Lego Robotics TRASHtrek Challenge: Reflections

First Lego League!

This has been my first experience with Lego robotics, and I wanted to share some of my reflections post-competition. There are a lot of things that I learned as a coach that I can improve on, if I am coaching again next year.

  1. Have an extra EV3 brick for the students to work with! I had 9 students on the robotics team, and 1 EV3 brick. That is a terrible ratio for instruction. The kids need (and want) to play with the programs and the motors, but they can’t do it in a group of 9. A group of 3-4 kids would be perfect.
  2. Spend more time on the robot! I felt incredibly rushed at the end to get the robot ready. We used too much of our time planning, and building the models. It would be much better to get a prototype together even one that isn’t a final product, and start working with it!
  3. Make sure your table is clean and stable! We built our board on a table with some dirt caked in, and legs that wobble at the slightest touch. That stuff really needs to be fixed before you put the models onto the table. Even the slightest grain of debris or shake of the table can throw off the trajectory of the robot and lead you to make changes that aren’t necessary.

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Other improvements for our lego robotics team next year!

First, our design this year was very much based on a typical tractor design. All of our attachments were basically just added onto the front of that design. As I have been reading I see a lot of teams build these pinless attachments that can be taken on and off very easily and quickly. I would like to show the students how to accomplish this so that they can implement that strategy into their plans.

Second, using more sensors! It was easy to teach the kids how to do the most basic things of running the motors and configuring them to spin in the correct directions. However, this can be improved significantly with the addition of the ultrasonic sensor for distance, the color sensor to follow lines, and the gyroscopic sensor to more accurately navigate turns. I think the touch sensor can be used to speed up the transitions in base, and even just that would be a significant improvement.

Lego Robotics TRASHtrek Challenge: Photos

Here are some of the pictures I took as the year went along. Unfortunately, my phone camera is not great but it was still good to capture the students working on building and programming the robot. In my other post I tried to reflect on how we can improveĀ the Lego robotics teamĀ for next year.