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Activity

Play Robot

In this activity, we will explore the necessity to be specific and detailed in how we present information to a computer.

Robots and Programmers

Form either pairs, triplets, or groups of four for this activity. Each person in the group should take turns playing the role of the robot while the others act as the programmer of the robot.

Robot Language

To give the robot instructions, you may use the following sentences. We'll add more sentences as we take on more challenges.

Go forward N steps
Turn 90 degrees left.
Turn 90 degrees right.

Robot Challenge Number One: Squares

In this task, your goal is to have your robot walk a path in the shape of a square. A path with four sides, each an equal length and ending where the robot began.

  1. Discuss a plan for how to break the problem down
  2. Discuss options for different ways to solve the problem
  3. Make an algorithm for the problem and then express it in the language above.
  4. Test it out by discussing it, or map it out on paper
  5. Give the algorithm to your robot and have them test it out for real.

Robot Challenge Number Two: Rectangles

In this task, your goal is to have your robot walk a path in the shape of a rectangle. The path should have four sides, but the shape should be twice as "tall" as it is "wide." The robot, as in the Squares challenge, ends up back at the starting position.

Repeat the work steps noted above

Expanding Our Language

For the following challenges we will expand our language to have these instructions:

Turn ____ degrees left.
Turn ____ degrees right.

Robot Challenge Number Three: Triangle

In this task, your goal is to have your robot walk a path in the shape of a triangle. The path should have three sides, with the robot ending at its starting spot.

Robot Challenge Number Four: Stars!

In this task, your goal is to have your robot walk a path in the shape of a star. Determine what a "star" pattern means to you and if the robot needs to end at the starting spot.

Robot Challenge Number Five: To Jason's Office!

Walk the robot from their seat to Jason's office door and back (take a different route on the way back).

Robot Challenge Number Six: Jason's Office Challenge, Redux.

Would your algorithm for walking to Jason's office work from any other starting point, say the kitchen, without modification? What different kinds of steps would you need?

Update your algorithm to work from the kitchen. Or take the more considerable challenge and have your algorithm work from any point on campus. Add new language as you need, but keep it narrow and straightforward like our existing steps.

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