aptitude of the team, and therefore which programming skills are likely within their grasp. We've found that it's useful to have some skill-building sessions in which we discuss some basic skills (not specifically related to this year's missions) on programming skills, use of sensors, program strategy, etc. On the subject of driving strategy, we brainstorm early in the season about different ways to drive. The kids invariably decide that the rotation sensor is the best tool for accurate driving. We then gently guide them to the idea of predicting the distances (using a calibration of inches-per-rotation) before sitting down to program. Later in the season, as time gets tight and kids are competing for time on the computer, we've enforced the rule of having the programming steps written down beforehand, including rotations. Invariably they'll have to make small adjustments to the rotation count, but it's much faster (and more satisfying to them!) to make adjustments than to take blind stabs. For kids with some decent math skills, we've also held brainstorming sessions on turning strategy. The kids figure out that they can turn the robot by moving one wheel, both wheels, one forward and one back, and so forth. Once the realize that, it's a short step to realizing that they can predict the amount of turn from wheel rotations, and again save a lot of time by making educated predictions before writing a program. Cheers, Mike -- To UNSUBSCRIBE or CHANGE your settings, please visit https://listserv.jmu.edu/archives/vadcfll-l.html and select "Join or leave the list". -- VADCFLL administrative announcements are sent via VADCFLL-ADMIN-L. Visit https://listserv.jmu.edu/archives/vadcfll-admin-l.html to subscribe.