Robots in Motion
The Robots In Motion (RIM) research project stems from The Robot Algebra Project. The Robot Algebra project is a collaborative project the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) and Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy (CMU) to develop instructional materials designed to significantly improve robotic education’s ability to use robotic project-based learning activities to increase students’ mathematical competency. The goals of this project are to:
• Test and iteratively improve project-based instructional units which, when implemented effectively in educational settings, significantly increase students’ algebraic reasoning abilities
• Design the units & support materials in ways that are educative to both the educator and the student
• Evaluate the extent to which the unit & support materials have met goals one and two
• Increase the field’s understanding of how policy and organizational features shape instruction and learning outcomes.
Project Development and Resources
This project developed three instructional units designed to foreground measurement, direct proportionality, and indirect proportionality through robotics activities.
• Unit 1 B-U-G – In this unit, students learn about the iKnowMATION Corporation, a company that makes robots and needs to develop a process to ensure that their robots drive straight, turn accurately, and travels the correct speed. Students are required to develop testing methodologies that ensure that a new robot travels the correct distance, turns the correct angle, and travels the correct speed. In this activity, measurement is foregrounded.
• Unit 2 Asteroid 2012 JN4 – In this unit, students are tasked to program a robot on an asteroid that needs to explore specific areas of the asteroid. The robot has a limited power supply and therefore students need to program the robot accurately on their first attempt. The lessons focus on direct proportional relationships involving distance, turning, and speed. While solving the challenge students will explore the difference between using a unit rate or scaling strategy to solve the challenge.
• Unit 3 Bots-in-Sync – In this unit, students are asked to program several robots with different physical characteristics, different size wheels and different robot sizes, to dance in synchrony. Students will use lessons they learned while solving the B-U-G and Asteroid units to solve this challenge. Students will quickly find that they need to solve both direct and indirect proportional relationships to make the robots dance synchronously.