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testing your skills

Here are a few basic challenges to try after getting familiar with some of the pieces and programming blocks! (Some of the challenges have pictures and videos to help you if you gets stuck)

  • Maze challenge: This challenge can be altered so it's suitable for a beginner or someone at the intermediate stage. Follow the LEGO instructions to build a driving base. Use duct tape and tape out a few pathways on the floor or on a poster board. Try to program your driving base to maneuver through the maze using steering programming blocks. This is an excellent way to become used to using the simple moving blocks.
  • Maze Challenge Add on: If you are already familiar with these blocks and want a little bit more of a challenge, then use cardboard and try and construct a 3-D maze (make the walls stick up). Your challenge will then be to program your robot to get through the maze, by only using a sensor. In other words you will not program the moving forward and turn in ahead of time. The robot getting through the maze will be completely reliant on the sensor. Think about these questions; What sensor will you use? Will you need more than one? What programming blocks will you need? 

  • Security Alarm Challenge: This challenge involves a lot of creativity. Your challenge will be to pick or build a small object and prevent it from being stolen. The first step after building or choosing the object you want to protect would be figuring out how to make it so that an alarm sound plays if someone were to try and grab the object. What sensor should you use to accomplish this task? If you want to take this a step further, make something else happen if someone tried to grab the object. (ex. make the alarm go off and then an arm come down to hit the person’s hand, or use a motor to make a box come over the object that the person is trying to take so they can no longer grab it)  There are so many different ways to take this project, so be creative!

  • Banana Sorting Challenge (advanced): I recently read a very cool article about how robotics is changing farming!  I tried to mimic this new advancement in a banana sorting challenge. This challenging is more programming-focused. You will use 2 different objects -- one to represent ripe bananas and one to represent unripe bananas. You will have to program your robot using the color sensor and ultrasonic sensor to approach each “banana” (you can use a wooden block or something similar), pick it up, and put it to the right if it is ripe, or put it to the left if it is unripe. The picture below will help you visualize how to set this up. This is a more advanced programming challenge.

  • Mars Rocks Challenge:  For this challenge you will need to design an arm or claw that will be able to bring multiple rocks from Mars (I used small blocks) to Earth (from one point to another). You can start this challenge by following the LEGO instructions to build a driving base again. From here, you need to try and brainstorm what type of design you want on your robot to pick up the blocks.  Remember there is no right or wrong answer.  You can have an arm come up and down over the objects that will drag them to Earth or you can have a claw that comes together and actually grabs the piece. (Hint: The use of gears will be very important in this challenge)

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