Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Robotics Workshop

Between July 20 and 25 Kevin Giovanetti and Gabriel Niculescu joined forces with Nick Swayne in education to present a robotics workshop. This workshop for in-service high school and middle school teachers is part of the Virginia Initiative for Robotics in STEM Education (VIRSE). Teachers from the valley and as far away as Richmond and Martinsville attended.

The grant supporting this workshop also purchases large and small robots for potential use in the FIRST Robotics Competition and the FIRST Lego League. Kevin and Gabe taught the participants how to program the robots and how to incorporate them into the the sort of classroom activities that contribute to the Virginia SOLs.
Shown at the right is one of the smaller robots equipped with a pen it can move up and down. By suitable programming, it can draw figures on a sheet of paper. If the paper is graph paper, students can then compute slopes and connect to some math. By timing the motion of the robot we can determine the velocity and connect to a bit of physics.