Week 1: Robotics

I was actually quite surprised at how easy the robot was to put together. The directions were very clear and simple to follow. I was nervous, though, because I didn’t want to break anything. While I was completing the tutorials in the mBlock app, a bolt fell off, but I was able to screw it back on. I realized where it went after I noticed how the robot was only turning one wheel (because the screw was sticking out and blocking the mechanism). I first downloaded a different app, but it was for drawing paths and remote controlling the robot, not coding. The mBlock app had a series of tutorials I had to complete in order to unlock the different elements of coding. These tutorials were very helpful in showing me what the categories are as well as how to import rules and conditions into my sequence.

I struggled a bit with the “play music” and “sing” task because I am not very musically inclined. The beeps sounded like beeps to me, not music. However, I did notice that if you increased the length of the tone (from quarter beat to half beat or whole beat) it started to sound more like music instead of just electronic sounds. What I ended up doing was creating a tone of all half beats that went from a low to high pitch. I also had the robot move closer to me to make the change in tone seem as if it is due to the decrease in distance (like it would in real life).


Before I started the “move in a square” and “move in a circle” task, I expected there to be a code option that would have the robot move a certain number of degrees; however, the mBlock system used time and speed instead. I found the “move in a circle” task quite difficult, but the “move in a square” more straight forward. I started with the idea that the robot would need to move forward then to the right and, since it’s a square, this would have to be repeated four times. What became a bit of a perplexing task, was to figure out how to make it stop over turning because then it wouldn’t look like a square. Since there are no degrees options, I played around with the speed and time. First, I decreased the speed to slow (100) which helped, but it still wasn’t creating a square. I then decreased the time from 1 second to 0.5 seconds. This got me the closest, so far, to actually making a square. I increased the time to 0.6 seconds and the combination of this with the speed led my robot into a square pattern.


For the “racing” task, I tried to think what a worthy opponent could be because my dogs wouldn’t be a fair competitor (since they are about 6-10 times the size). I decided on using a remote control dinosaur robot. Getting both robots to start at the same time was a bit tricky, plus the dinosaur wheels don’t work well on carpet. I conducted the race on tile and the results were quite close. Weirdly enough, both robots went slightly to their left than completely straight. Maybe this was due to the layout of the tiles. The mBot robot did come in first, despite how it looks in the video. This can be seen in how the mBot robot turned left in front of the robot even though he started more to the right. I also coded the mBot to stop when an obstacle (like the door or myself) appeared.


The “LED display” task was probably my favorite because it created such an interesting product. I wanted the robot to spin while the lights flashed, so I coded the task by creating a pattern of spinning, color, color. I repeated this pattern, but with different colors. I then used a control option to repeat the entire sequence twice, which is a very helpful element especially if a long code is being created.



    • Jacqueline Coughlin
      Jacqueline Coughlin

      I love this, Skyler! I imagine that the dogs were freaked out--lol! Thanks for sharing your progress in accordance with the directions and blocks. 

      • Gerald Ardito
        Gerald Ardito


        This is all just great.

        I laughed out loud at the dinosaur/mBot race.

        And thanks for so clearly documenting your process of working out the square and circle tasks.

      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.

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