Virtual Robotics

This course combines the world of Minecraft with space exploration and astronomy!

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About this course

We all know that robots make Computer Science come to life with real world applications. Now STEM learning can continue while at home for students, teachers and mentors with no access to their VEX robots.  

VEXcode VR is an easy to use platform that allows you to code a virtual robot using either a Block-based coding environment powered by Scratch Blocks in the beginner level, or a custom developed Text-based Python and C++ interface in levels two and three.  

These robots are pre-built and virtual. They use drivetrains to navigate, use sensors to help solve mazes, and use pen features on the art canvas to code a creative drawing. There is also the new electromagnet to interact with game objects in challenges.  

What you'll learn

Begin the journey into learning Computer Science with the VEXcode VR Computer Science Level 1 - Blocks course! Using VEXcode VR and engaging robotics-based activities, students will learn about project flow, loops, conditionals, algorithms.  

  • Unit 1: Introduction and Fundamentals - This unit introduces students to VEXcode VR and how easy it is to use. We outline the structure for the course, giving students a preview of what’s to be expected, and providing them with the tools to be successful.  
  • Unit 2: Moving your Robot - In this unit students will solve the Castle Crasher challenge. They will learn how to use the VR Robot’s Drivetrain commands in order to move around the Castle Crasher Playground. They will also learn how to sequence commands correctly in order to knock over all castles on the playground.  
  • Unit 3: Repeating Behaviours - In this unit, students will solve the Draw a House Challenge using the Pen tool on the VR Robot to draw different shapes in the Art Canvas Playground by using loops to repeat a set of behaviours multiple times.  
  • Unit 4: Navigating a Maze - This unit will show students how to use sensor input to navigate the VR Robot regardless of its surroundings, instead of “hard-coding” movement with only Drivetrain commands. This is an important first step in being able to build an effective algorithm. Students will work on the Wall Maze Challenge to navigate their robot through the maze using the Bumper Sensor and Wait block to solve the Wall Maze Challenge.  
  • Unit 5: Detecting Walls from a Distance - In this unit, students will navigate the VR Robot from start to finish through the Wall Maze Challenge without bumping into walls. We will use the distance sensor on the VR Robot with comparison blocks to solve the challenge.  
  • Unit 6: Knowing Your Location - In this unit, students will complete the Drive to Three Numbers challenge and use the Location Sensor to navigate the VR Robot to three different numbered locations on the Number Grid Map Playground. Students will apply blocks from the Drivetrain, Sensing, and Control categories in the correct sequence in order to solve the Drive to Three Numbers Challenge.  
  • Unit 7: Decisions with Colours: In this unit, students will be introduced to the importance of conditional statements. You will explore why conditionals, such as the [if then] block need to be used with loops, such as [Forever] blocks, in order for the VR Robot to behave as intended. Students will then learn how to use the Eye Sensor and conditional statements to solve the Disk Maze Challenge. In the Disk Maze Playground, the VR Robot will navigate through the Disk Maze Playground from start to finish using the Eye Sensor to detect colours.  
  • Unit 8: Moving Disks with Loops - In this unit, you will learn the importance of sensor feedback and nesting loops. Students will learn how to use the Electromagnet on the VR Robot to pick up and drop disks to solve the Disk Mover Challenge.  
  • Unit 9: Developing Algorithms - In this unit, students are introduced to algorithms. Back in Unit 2, they solved the Castle Crasher Challenge on a Playground where the layout did not change. in this unit, they will have to solve the same challenge, but on a Playground that changes the layout with each reset. This introduces the need for an algorithm that uses sensor feedback instead of a sequence of simple commands.  

In addition to instructions and assignments within each unit, students will be giving a full history of 20th century robotics and the contrast to current technology. Weekly quizzes are given that cover the past week’s reading and assignments on the virtual robotics testing board.  

On average, students will work on each lesson over a 2-week period with assignments that include readings and practice to complete independently.

Structure per lesson: The first 30 minutes of class involves a review of the past week’s material followed by a short quiz connected to reading assignments. It is very important that students can screen share a demonstration of the robot assignment. The remaining 60 minutes introduces students to new mechanics and practical applications according to the unit plan included above.  

Materials & Homework

  • Practice is essential for mastery of any discipline. For a successful outcome to a semester course in robotics, a recommended 60 minutes of weekly practice is essential to maximizing the learning outcomes for the course components and for graduation into levels 2 and 3.  
  • Students are not required to buy a Vex Robotics kit to engage in this course. In fact, the Lego Sprike Prime kit is, in my opinion, the best robotics kit for students in grades 2 through 8. That said, the virtual environment that Vex provides is an excellent steppingstone to programming a robot with full use of sensors for decision making.  
  • All of the practice and assignments will be run in the browser (Chrome or Firefox preferred) of any desktop PC, laptop, or Chromebook. iPads with an internet connection are fine for practice of assignments but not encouraged for class work as students will need to screen share their work for teacher and classroom assessment.  

What our students are saying

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Shelly Zheng
Headmaster, Focus Learning

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Shelly Zheng
Headmaster, Focus Learning

Meet the Teacher!

$720

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Grades:
3-5
Duration:
16 weeks
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$720

FocusLearning's Course Registration is powered by ActiveWorks™! Use the button below to navigate to FocusLearning's course catalogue on ActiveWorks.com and sign up for your favourite courses today! 

Grades:
3-5
Duration:
16 weeks
REGISTER
Powered By