Over spring break 15 students, 1 instructor, 1 alum of Project Exploration and countless engineers from Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) convened at the Union League Boys and Girls Club to conquer Lego Mindstorms! Students learned the basics of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) used to program Web Pages. Terms such as tags, headers, body and more were explored.
The boys quickly got the terminology and its functionality, embedding images, links, adjusting the color and size on their own webpages. A journal activity was included into the program to explore different topics. For this specific program we chose Fear, an emotion that could trigger solutions or numb us in matter of seconds. Boys starting by defining what is fear for them in a group discussion, then they were asked to list five of their own personal fears.
Volunteer engineers from TCS lead students through coding and programming the robots they built in teams the previous day. Each team coded basic exercises such as moving it forward, backwards, then rotation. Features such as speed and motors control were explored as well.
The goal this time was to use the basic features of the robot and follow a red path using a special feature these robots have which is a scanner capable of reading seven different colors. The Beatles team won one minute before the time was up. It was an emotional moment for everyone considering the fact that they had a couple of hours to familiarize with the software and this very last task was resolved by the kids themselves not volunteers involved.
After a day of building their robot, then a day of programming the students had the final challenge. This time each robot’s team were to identify four different colors in the mat without rolling out of the mat. The task was hard and required a team effort and a lot of trial and error.