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We, Robots. Or Encounter at FarPoint A problem-solving simulation By Mary Mellon. FarPoint Mission. L.A.R.R.-E. must successfully navigate a “canyon” maze

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We robots

We, Robots


Encounter at FarPoint

A problem-solving simulation

By Mary Mellon

Farpoint mission
FarPoint Mission

  • L.A.R.R.-E. must successfully navigate a “canyon” maze

  • L.A.R.R.-E. must successfully locate a light source (robogold) on a black stripe located on the “plain” after leaving the canyon. The robot will stop when it “discovers” the robogold and play a sound to indicate that it has found the correct place.

  • Programmers will be allowed to change programs only once during their Mission trial. They will not be allowed to make any physical changes to their design of L.A.R.R.-E. once they start the trial. Limited repairs will be allowed.

Basic equipment and materials list
Basic Equipment and Materials List

  • 5-6 Lego Mindstorms robotic kits

  • Minimum of 6 Batteries for each kit

  • 5-6 Windows based computers (98 or above)

  • Introductory Powerpoint presentation

  • Materials to construct the “canyon” and “mining” challenges

  • RIS (Robotic Invention System) software for each robot

  • Handouts as needed throughout the “mission”

Day 1
Day 1

  • Watch the introductory Powerpoint presentation

  • Discuss the importance of robots in the exploration of Space.

  • Introduce the Mission and its parameters

  • Questions

Day 2
Day 2

  • Assign teams, discuss responsibilities of each team member assignment

  • Begin working through the missions, answering the “certification” questions along the way

  • Any other questions?

  • Team Log entry 1—make a team list of 10 criteria for evaluating this experience

Day 3
Day 3

  • Continue with the missions and certification --the goal being to finish them today or tomorrow

  • Questions

  • Team Log 2

Day 4
Day 4

  • Begin programming for the FarPoint Mission

  • “Be the robot”

  • Questions

  • Team Log 3—Algorithm for L.A.R.R.-E.’s behavior

Day 5
Day 5

  • Continue programming work

  • Questions

  • Team Log 4—Gear ratio, wheels, time-trials data gathering exercise

Days 6 8
Days 6-8

  • Continue programming work

  • Questions

  • Team Log 5-7 technical writing exercises

  • Optional internet research days

Day 9
Day 9

  • Begin official FarPoint Mission trials

  • Team Log 8

Day 10
Day 10

  • Any remaining Mission trials

  • Evaluation and Debriefing of experience

  • Final Log entry assignment

Science standards
Science Standards

  • As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students will develop the abilities to do scientific inquiry, be able to demonstrate how scientific inquiry is applied, and develop understandings about scientific inquiry.

  • As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students will demonstrate abilities of technological design and understandings about science and technology.

Reading standards
Reading Standards

  • Standard 1 – Reading: The student reads and comprehends text across the curriculum.

  • Standard 4 – Research: The student applies reading and writing skills to demonstrate learning.

Other standards
Other Standards

  • NCTM-National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:

    • Standard 6: Problem Solving

  • NSES-National Science Education Standards:

    • Standard A: Science as inquiry

    • Standard B: Physical Science

    • Standard E: Science and Technology

  • Other standards cont
    Other Standards cont.

    • ITEA—International Technology in Education Association:

      • Standard 3: The relationships between technologies and the connections between technologies and other fields

      • Standard 8: The attributes of design

      • Standard 9: Engineering design

      • Standard 10: The role of trouble-shooting, research and development, invention and innovation, and experimentation in problem solving

    Bloom s taxonomy
    Bloom’s Taxonomy

    • Analysis—students will use analytical skills to determine the steps needed to to solve the problem.

    • Synthesis—students will use and modify basic skills learned in tutorial “missions” to solve new problems

    • Evaluation—students will evaluate their current solutions in light of the presented criteria for success and make changes accordingly


    • 1. Move forward whenever possible

    • 2. Backup and turn whenever a wall is hit

    • 3. Locate the place with the light

    • 4. Go to the place with the light

    • 5. Stop

    • 6. Play a tone or tune