Learn to Program Self-Driving Cars (and Help Duckies Commute) With Duckietown Robotics
Lesson plan Day 1:
PrepareRead through this teacher material. If you feel it is needed, plan a lesson using the "getting started" material in the EV3 Lab Software or Programming App. This will help familiarize your students with LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3.
Constructing the Job Cards and Obstacle Course
Prepare a set of Rover Races job cards for each rover team. Use 3” by 5” index cards and write the job titles on each card:
Rover Driver’s License
Start the activity by having the students brainstorm about how an unmanned robotic vehicle on Mars might be driven through obstacles to retrieve minerals.Create a list of ideas in interactive notebooks. Encourage every student to record and share their ideas with their team Have students imagine they are astronauts living on a permanent base on Mars. Ask them why mining with driver-less rovers would be useful.
It can retrieve minerals while humans are not exposed to radiation, you don’t have to bring your materials with you from Earth, and it lets you discover new things the minerals can be used to build new things for the base.
Tell students about titanium and iron. Both of these materials are strong and useful for building. In addition, they can be found in abundance on Mars. Titanium and Iron will be important elements when they fly the Mars Quest mission.
Explain to students that rover drivers do not actually use a joystick to direct the rovers. Instead, the mission team creates a series of commands to direct the rover and sends the commands to the rover. This activity will demonstrate some of the complications humans (engineers) must overcome to allow for accurate communication with rovers on Mars. Inform students that they are going to be looking for both Iron and Titanium. These are two very important minerals that students will be looking for in the Lunar Quest Mission. Have students draw from 6 jobs cards for phase 1, these can be redrawn for phase 2 of the mission.The entire team will meet and talk with the engineers to design the rover to complete the mission and design the rover to collect minerals and supplies on the course. The engineers, along with other team members will record these designs in their student interactive notebooks. After sharing, the group will decide on the best design and then proceed to build their rover The Rover Driver and programmer will examine the course, measuring the distance and listing the turns needed to guide the rover through the course. The driver will use STUDENT WORKSHEET 1 to build the list of commands the programmer will send to the robot to complete the mission. Once the Rover Drivers have recorded their command sequences on their STUDENT WORKSHEET 1, the programmer will convert the driver's commands to code to upload to the rover.
Student engineers, drivers, and the programmer will meet to test rover and program commands to see if they can have obtained their objectives.
The Timers will start their stopwatch when driver says start and will time until their rover team crosses the finish line. Their time will be recorded on STUDENT WORKSHEET2/(B) OFFICIAL’S RECORD
The Official will use their STUDENT WORKSHEET3 to record any time a wheel of the rover touches an obstacle on the course. The Official will keep a tally of the number of faults that their rover makes Feel free to remind students that accuracy is always more important than speed
The cones on the course are titanium and iron samples that can be collected if the Rover Driver has included it on their STUDENT WORKSHEE21 sheet the command would be Rock Retrieval and the rover will trigger the collection method the engineers have built into the rover and the programmer has allowed for to collect the minerals The retrieved rock samples give the team extra points upon completing the course.
Allow time for all the teams to complete the course. Each Rover Team will get together to debrief how the driving went and complete the STUDENT WORKSHEET 3. This information will include the challenges they faced or observed and their ideas about what might have caused those challenges. They will make a list of the challenges along with the suggested changes for the next drive.
During this time discuss with students how things have gone. Have them describe some of the challenges and successes they found during the first race. What would they do differently?
When teams are finished with their STUDENT WORKSHEET 3, have students tally the counts on STUDENT WORKSHEET 2. The team that has successfully completed the course with the least foot faults, most rock samples returned, and the best time is declared to have “mission success.”
Repeat the activity as time permits with the second group of students, allowing for the changes the students brainstormed to be included. This iteration will also allow for more students to participate directly. Students will complete their STUDENT WORKSHEET 4.
At the conclusion of the activity, read the following to explain and tie up all of the Engineering concepts introduced and experienced in this activity:
What you have just experienced is a lesson on engineering and how we communicate with a rover on another planet Engineering allows us to solve human problems using science and technology. In this case, you found quite a few problems in your first round. Give me a couple of examples
Examples students might note:
• Our rotations were not the same, so we had to adjust
• Rover can drift and end up off-course
These are examples of calibration. Calibration means that you need to make adjustments to create a standard, For example, you adjusted the power of motors, (slow is better) to keep it on course
The engineering design cycle includes identifying a problem, specifying constraints (limitations) and criteria for the desired solution, developing a design plan, producing and testing models (physical and/or computer generated), selecting the best option among alternative design features, and redefining the design ideas based on the performance of a prototype or simulation