Programmable Robots

Virtual Lab Tour

Maya Staresinic, our programmable robot guru, explains how programmable robots can be utilized to create rich learning experiences in any makerspace!

Introduction to Programmable Robots

Programmable robots are a technology that you are able to program in order to make your robot interact with you or its surrounding environment. There are a variety of ways you can make your robot ‘go’, whether through coding (block coding, typed coding, etc.), through push-button commands, or by drawing a path for your robot to follow. Using many devices such as laptops, desktop computers, iPads, tablets or smartphones, you are given full reign of your robot’s movements. Programmable robots appeal to a wide range of ages, grade levels, and subjects.

Types of Programmable Robots

Sphero

Sphero is a programmable robot that moves and lights up. It connects students to the world of programming and robotics in a simple and fun way. Get the Sphero Edu app on iTunes or the Google Play Store.

Other Sphero Models: BB8, Ollie, SPRK 2.0, SPRK+, SPRK mini

Other Robots 

  • Dash & Dot
  • Ozobot
  • Beebot

Curriculum Connections: Primary (Grades 1 – 3)

Science/Technology:

Grade 1:

Understanding Life Systems

  • Develop Investigation and Communication Skills
  • 2.2 investigate and compare the basic needs of humans and other living things, including the need for air, water, food, warmth, and space, using a variety of methods and resources
  • 2.6 use appropriate science and technology vocabulary, including investigation, explore, needs, space, and food, in oral and written communication

Understanding Matter and Energy

  • Investigate how different kinds of energy are used in daily life

Grade 2:

Understanding Life Systems

  • Overall Expectation – Assess ways in which animals have an impact on society and the environment, and ways in which humans have an impact upon animals and the places where they live
  • 2.3 investigate the life cycle of a variety of animals (e.g., butterflies, frogs, chickens), using a variety of methods and resources

Grade 3:

Understanding Matter and Energy

  • Overall – Investigate devices that use forces to create controlled movement
  • Overall – Demonstrate an understanding of how forces cause movement and changes in
    movement

Developing investigation and communication skills

  • 2.2 investigate forces that cause an object to start moving, stop moving, or change direction
  • 2.3 conduct investigations to determine the effects of increasing or decreasing the amount of force applied to an object

Structures and Mechanisms

  • Overall – assess the importance of form, function, strength, and stability in structures through time
  • Overall – investigate strong and stable structures to determine how their design and materials enable them to perform their load-bearing function

Developing Investigation and Communication Skills

  • 2.4 use technological problem-solving skills (see page 16), and knowledge acquired from previous investigations, to design and build a strong and stable structure that serves a purpose.
  • 2.5 use appropriate science and technology vocabulary, including compression, tension, strut, ties, strength, and stability, in oral and written communication

Arts:

Visual Arts

  • Creating and Presenting: apply to creative process to produce a variety of two- and three-dimensional art works, using elements, principles, and techniques of visual arts to communicate feelings, ideas and understanding

Language Arts:

Grade 1: Writing

  • 1.5 identify and order main ideas and supporting details, initially with support and direction, using simple graphic organizers (e.g., a story ladder, sequence chart) and simple organizational patterns
  • 2.4 write simple but complete sentences that make sense

Grade 2: Writing

  • 1.5 identify and order main ideas and supporting details, using graphic organizers (e.g., a story grammar: characters, setting, problem, solution; a sequential chart: first, then, next, finally) and organizational patterns
  • 2.1 write short texts using several simple forms
  • 2.4 use a variety of sentence types

Grade 3: Writing

  • 1.5 identify and order main ideas and supporting details into units that could be used to develop a short, simple paragraph, using graphic organizers
  • 2.1 write short texts using a variety of forms
  • 2.4 vary sentence structures and maintain continuity by using joining words (e.g., and, or) to combine simple sentences and using words that indicate time and sequence to link sentences

Mathematics:

Grade 1

Number Sense and Numeration

  • Overall Expectations
    • Demonstrate an understanding of magnitude by counting forward to 100 and backwards from 20;
    • Solve problems involving the addition and subtraction of single-digit whole numbers, using a variety of strategies

Grade 2

Patterning and Algebra

    • Overall Expectations
      • Identify, describe, extend, and create repeating patterns, growing patterns, and shrinking pattern
      • Patterns and Relationships
        • Identify repeating, growing, and shrinking patterns found in real-life contexts
        • represent a given growing or shrinking pattern in a variety of ways

Grade 3

Measurement

    • Overall Expectation
      • Estimate, measure, and record length, perimeter, area, mass, capacity, time, and temperature, using standard units
      • Compare, describe, and order objects, using attributes measured in standard units
    • Patterning and Algebra
      • Identify, describe, extend and create repeating patterns
    • Data Management and Probability
      • Describe the likelihood that everyday events will happen
    • Number Sense and Numeration
      • Solve problems involving the addition and subtraction of single-digit whole numbers, using a variety of strategies

Curriculum Connections: Junior (Grades 4 – 6)

Science/Technology:

Grade 4:

Understanding Life Systems

  • Overall – Plants and animals are interdependent and are adapted to meet their needs from the resources available in their particular habitats

Developing investigation and communication skills

  • 2.2 build food chains consisting of different plants and animals, including humans
  • 2.5 use appropriate science and technology vocabulary, including habitat, population,
    community, adaptation, and food chain, in oral and written communication

Grade 5: 

Understanding Earth and Space Systems

  • Overall – Demonstrate an understanding of the various forms and sources of energy and the ways in which energy can be transformed and conserved

Relating Science and Technology to Society and the Environment

  • 1.2 evaluate the effects of various technologies on energy consumption

Developing investigation and communication skills

  • 2.3 use technological problem-solving skills (see page 16) to design, build, and test a device that transforms one form of energy into another

Grade 6:

  • Understanding Earth and Space Systems
    • Demonstrate and understanding of the various forms and sources of energy and the ways in which energy can be transformed and conserved
  • Understanding Matter and Energy
    • Investigate the characteristics of static and current energy
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the principals of electrical energy and its transformation into and from other forms of energy

Arts

Language Arts

Grade 4: Writing

  • 1.5 identify and order main ideas and supporting details and group them into units that could be used to develop a summary, using a variety of graphic organizers (e.g., a Venn diagram, a paragraph frame) and organizational patterns
  • 2.4 use sentences of different lengths and structures

Grade 5: Writing

  • 1.5 identify and order main ideas and supporting details and group them into units that could be used to develop several linked paragraphs, using a variety of strategies
  • 2.1 write longer and more complex texts using a variety of forms
  • 2.4 vary sentence types and structures, with a focus on using conjunctions to connect ideas, and pronouns to make links within and between sentences

Grade 6: Writing

  • 1.4 sort and classify information for their writing in a variety of ways that allow them to view information from different perspectives and make connections between ideas
  • 1.5 identify and order main ideas and supporting details and group them into units that could be used to develop a structured, multi-paragraph piece of writing, using a variety of strategies
  • 2.1 write longer and more complex texts using a wide range of forms
  • 2.4 create complex sentences by combining phrases, clauses, and/or simple sentences

Visual Arts

  • Overall – Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process (see pages 19–22) to produce a variety of two- and three-dimensional art works, using elements, principles, and techniques of visual arts to communicate feelings, ideas, and understandings (across all grades)

Creating and Presenting

  • D1.4 use a variety of materials, tools, and techniques to respond to design challenges (across all grades)

Mathematics

Grade 4: Operational Sense

  • solve problems involving the multiplication of one-digit whole numbers, using a variety of mental strategies
  • Divide two-digit whole numbers by one- digit whole numbers, using a variety of tools
  • Use estimation when solving problems involving the addition, subtraction, and multiplication of whole numbers, to help judge the reasonableness of a solution

Grade 5: Measurement

  • Overall Expectation
    • Estimate,measure,and record perimeter, area, temperature change, and elapsed time,using a variety of strategies
    • Determine the relationships among units and measurable attributes, including the area of a rectangle and the volume of a rectangular prism
  • Attributes, Units and Measurement Sense
    • Estimate, measure (i.e., using an analogue clock), and represent time intervals to the nearest second
    • Estimate and measure the perimeter and area of regular and irregular polygons, using a variety of tools and strategies

Grade 6: Measurement

  • Overall Expectations
    • Estimate, measure, and record quantities, using the metric measurement system
    • Determine the relationships among units and measurable attributes, including the area of a parallelogram, the area of a triangle, and the volume of a triangular prism

Curriculum Connections: Intermediate (Grades 7 – 10)

Science/Technology:

Grade 7: 

  • Understand Structures and Mechanisms
    • Overall – design and construct a variety of structures, and investigate the relationship between the design and function of these structures and the forces that act on them
    • 2.3 investigate the factors that determine the ability of a structure to support a load
    • 2.4 use technological problem-solving skills to determine the most efficient way for a structure
    • 2.5 investigate methods used by engineers to ensure structural safety

Grade 8:

Science

Understanding Structures and Mechanisms

  • Overall – investigate a working system and the ways in which components of the system
    contribute to its desired function

Developing Investigation and Communication Skills

  • 2.4 use technological problem-solving skills to investigate a system (e.g., an optical system, a mechanical system, an electrical system) that performs a function or meets a need

Grade 9 (Academic): 

  • Scientific Investigation Skills and Career Exploration
    • Demonstrate scientific investigation skills (related to both inquiry and research) in the four areas of skills (initiating and planning, performing and recording, analysing and interpreting, and communicating
    • Identify and describe a variety of careers related to the fields of science under study, and identify scientists, including Canadians, who have made contributions to those fields
  • Physics – The Characteristics of Electricity
    • Investigate, through inquiry, various aspects of electricity, including the properties of static and current electricity, and the quantitative relationships between potential difference, current, and resistance in electrical circuits
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of static and current electricity

Grade 9 (Applied):

  • Scientific Investigation Skills and Career Exploration
    • Demonstrate scientific investigation skills (related to both inquiry and research) in the four areas of skills (initiating and planning, performing and recording, analysing and interpreting, and communicating
    • Identify and describe a variety of careers related to the fields of science under study, and identify scientists, including Canadians, who have made contributions to those field

Grade 10 (Academic):

  • Scientific Investigation Skills and Career Exploration
    • Demonstrate scientific investigation skills (related to both inquiry and research) in the four areas of skills (initiating and planning, performing and recording, analysing and interpreting, and communicating
    • Identify and describe a variety of careers related to the fields of science under study, and identify scientists, including Canadians, who have made contributions to those field

Grade 10 (Applied):

  • Scientific Investigation Skills and Career Exploration
    • Demonstrate scientific investigation skills (related to both inquiry and research) in the four areas of skills (initiating and planning, performing and recording, analysing and interpreting, and communicating
    • Identify and describe a variety of careers related to the fields of science under study, and identify scientists, including Canadians, who have made contributions to those fields

Arts

Grade 7: Writing

  • 1.4 sort and classify ideas and information for their writing in a variety of ways that allow them to manipulate information and see different combinations and relationships in their data
  • 1.5 identify and order main ideas and supporting details and group them into units that could be used to develop a multi-paragraph piece of writing, using a variety of strategies
  • 2.1 write complex texts of different lengths using a wide range of forms
  • 2.4 vary sentence structures to give their writing rhythm and pacing by using a variety of connecting and/or introductory words and phrases

Grade 8: Writing

  • 1.4 sort and classify ideas and information for their writing in a variety of ways that allow them to manipulate information and see different combinations and relationships in their data
  • 1.5 identify and order main ideas and supporting details and group them into units that could be used to develop a summary, a debate, or a report of several paragraphs, using a variety of strategies
  • 2.1 write complex texts of a variety of lengths using a wide range of forms
  • 2.4 vary sentence types and structures for different purposes

Mathematics

Grade 7:

  • Measurement
    • Report on research into real-life applications of area measurements;
  • Geometry and Spatial Sense
    • Construct related lines, and classify triangles, quadrilaterals, and prisms
    • Develop an understanding of similarity, and distinguish similarity and congruence
  • Patterning and Algebra
    • Model real-life linear relationships graphically and algebraically, and solve simple algebraic equations using a variety of strategies, including inspection and guess and check

Grade 8:

  • Geometry and Spatial Sense
    • Develop geometric relationships involving lines, triangles, and polyhedra, and solve problems involving lines and triangles
  • Patterning and Algebra
    • Model linear relationships graphically and algebraically, and solve and verify algebraic equations, using a variety of strategies, including inspection, guess and check, and using a “balance” model

Grade 9 (Academic):

  • Linear Relations
    • Apply data-management techniques to investigate relationships between two variables
  • Measurement and Geometry
    • Determine, through investigation, the optimal values of various measurements;

Grade 9 (Applied):

  • Linear Relations
    • Apply data-management techniques to investigate relationships between two variables
      • Pose problems, identify variables, and formulate hypotheses associated with relationships between two variables
    • Measurement and Geometry
      • Determine, through investigation, the optimal values of various measurements of rectangles

Grade 10 (Applied):

  • Measurement and Trigonometry
    • Use their knowledge of ratio and proportion to investigate similar triangles and solve problems related to similarity.

Curriculum Connections: Senior (Grades 11 – 12)

Grade 11

Science: Physics (University Prep)

  • Kinematics
    • Investigate, in qualitative and quantitative terms, uniform and non-uniform linear motion, and solve related problems
    • Demonstrate an understanding of uniform and non-uniform linear motion, in one and two dimensions
  • Forces
    • Investigate, in qualitative and quantitative terms, net force, acceleration, and mass, and solve related problems
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between changes in velocity and unbalanced forces in one dimension
  • Energy and Society
    • Investigate energy transformations and the law of conservation of energy, and solve related problems
    • Demonstrate an understanding of work, efficiency, power, gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy, nuclear energy, and thermal energy and its transfer (heat).

Grade 12

Science: Physics (University Prep)

  • Dynamics
    • Investigate, in qualitative and quantitative terms, forces involved in uniform circular motion and motion in a plane, and solve related problems

Grade 12

Science: Physics (College Prep)

  • Motion and Its Application
    • Investigate, in qualitative and quantitative terms, the linear uniform and non-uniform motion of objects, and solve related problems
    • Demonstrate an understanding of different kinds of motion and the relationships between speed, acceleration, displacement, and distance
  • Mechanical Systems
    • Investigate forces, torque, work, coefficients of friction, simple machines, and mechanical advantage, and interpret related data

Industry Connections

With the rise of industries like technology, there are many industrial connections that can be made and linked to programmable robots and coding. Displaying these industrial connections to our students will better help them put their learning into context, link their learning to real-world applications, and answer the question: “why are we doing this?” Robots can be found in many sectors across the country, from health care to customer service. By allowing our students to engage with programmable robots while in the safety of our schools, we are setting them up for success once they enter the real world. Learning how robots move, how they are programmed, and how they interact with the environment around them will give students the necessary skills to succeed in our ever-changing world.

Example Industrial Connections:

Manufacturing

  • Automotive – Robots are used to manufacture cars.
  • Packaging – Many plants use robots to make their packing process faster and to not use as much manpower.

Health Care

  • Robots assist with procedures and/or surgeries.
  • They allow doctors to operate with precision.

Space Sector of Canada

  • When travelling up to space, astronauts use various robotic equipment to essentially make their lives easier.
  • Programming the spaceship to travel a certain distance, to a certain location, for a certain amount of time.

Machinery

  • Factories use machines/robots that make the process of creating materials, consumables, parts, and objects more efficient.

Robots are found in our everyday lives! Chances are you are somewhere in the vicinity of a robot right now!

References

Kurkovsky, S. (2013). Mobile Computing and Robotics in One Course: Why Not? Retrieved from http://www.cs.ccsu.edu/~stan/research/cseducation/iticse2013.pdf

Timberdoodle Co. (2016) SPRK Lessons. Retrieved from http://www.timberdoodle.com/Articles.asp?ID=387