Monday, September 30, 2013

Damien Kee Lego EV3 Book Review: Chapters 1 and 2

If you work with Lego products, then you know of Damien Kee. If not, then you are truly missing out and need to connect yourself with this amazing person and thinker.

I recently purchased his latest book Classroom Activities for the Busy Teacher: EV3 and am working my way through the chapters when time allows.

I am going to be reviewing this book in chunks by chapters and concepts. This post will cover chapters 1 and 2.

To start with you need to follow his build instructions. This build takes very little time. It was super easy to build. Much easier than the Lego EV3 build. I would say it is not as sturdy, but for learning about the robot and making your way through this book, it works perfectly and I even have a few students using his build for their work as we speak.

Chapter 1 is just an overview of the book and how the ideas would play out in a classroom.

Chapter 2 is really where it starts. This chapter focuses on how to program the RileyRover to move. He covers Move Steering and all the options that come with this block. The visuals and layout are easy to read and understand.

What I liked about this chapter is that he mentions the math and calculations for determining circumference. As an educator and coach it drives me crazy when kids continue to just plug and chug. If they took the time to measure the wheels they would save so much time. They don't always believe me, but once they do they realize how simple of a concept this really is.

Once the robot has been programmed to move straight, then it becomes time to work on turning. He makes it clear that each robot is different and therefore no one number will be the answer. When I went through trying to make my robot go 360 degrees it took a programming turn of 840 degrees to move it in a complete circle. To turn 180 degrees I had to program my robot to go 425 degrees with the Steering Block. It need just a bit more than I though.

Last, a couple things I learned from experimenting.

1. Negative power = backward steering
2. 1 rotation of basic wheels is 6.9 inches or we use 7 inches as a standard
3. Move steering blocks controls the wheels, not the whole robot so ....... 360 degrees does not go full circle!

Next up I will cover chapters 3 and discuss how this chapter is important for documenting learning and especially for teams doing First Lego League.

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