STEAM: Coding with Dash to Learn about Forces

posted Oct 12, 2017, 5:36 PM by Patrick Johnson
Today students participated in another coding activity with our robot Dash. This time, a ball launcher was mounted on top of Dash. Dash and the launcher can both be coded on the iPad using the Blocky App. The goal was to code Dash to navigate around obstacles on a hundred's mat and then fire the launcher towards a stack of cups.

First we discussed the forces we saw during our outdoor learning last week (see blog post here). Students identified muscular forces, gravity and friction from the photos we took.

Then students were introduced to Dash with the launcher accessory. They were shown how to code the amount of pushing force Dash could apply to the launcher through the app (from 0 to 100%). The stronger the force, the greater the speed and distance the ball travelled. We also discussed the friction of the carpet that slowed Dash down (compared with the smooth tiled floor).

Next students were given the task below.

Students worked on this task in partners and we discussed learning skills such as: Self-Regulation, Collaboration and Responsibility

Students were also given a grid to help plan out their code. They were told that each square corresponded to 20 cm of movement in the Blocky Coding App. Students then tested their code using Dash and the launcher. They were given up to 3 attempts to try their code. Between each attempt students modified their code based on their observations from the previous test. 

Students testing out their code:

Afterwards, students drew a labelled diagram of the STEAM activity in their science notebooks.