Project 1: Roboteering
Designed by Albert Carroll, this curriculum proposal will attempt to involve a group of six grade seven-nine students in developing a peer relationship via the Internet with first year engineering students with the purpose of establishing a pool of Internet resources suitable for the Newfoundland and making. These students will establish a school home page and a major part of that will be devoted to linking robotics, robotics interfacing and stimulating interactions between and among junior high school students in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
A project such as this already exist between students at the University of Saskatchewan and High School Students. In the absence of a well developed program in computer interfacing and robotics in this Province, I believe we can stimulate a lot of interest in computer controlled devices, interfacing and programming. During the previous three years or so, I have taught a mechanical robotics course to grade seven students. They constructed a robotic arm from wood strips and powered it with syringes and tubing with air or water; pneumatics or hydraulics. I was impressed by the interest. Last year I did a module of study in Microsoft Visual Basic with grade seven students, I am looking for a way to carry this into a much better program with interfacing and creativity. I personally do not have the expertise, or access to the expertise to carry this further at this point. In order to do so I must have access to the Internet during class time with students doing much of the leg work. I have a module in grade eight using a Robix-RCS6 robot interfaced with a computer and students use a piece of software to manipulate the different forms of robot constructed sturdy parts. However, I want to students to take this a step further, and use a compiler to compile their own program to run this robot or a construction of their own. There is a large core of students in the school who are very interested in robotics. It is my belief they can be as good at robotics engineering as any students in the world.
The school has already began the development of its home page and if we are successful, we will begin the second phase of making connections with first year engineering students in January. By the end of this current year, we should have a robotics interactions program in place for succeeding years.
This program has very strong connections to the newly developed intermediate technology education essential graduation learnings:
It expands and enhances the present technology explorations modules that we have set up using a grant from Human Resources Development.
Two students working together, at 9 different modules in one room. One of those modules uses a small piece of software to control a mechanical robot. To further develop this I want to have students learn to compile their own program and manipulate their individually built devices, whether that is a model oil rig or a two axis wooden arm. This of course has implications for science. I don't believe this can be done in science classes because it responds to more individual interest.