The Geometric Ideal vs The Real World
Geometric shapes seem really easy. Everyone knows what a square, rectangle and triangle look like.
Programming the robot to drive these shapes is a different story! Making the wheels turn 90° doesn't make the robot make a 90° turn. Our first job is to find what unique ratio we have to use to make accurate turns which takes a lot of meticulous work with a protractor and data collection.
We started with making squares using the most efficient code we could, and then rectangles, and then triangles of different shapes. Our final geometric challenge was making the robot travel the path to draw the starting Sierpinski's triangle.
It's also a great challenge to get the robot to draw shapes on the screen. Grid paper, rulers and calculators are vital to this task.
In the real world, robots don't drive in straight lines, angles aren't always perfect and there are these "chickens" (water bottles or books) that get in the way. Our real-world challenge was to travel lines to make the Sierpinski triangle but avoid running into "chickens" on the way. If you were going to run into a chicken, you had to leave the path, detour around the chicken and find your way back onto the path again and continue the rest of the way to complete the shape.
We had to use the ultrasonic sensor, light sensor and a lot of trial and error to make it work!
In some schools, if we have more time, we attach felt pens to the robot and have the robot draw the shapes on paper. It is always surprising to see how poorly the robot draws! Ah well, it is the real world and we can always appreciate the beauty of the geometric ideal in our imagination.