4

Crossing the Gap

Crossing the Gap is a free-form robotics activity that requires a minimal amount of setup. It is an excellent choice for novices, but can also present a challenge to experienced students. The idea for this activity came from an earlier post.

One of our after-school robotics classes recently completed this unit – check out the video to see the results!

Our basic lesson outline is as follows:

Task

Build a robot that can safely cross the gap between two desks. The gap starts at 15 cm, and will increase by 5 cm each time your robot reaches the other side.

Props

Two desks (or other movable raised surfaces) and a soft floor! A large ruler should be on hand to set tables to specific distances.

Warning: Robots WILL hit the ground during this activity. Take steps to minimise damage.

Challenge Rules

  • There are no instructions or examples provided.
  • No human assistance is allowed.
  • Students operate with limited parts (a single MINDSTORMS kit) and time (as defined by teacher).
  • All Robots must start ENTIRELY on one table.
  • Robots must cross the gap to reach the other table, then stop without falling off!
  • Robots can use any method to cross the gap.
  • Each student begins the exercise with a gap of 15 cm (approx. 6 inches).
  • After each success, the student expands their gap by 5 cm (approx 2 inches).
  • All students work on their own gap, making individual progress.

Design and Planning

Whilst students are not given instructions for this activity, a teacher can choose to pose the following questions to the help the design process:

  • Where is the robot’s tipping point?
  • Will the robot always need to support both ends during a crossing?
  • Will the robot always need at least one wheel in contact with a table?
  • How can the robot be designed to handle increasing gaps?
  • Will the robot be all-in-one unit, or will it use a tool?

Activity

After providing the information above, let the students begin. Teachers should display a countdown so students are aware of the remaining challenge time.

An enthusiastic class will race to see the largest gap that can be crossed!

I hope you find this useful.

Regards,
Andrew Clark

“Project Bucephalus” Coach
www.projectb.net.au

The following two tabs change content below.
Coach of "Project Bucephalus", an FLL team from Wollongong Australia. We've been running after-school and school holiday robotics activities since 2010

Latest posts by Andrew Clark (see all)

Leave a Reply