The Dance-Off Challenge

Before beginning this project, I decided to think about songs that had specific movements to them in real life. For example, the Cha-Cha Slide, the Cotton Eye Joe, the Electric Slide, etc. In thinking this way, it allowed for me to imagine the moves I would want the MBot to perform without trying to wing-it. Since I am not a Robotics major, I decided to choose the Cotton Eye Joe because in real life, it has five specific moves (tap foot to the front twice, tap foot to the back twice, kicking right foot in front and back, walk to the right and spin to the left). In turn, this would make the MBot only need five major movements. Unfortunately, the MBot does not have feet so I had to modify the movements to four specific moves (move forward, move backward, spin to the right and spin to the left). I listened to the song all the way through twice, and realized there are moments where the beat of the music either breaks or speeds up. Rather than making the four movements repetitive, I decided that the music breaks would be a perfect time to utilize the 'lights flashing' sensor.

Now, it was time to begin. At first, I started right away with the four specific movements. Unfortunately, this proved to not be the best idea because the MBot immediately started off-beat to the music. To fix this minor set-back, I decided to add in flashing lights to act as if the MBot is "counting out the music" or "clapping to the beat." Once the beat to the music officially drops, I had the MBot begin the four specific movements, making sure that they were short and quick; just as it is in real life.

The next piece I had to face had been the change in singing voice from male to female. This could be considered as another change in music to create a change in movement. For example, once the female singer begins, I had the MBot finish off the final four specific movements and decided to program the MBot to create a wide circle while flashing the lights. This piece helped with breaking up the four movements from being too repetitive, especially since there is a music change. Once the music goes back from now female to male, the four movements immediately return.

I enjoyed this project a lot. The simple MBot software allowed for me to be able to quickly delete and start a piece of the program over if I ran into any issues without having to completely erase the entire project. The hardest part of the project had been the timing of movements to the beat of the song. Specifically, how many times to loop movements and then begin a new movement. It took a lot of listening to and re-listening to the Cotton Eye Joe over and over again to count out in my own head how many loops I could utilize (...At this point, I never want to hear that song again! I heard it in my sleep!).

Aside from kids using the MBot for fun, I actually thought about utilizing the MBot in a high school setting. In an English classroom, there are always ways to incorporate project options for students that give them creative freedom. I immediately thought about a lesson I did on the George Orwell novel, 1984. As a final unit assignment, students were able to write a paper, do a PowerPoint presentation or create their own creative project that relates to the idea of 'Big Brother watching,' or not being able to do anything without the government knowing. The MBot would have been a perfect creative option because it cannot move, flash lights, make sounds, etc. without being programmed to do so. The MBot is immediately controlled by another force (the person who bought the MBot and has the app to program it). This idea would be such a fun way for students to understand the theme of the novel, while engaging in a fun activity.

The Dance-Off Challenge

The Dance-Off Coding

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito


      You did an excellent job with this challenge. I was as impressed with the process you used to define the project as I was by your execution of it. It struck me that defining the boundaries of what you felt comfortable doing in a thoughtful way allowed you to most fully express yourself.

      I also LOVE your idea for the George Orwell project. Please let us know if you ever give that a try.

    Computer Science for Teachers Spring 2019

    Computer Science for Teachers Spring 2019

    Here is the online home for CS for Teachers at Pace University for Spring 2019.

    Latest comments