STEAM Task-Dash the Bulldozer!

posted Oct 17, 2016, 6:13 PM by Patrick Johnson   [ updated Oct 17, 2016, 6:15 PM ]
Students have coded Dash the Robot in two previous activities so far this year. Today they applied their coding knowledge to program Dash to complete a specific task. The task was to code Dash to remove as many balls as possible from a hundred's mat.

This activity linked to the curriculum and learning skills in many ways:
  • Students worked together to complete the task, often troubleshooting together when their code didn't work as expected (LS- Collaboration)
  • Programming movement on a grid (Geometry)
  • Angles (Geometry)
  • Students were told that for every 20cm they programmed Dash to travel, it would move one square on the grid (Measurement)
  • Friction-The carpet slowed the distance Dash travelled so in fact each square measured less than 20 cm(Science-Forces)
First students were shown the task below:.

We also discussed the following social goals when working with a partner:
  • Taking turns
  • Listening and appreciating each other's ideas
  • Problem solving the task together

Next students were shown the layout of the balls on the mat. They were also told the point system for the balls.
50 points for the red ball
30 points for each ping pong ball
20 points for each gold ball

Then students were given grid paper that showed the layout of the balls on the mat. They were told that if they programmed Dash to move 20cm, that was the equivalent of moving one square on the grid. Students planned a route for Dash on the grid paper before coding their route on the iPad app.

Finally, when students were satisfied with their code, they attempted the task. Students tallied their scores using mental math. Students were also allowed to make multiple attempts. This gave students the opportunity to analyze Dash's performance and make modifications to the code before the next attempt. It is interesting to note that almost every group was able to improve Dash's performance in subsequent attempts.