For use with the LEGO NXT or EV3 robot kits, this Book of Challenges contains three robot competition courses - Drag Race, Clean Sweep, and Minefield. I usually do this activity after allowing students 8-10 days to design and build their robots, and after giving a very basic programming lesson.
In Drag Race, students must race to the finish line. But this is no mere test of speed! There are a number of requirements that must be met along the way. In Clean Sweep, students must move a pile of trash (random pieces of Legos) from the center of the challenge area to one of the four trash dump sections, then return to their exact start position. In Minefield, students must program their robots to navigate around a challenge course full of mines. If they touch a mine, their robot is disqualified! For the courses, I simply tape the outlines on the floor using electrical tape (it's easy to pull up once we are done!)
Each challenge is about precision, and as a result, each challenge requires a lot of math. But it's the same math for each challenge, so students get a lot of practice applying the same skills to different activities. In addition, these lessons give you opportunities to teach students how to think critically, calculate and analyze data (for example, big tires versus small tires and effect on speed), and apply design and engineering processes. Students also learn valuable technology skills (and note to teachers - if you've never programmed a Lego robot, don't be afraid - there are tutorial videos all over the internet!)
In all, this is very integrative STEM lesson that students love, and because it keeps both hands AND brains busy, it doesn't feel like learning.
Notes for Teachers are included on the last slide of the presentation, giving helpful tips and bits of advice. However, this is designed primarily for teachers who have experience teaching robotics, and are simply looking for robotic activities to challenge their students.
Use these challenges with Robot Challenge Map & Measure Worksheet, and with Robot Challenge Score Card template.