Brief Description:

Students must program their STOMPerBot to complete a task.

Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8

Time: 1 hour

Keywords: introduction to programming, loops, program, instructions, coding, code


Lesson Objectives

  • Students will be introduced to the concept of programming, understanding that very specific instructions must be given to a robot in order for it to understand what we want it to do
  • Students will learn the concept of a loop

Materials

  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • A STOMPer willing to sacrifice his/her body for the greater good  (Be the STOMPerBot)

Procedure

  1. Robots and computers use a completely different language than humans do. In order to communicate with robots, we must be able to give very specific instructions. These instructions are recorded as code. Because robots cannot think for themselves, we must input all of the information/tasks for the robot within this code.  
  2. Today, one of their STOMP teachers has been turned into a robot and they must write code for them to be able to function. One STOMP fellow will act as the robot while the other records the code on the board.
  3. To get the students used to “thinking like a robot” write a practice code as a whole class. This code can be for a dance (hokie pokie, macarena, chicken dance, dab, etc). Let the students think of the first few steps of the dance, raise their hands, and share with the class. Remind them that it must be very specific in order for the STOMPerBot to understand it.
    1. If the dance is the macarena, a good first step would be “Lift right arm out in front with the palm facing the ground”
    2. If a student does not give something specific enough, make sure the robot STOMPer does an exaggeratedly incorrect movement! Ex: “move your right arm” is too vague so the STOMPer should just start flailing his/her arm around.
  4. Allow students to continue giving instructions until the dance is complete.
  5. To repeat the dance, introduce the concept of a loop. This will save them from having to rewrite the entire code down a second time.
  6. Once students are comfortable with formulating specific instructions for the STOMPerBot, challenge them with writing a code for a different task (like getting from one side of the room to the other).
    1. Remind them that a robot would not understand the command “walk” so they must detail the mechanics of walking as part of their code.
    2. Students can get the STOMPerBot from one side of the room to the other using whatever method they want to, provided that it is in the code. They can have the STOMPerBot walk around the classroom, roll, somersault, climb desks/chairs, and jump across the classroom. (Although this sounds ridiculous, it really keeps the students engaged and they are much more excited about accurately programming their teacher into doing something silly than they would be otherwise! See attached videos for examples)
  7. Allow students to partner up and write their code. Make sure they actually write it down; this makes it easier when it comes time to present. They can test it by having themselves or their partner walk through it.
  8. After everyone has finished writing their code, each group gets to present, giving the instructions to the STOMPerBot to see if he/she can get across the room in one piece.

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