Coding for kids

Today we explore some fantastic student projects and delve into the theme of Coding for Kids.

Learning to program has come a long way over the last few years. Not long ago, coding was a discipline that could only be taught in late high-school and university level. The advent of STEM education has brought the world of coding to primary school. Check out the latest programming projects made by our robotics students this term.


Object detection.

Our newest students learn how robots use sensors to detect movement just like how our eyes detect light. In the 'Milo' projects, all the foundation skills on using the coding software, following detailed instructions and experimenting with code are introduced in a fun and engaging environment.
Over time, the challenges become more difficult, and students gradually receive less guidance from the text and learn to develop their own strategies for solving problems.


Precision turning.

Moving a robot with precision is a deceptively difficult task. Even slight differences in motors, weight distribution and battery levels can affect the overall precision of even the most complex machinery. To complicate things further, environment factors like dust, wind, and surface conditions also affect a robot's accuracy. 
In the example above, students use the LEGO gyroscopic sensor to improve robot accuracy and complete the 'satellite dish' mission in the FLL practice map. The 'gyro' is actually a magnetrometer that detects the rate-of-change in the sensor's angle. This allows our robot to make highly precise turns to complete missions.


Line following logic

A robot perceives its environment through its sensors, and students learn to understand how robots see the world.
Following a black line on a surface is an important challenge that introduces students to the idea of 'switch' logic.
In this example, students command a robot to check the reflected light intensity of the table by using a colour sensor attached to the front of the robot. 
By comparing whether the reading is white or black, the robot will underpower one of its motors in order to stay on track. 
Students then optimise the power differences between motors to improve the robot's line-following performance. 


Variables and applied maths

In advanced programming, students learn the importance of incorporating variables and applying maths in their code to make their robots even more robust and reliable by examining and researching complex code.
The code example above shows how a robot uses an ultrasonic sensor to move parallel to a wall at a constant distance. 
A variable 'dist' is set at the start of the code, and it is used as a reference when comparing the robot's actual distance to the wall using the ultrasonic sensor.
If the robot senses that it is drifting away from the wall, it will steer back towards the wall, and if it senses that it is too close it will steer away.

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