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Adding a Robot Project to a CS1 Course Patricia Roth Pierce April 17, 2010 Introduction A Little Bit About Me Where the course fits into the curriculum Why I added a robot project to CS1/CS2 How I did it Results My Background Undergraduate Math major – no CS at that time.

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Adding a robot project to a cs1 course l.jpg

Adding a Robot Project to a CS1 Course

Patricia Roth Pierce

April 17, 2010


Introduction l.jpg
Introduction

  • A Little Bit About Me

  • Where the course fits into the curriculum

  • Why I added a robot project to CS1/CS2

  • How I did it

  • Results


My background l.jpg
My Background

  • Undergraduate Math major – no CS at that time.

  • Worked for IBM several years, teaching customers and employee training classes in programming - early 60s.

  • After being married and starting a family, worked part time at two and four year colleges wherever we were located - late 60s to late 90s (since 1982 at SPSU).

  • Returned to school for a Masters in Software Engineering and landed a full time position at SPSU in 2002.

  • Current position - Senior Lecturer


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Southern Polytechnic State University

  • Founded in 1948 as a two-year division of the Georgia Institute of Technology

    • requested by Georgia business and industry.

    • 16 students and 12 staff.

    • Housed in an airport building in Chamblee, GA.

  • Today, SPSU is a four year accredited university with:

    • A 230 acre campus in Marietta, GA.

    • 35 buildings and 3 new ones under construction.

    • 5000+ students from 61 countries.

    • Four Schools – Arts & Sciences, Engineering & Technology Management, Architecture, CET, & Construction, and Computing and Software Engineering (includes IT)


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Computing and Software Engineering

  • Undergraduate/Graduate degrees in:

    • Computer Science

    • Software Engineering

    • Information Technology

    • Gaming (undergraduate only at this point)


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CSE Curriculum

  • Currently all four CSE undergraduate degrees begin with a 2 or 3 semester programming sequence of:

    • Program and Problem Solving I (Java)

    • Program and Problem Solving II (Java)

    • Data Structures (C++)

    • CSE School also provides the first two programming courses for our Engineering, Math, Biology, and Physics students.


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Program and Problem Solving I and II

  • 4 credit course – 3 hours lecture (40 students), 1.5 hours closed lab (20 students with full attendance of professor and lab assistant).

  • Graded on 3 tests, 6 outside projects, 11 closed lab assignments, and a few homework papers.

  • Every semester, I have made the last project a two-student team assignment to design a program with a GUI or graphic component and present the results in front of the class. Grade is on depth, correctness, and enthusiasm. I encourage them to have fun with it.

  • I have been pleasantly surprised!


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Why I Added Robot Project to Courses

  • Current popularity

  • SIGCSE conference, Spring, 2009

  • Email from my department chair

  • NOTE: Not trying to teach robotics or teach all of CS1 using a robot (Ga. Tech.) - just considered adding a robot project to current course, in place of the GUI/Graphics assignment.


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Possible Robot Choices

  • Lego – too much time to build and program.

  • Cricket – too youthful, aimed at grade and high school, I felt.

  • Scribbler - www.roboteducation.org


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Scribbler Robot

  • Lots of sensors, camera, pen attachment, and speaker

  • Wireless

  • Local contacts at Ga. Tech.

  • ~ $250.00 for Scribbler, Bluetooth thumb drive, and Lancet fluke dongle.

  • Free resources on internet

    a.) text:

    Learning Computing with Robots by Deepak Kumar

    b.) reference manual:

    Myro_Reference_Manual

    - Python language (2.4)


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One Hour of Lecture!

  • Basic Python commands for the Scribbler

    • motors, forward, backward, rotate, move

  • Ask students to code drawing a square

    forward(1,1) turnLeft(1,.3) forward(1,1)

    turnLeft(1,.3) forward(1,1) turnLeft(1,.3) forward(1,1)

    (all as separate commands)

  • Function definition in Python

    • sample dance routine from text – see handout


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Several Lab Hours

  • My lecture on Scribbler was given after midpoint of the semester.

  • One week to think about it, read material, choose teammate (optional), and propose a robot activity.

  • Sign-up sheet - any stragglers were assigned by me.

  • Closed lab time available for practice, as well as several other times with lab assistant.

  • I encouraged them to play and learn as much as they could but not to try to do more than was realistic.

  • Presentations were during the last full week of class – attendance mandatory.


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First Scribbler Projects

  • First Year Students – C++

    • Parallel Park

    • Draw a Box frontwards and backwards, followed by a song

    • Play Mario theme song and draw a box

    • Trace a zig-zag path and return

    • Recreate a Gone with the Wind scene

    • Draw a house

    • Draw a figure 8

    • Act like a dog, play Jingle Bells

    • Play Rock, Scissors, Paper, Spock, Lizard – uses camera

    • Draw a 3-D box

    • Draw 2 intersecting diamonds

    • Play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, draw and redraw a box

    • Draw First Robotics Logo


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First Scribbler Project (cont)

  • Second Year Students – Java

    • Play baseball with three different sounds

    • Boogie Dance to a wav sound file

    • Wanders, detects obstacles, and moves away

    • Staying on white paper, surrounded by black – playpen effect

    • Play Flight of the Bumblebee

    • Follow a light source

    • Takes a picture, determine color and moves 3 different ways, based on color it “saw”, play Ode to Joy

    • Print “HELLO” using 4 functions

    • Gradually speeded up and slowed down wheel motors

    • Avoid objects and make car start up and running noises, blink lights

    • Find green color (balloon) and pop it

    • Trace across a white poster board and calculate its area and perimeter

    • Draw and retrace a spiraling circle

    • Draw two boxes, side by side

    • Imitate a puppy by backing off from any object and barking


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Biggest Lessons

  • Have patience when using mechanical devices – learned this very well.

  • Learning a new language after the first is a piece of cake!


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Frustrations – a few

  • Scribbler eats batteries – I have changed to rechargeable batteries.

  • Scribbler must be recalibrated from time to time and, even then, is not precise.

  • Students do not have enough time to do all that they want to do, although some students really got into it and enjoyed every moment





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Questions, Demo, and Contacts

  • Questions?

  • Film

  • Demo

  • Thank you and I welcome any later questions/comments you may have – just email me at:

    [email protected]

  • PowerPoint slides available at: http://cse.spsu.edu/proth


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