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I think you got all of the major steps I also do. A few extensions of what you’re already doing are:
1. Also check the Rotate Cubelets for any hair or dust. the rotate “platter” sometimes picks those up similar to the Drive “rollers”
2. If any of your Cubelets fell off a table, you might inspect the plastic on the outside just to make sure it didn’t crack. It doesn’t happen to me often, but if something falls off a table onto a hard surface, it’s good to check for it.
3. About once a week I take a soft, damp (not dripping wet) cloth and wipe everything down because lots of hands touch the Cubelets I teach with!
Hope this helps.
I’m responding to your email to our main company account right now too. Our source files are not in Word, but I would be happy to share them with you if it helps you get less ons ready for students and teachers you are working with. We publish our education materials with a CC-SA license – “Creative Commons – Share Alike.” This means that we love it when people want to use our lessons and revise or rewrite them. We ask only that if you republish what you write that you: 1.) Give credit for the original ideas to Modular Robotics somewhere in tiny print 2.) Also offer it on a CC-SA license so that another educator can do the same!October 13, 2015 at 2:57 pm in reply to: What is a good sequence for an 8 week class, 1 hour sessions? #5087
For your group, and those ages, I think you could get a lot of mileage out of the engineering Unit, which we currently have published.
But if you’re not starting right away, you might want to hang tight until we release some new lesson plans. I have some new units in the works that tackle Literacy and STEM as well as problem solving.
Maybe you could tell me more about what you’re hoping to have the students learn and accomplish or when you hope to get started so I can better customize my suggestions to you? I’m looking forward to hearing more.
Hi! Noticing the single-function design is a great observation. I can sometimes work with teachers in a training for a couple of hours before this idea comes up for them. We certainly understand the desire to have robots that are sensitive to environmental changes. Cubelet users are particularly quick, in my experience, to want robots that can move in one direction and then “decide” (due to outside cues) to move in another direction. The truth is, the single, well-defined function of each Cubelet is an intentional design. Our CEO, and the creator of Cubelets, was actually completing research on modeling emergent behavior when he created Cubelets. This is the idea that simple functions and small, local actions can combine to generate bigger behaviors by each component acting out a proscribed and limited function. In nature, some great examples of this are termites building mounds and birds flying in formation. For example, birds don’t discuss where they’re flying or which bird in their group will be in which position. And there’s no head bird calling the shots and navigating a group from A to B while keeping them all in formation. The individual birds are responding to signals that help them fly with less resistance and conserve energy and the recognizable formations emerge from each of their reactions to carrying out that seemingly small thing – wanting to fly longer and with less energy expenditure.
We really like the idea of students of all ages having tools in their hands that help them model this kind of complexity and the kinds of systems that can have big behaviors, like edge sensing, come out of smaller components carrying out very limited jobs. On the other hand, we know that once people are building robots they want their robots to become ever more sophisticated and sensitive, and able to do the kinds of things you’ve described (change direction, keep going when the wall disappears, etc.). For this reason, we made Cubelets reprogrammable. If you have a Bluetooth Cubelet you can certainly explore adding the kinds of functionality you’re describing to your robots by writing programs that will give your robots new functions!
Sounds like you are already quite engaged in building and considering robots. Happy robot building and please let me know if you have more questions we can answer!
Thanks so much for reaching out with your question. I’ve worked with a lot of teachers that are excited to have their students go from building cool robots to changing their behavior by reprogramming. as our educator on staff I totally agree that using Cubelets in this way would scaffold nicely for students – build robots out of the box, investigate how individual functions combine to create the whole behavior, and experiment with how sequence and orientation of the functions changes the system. Then reprogram the functions or robot to do other things. This progression gives kids a motivation to learn to program.
Right now we suggest three things:
1. The Computational Thinking Unit which can be found here: http://www.modrobotics.com/forums/topic/cubelets-class-unit-computational-thinking/
2. Using the apps that you mentioned. I actually find it’s a nice step towards getting kids to understand that numbers and values are what controls the behavior and to think more about the entire system – it leads towards deeper pre-programming knowledge. As you mentioned, having a Bluetooth is necessary for this step.
3. Continuing with a Bluetooth Cubelet, text based reprogramming in Cubelets Studio is here: http://www.modrobotics.com/cubelets/apps/cubelets-studio/
You are not alone in mentioning that a system for reprogramming that’s novice-friendly would be a good fit for Cubelets and we are considering next steps in this area. For now, I’d love your thoughts on what I’ve offered above, and please don’t hesitate to ask more questions!
I think that in this country, the chance to do hands-on, self-directed investigations has a lot of draw for kids. I’ve personally taught this lesson plan to over 1000 students (many of them older than the 6-8 year old range you are describing) as well as sharing it with many camps, clubs, and teachers (reaching thousands more students) that have described really high motivation and interest.
Sorry your students were more advanced with technology and scientific method and exploration than this lesson plan projected! As always, thanks for your feedback.
I fully understand that MOSS would be very complex for the students younger than 8 in your programs. MOSS is an 8 and up product, and in fact, if you look at the MOSS lesson plans we’re recommending that most educators use them with groups of students ages 10 and up. We find that the manual dexterity needed for MOSS is greater than what 6 year olds really are capable of, and also those that can intentionally tinker and keep track of what they’ve done and tried will learn best, as you described your own learning, In our lesosn plans, we are aiming at topics that are better suited for students ages 10+ as well.
It sounds like you have a great progression worked out for Cubelets! I am also fond of having students experiment to understand individual Cubelet functions. In this lesson plan you’ll find some examples of ways to set up those experiments so that they’ll work both to help students better understand Cubelets, but also to practice scientific method.
Once students know more, having some engineering constraints or some criteria for “can you make a robot that will ___” can really raise the students robot building and motivation. That’s why we offer so many open ended challenges! (Here are just a few in case you haven’t seen them).
I hope this helps you keep going and am always available to answer questions as you keep working with MOSS, Cubelets, and more students.
It sounds like you took on a challenge and did a great job weaving together lots of resources and experiences for your 1st and 2nd graders.
I will tell you what we have found works best:
First, lots of roads to success – this could include videos, small focused experiments where we engineer success (“build joints and hinges” while not giving any sensors, actuators, or batteries, “can you make just these three pieces work so that the motor is controlled by a sensor and both are powered by a battery?”), 2D designing and intentional robot design by drawing out design, using our interactive instructions on the robot recipes, and also using the lesson plans.
Second – a lot of differentiated progress. As you said, you’d had more kits, you could have had smaller groups moving at varying speeds through the lesson pan or goals for robot building.
The hard part here is that your age group was a bit younger than we are aiming with MOSS. I can imagine that was really challenging. MOSS is a more complex product, and also smaller – it requires both some manual dexterity, and also the ability to tinker intentionally. It’s an 8+ product so your grades were right at that line. And truthfully, for larger groups, I am often working with ages 9-10+ for all the reasons you named. With some older kids, sharing, differentiated progress, and ability to manage progress are a little more feasible.
I’d love to talk to you more about Cubelets, what we’re currently doing to support Computational Thinking and building programming skills, and what we have cooking for future Cubelets educational tie-ins. Please feel free to email me directly at email@example.com at any time if you want more info or want to share ideas further. thanks for telling us so much about what worked and what didn’t here – I know other educators will benefit!
Heat should not need to be applied with wind or air. However, hair dryers and breath will change the temp reaching the sensor faster.
I did once build a simple robot with a temperature Cubelet and a Bar Graph and Battery and then take it from inside (about 70 degrees) to outside (at the time, it was about 5 degrees). It took about 5 minutes for the first Bar on the Bar Graph to wink out, and then I only lasted another 10 minutes in the cold! But the Bar Graph did slowly drop.
Please let us know if this is the behavior you see, and if not, we can work to get you in touch with Customer Service to fix you up!
That Temperature Cubelet can be slow to act. It’s not quite as immediate to register an input value change as some of the other sensors like the Distance and Brightness. You have a good plan going with the Bar Graph. I recommend introducing a Hair Dryer to raise the temperatures, and putting a robot in the freezer to lower them. If you’re still getting no difference registering, and minutes have gone by, then I would conclude there may be a malfunction. If that’s the case, I’d be happy to make introductions to our Product Support and customer Service team to help you out super fast.
Best wishes on your students designing their controlled experiments!
Hi Tom, Just wanted to circle back and tell you I sent the source documents for the MOSS lesson plans!
Hi Tom – I love hearing from educators who are interested in using our lesson plans – not only do I enjoy sharing ideas, I’m always excited when someone tells me they’ll let me know how it goes.
I think the Zombonitron is an incredibly versatile starting point for MOSS. this summer I ran a robot camp using MOSS and we used Zombonitron modules for almost the entirety of their building challenges.
I do not have the lesson plans in Word format since that was not the source I created them in. I would happily share the source and you could easily import that document to Word. Please email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can work out sending these (and the future lessons I’m about to post) to you! Let me know how else I can help as well – it would be my pleasure.
We don’t have an exact date but I have every reason to believe that if you keep your eyes on our page in the next few weeks, you’ll see what you’re wishing for. Hope this helps!
Hi Cedric! thanks for your questions. we hope to introduce Cubelets kits with micro-USB charge in the very near future. For the meantime, the KT)^ does not include a charger though it can be bought separately on our page:http://www.modrobotics.com/cubelets/accessories/charger/
There are six Cubelets in the KT06: Battery, Passive, Brightness sensor, Distance Sensor, Drive (action), and Flashlight (action).
With these cubes, and all of the different combinations, sequences, and orientations of the different sensors and actions, as well as using the PASSIVE as a design addition, you can make over 500 different robots. What I most like about this kit is that the “rules” for successful robot building are incredibly simple. Every robot needs AT LEAST a Battery Cubelet, one Black Cubelet (sensor) and at least one Clear Cubelet (action.) Additional Cubelets will change the behavior and function of the robot, as well as allowing for re-design opportunities, but every robot that follows the three simple rules will work! This kit allows for everyone, from the very young to novice adults and hobbyists, to sucessfully build robots out of the box faster than they can make a sandwich! Please let us know if you have any other questions we can answer.
Hi Larissa! Thanks for sharing your question on the forum so we can answer it and share information that might help others.
We’re so glad that you are enjoying your Zombonitron 1600 with your 8 year old. To answer your question about the MOSS brightness sensor, it works similarly to the distance sensor in that as it receives new input it sends a signal to change the direction of your Action modules (motors). In this way, you can use either the distance or the brightness sensor to have your MOSS robots move back and forth as they receive distance or brightness data. With the brightness sensor, the way this works, as you’ve probably discovered, is to shine a light right into it and then turn it on and off as you want your robot to move back and forth (or side to side, depending on the orientation of your action motors). We don’t have an “inverse” module that would switch the data flow so that ambient light would turn the motor off, and flashing a light would turn it on. However, we do hope to offer expansion packs (such as the ability to add a Bluetooth brain module) for MOSS users like you who want to do more with their Zombonitron in the future. Hang tight as we get orders out for the current kits and develop the best expansion packs for users to expand their play experience!
One more note – the kind of distributed and complex data system you’re describing of having a robot that process data by adding functions that change data between a sense and an action is available in Cubelets with senses, actions, and a variety of think functions that will invert, pass, block, or filter data based on magnitude. It sounds like you and your 8 year old are hooked on MOSS but if you ever want to explore Cubelets that’s another way to get at what you’re interested in!