Teaching Teens Technology
To help share our enthusiasm for on the topic, several of our members recently held our first two-hour Introduction to Programming class for elementary through high school students at the Emma S. Clark Library.
The evening started with us operating our VEX robots using remote controls, trying to navigate a simple course. Once this was mastered, the next task was to use the arm/claw mechanism to pick up and deliver various foam blocks to different points on the game table. At this point, the remote controls were taken away and the goal was to repeat the course in autonomous mode.
Autonomous operation requires that code is written using a variation of C++ that would enable the robot to travel the distance of the track in a sequence of “basketball drills,” crossing one line then traveling back to the start, turn around, then travel to a line further down the table. Students were given instructions on how to write code and then the code was downloaded onto the robots and tested. After each section of code was proven to work correctly additional code was added until the course was completed.