Robotics in the classroom

PhD student at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Jasper James, reports on his recent visit to Nailsea school:

On Wednesday (3rd July) I was lucky enough to be invited to Nailsea School to run a more able and talented (MAT) session with a small group of students from years 7, 8 and 9. The session was going to focus on basic aspects of robotics and the majority would be giving the students hands on experience using Thymio – a small two-wheeled robot. 

The students quickly picked up the basics of using Thymio and by the end of the first hour they had the Thymios moving around the table being guided by their hands and following lines using the proximity sensors on the robot. We then moved on to the advanced mode which gives more functionality to Thymio and increases the complexity of the programs and behaviours that can be coded.

The end goal was to have one Thymio measure the speed of another and if it was moving too fast, light up red and chase after the speeding robot. Several of the students managed this – impressive given the short length of the session – but hopefully all of them took away some of the basic skills needed to program robots to complete a task.

I really enjoyed my time using the Thymios – I think they are an excellent platform and the visual block-based programming language is very intuitive – and I’ll gladly go back to Nailsea school to run another session if I am asked!

If you’d like to have a Thymio based robotics programming session for your class, please do get in touch with us at Curiosity Connections to see if we can arrange something: curiosityconnections@uwe.ac.uk

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