Robotics Week Ends with an Arm-azing Display

A six-foot trip down a straight line of tape on the floor shows how far some Knight Lights campers have come during robotics week.

Students going into fourth and fifth grades have spent the week building and programming a Lego NXT robot with an arm tasked with a special assignment – to lift and carry a toy animal to safety.

Robots traveled down the six-foot line, reached under the animals, returned to their starting point then dropped the animal on the floor. Many student teams took multiple tries to get the robot to successfully execute the rescue.

“We had to put the program in and if it wasn’t right we had to program it again,” said Sophia Bagg who is entering 4th grade.

“Whether it’s building arms or engineering the code they’re learning it takes time. They’re learning the only way they’re going to make it work is by failing and being persistent,” said Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H said Tech Wizards teacher Kelly Adams.

The youngest campers are worked with spheros, robots that can be controlled via an app that turns a device into a joystick. They also worked with robots they can program by pressing buttons to build a code which directs them where to go.

Six-year-old campers connected batteries and motors to toothbrush heads to clean simulated oil off of a beach. They also used what are called ozo bots, which are tiny robots. Students programmed the ozo bots using color codes and color lines. They tried to make the ozo bots follow the spelling of their names.

The students seemed to sharpen their skills as the week went along.

“To come back even a day later, they jumped right in telling each other what to do instead of coming to us and saying something doesn’t work. They took more ownership of the project,” said Adams.

And every time something didn’t work the students looked at the code to see what they could fix.

“It was a lot and lot of programming,” said Bagg.

Teacher and students smiling with robot and computer on desk

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