Introduction to Programming provides a structured sequence of programming activities in real-world project-based contexts. The projects are designed to get students thinking about the patterns and structure of not just robotics, but also programming and problem-solving more generally.
By the end of the curriculum, students should be better thinkers, not just coders.
What are the Learning Objectives?
- Basic concepts of programming
- Sequences of commands
- Intermediate concepts of programming
- Program Flow Model
- Simple (Wait For) Sensor behaviors
- Decision-Making Structures
- Engineering practices
- Building solutions to real-world problems
- Problem-solving strategies
What are the Big Ideas taught in the Introduction to
Introduction to Programming uses robots, and covers robotics content, but ultimately seeks to give students experience and access to a much broader set of skills and perspectives called Computational Thinking.
- Big Idea #1: Programming is Precise
If you want a robot to do something, you need to communicate that idea with mathematical and logical precision, or it won’t quite be what you intended.
- Big Idea #2: Sensors, Programs, and Actions
Data from sensors gives a robot information about its environment. A program uses that data to make decisions, and the robot Acts on those decisions. Data underlies the core of the entire process.
- Big Idea #3: Make Sense of Systems
To understand the way something works, construct a mental “model” of it in your head that captures the important features and rules of the system. This helps you make sense of it, and also gives you a tool to “play out” (similar) new scenarios in your head to predict what would happen.
- Big Idea #4: Break Down Problems and Build Up Solutions
To solve a difficult problem, try breaking it down into smaller problems. Then, solve the smaller problems, building up toward a solution to the big problem.
- Big Idea #5: Computational Thinking Applies Everywhere
- These skills – mathematical and logical clarity, using data, systems thinking with mental models, and problem solving – are not just for robotics. They are key to solving many problems in the world.
|1. Moving Straight
||Motors, Sequences of Commands, Block Settings, Downloading and Running Programs, Move Steering Block
||Turning, Types of Turns, Move Steering vs. Move Tank Block
|3. Move Until Touch
||Sensors, Wait For Block, Touch Sensor, Move Until Behaviors
|4. Move Until Near
||Ultrasonic Sensor, Thresholds
|5. Turn for Angle
||Gyro Sensor, Compensating for Sensor Error
|6. Move until Color
||Loops, Patterns of Behavior
||Switches, Conditional Reasoning
||Obstacle Detection Behavior, Repeated Decisions Pattern
|10. Line Follower (Mini-Unit)
||Line Following (a Repeated Decisions Pattern Behavior)
|11. Final Challenges
||Cumulative Application of Skills and Knowledge