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Introduction to lego mindstorms nxt presented by Jackie de Vries, Elm Creek School


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Introduction to LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT

Presented by Jackie de Vries, Elm Creek School



jdevries@prsdmb.ca


The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT set is a robotics kit designed by the LEGO Group that allows users to create programmable robots.
There are three main parts to using the NXT set:

  1. Building the robot

    1. Motors (allow it to drive, swivel, launch, etc.)

    2. Sensors (light, sound, touch, ultrasonic)

    3. Cables

    4. Additional LEGO pieces (beams, axles, gears, pegs)




  1. Programming the robot

    1. Very easy to use program (drag-and-drop)

    2. Can tell the robot where to go, how to respond to its surroundings, which sensor to read, etc.




  1. Activating the robot

    1. After downloading the program to the robot, the robot can be activated using the buttons on the NXT Intelligent Brick


Curriculum Connections

  • Science (Design Process)

    • Grade 5: Forces and Simple Machines

    • Grade 7: Forces and Structures

    • Grade 11: Physics

  • Electronics

  • Computer Programming


Some things to consider when using the NXT sets:


  • Time: during class time (1 – 2 weeks), full day (1 – 2 days)




  • Space: room to test robots, computers to do programming, room that can be locked




  • Grouping: 2 – 4 students, variety of learning styles




  • Roles: assign roles such as “Piece Master”, “Instruction Guru”




  • Use step-by-step instructions as a starting point




  • Use an inquiry approach or scaffolding approach

    • Scaffolding approach activities

      • Meri V. Cummings

      • http://www.cet.edu/robotics/

LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT in Prairie Rose School Division




  • Additional NXT sets in PRSD

    • Carman Collegiate

      • 1 NXT set

      • 1 resource kit




    • Iberville School

      • 2 NXT sets

      • 1 resource kit


Book Resources
The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide (David J. Perdue)

  • introduction to the NXT sets

  • explanation of pieces

  • practical building techniques (step-by-step instructions)


The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Idea Book

  • instructions for programming and building various robots


Internet Resources
LEGO MINDSTORMS (http://www.mindstorms.com)

- building instructions, product information, advanced resources


NXTLOG (http://www.mindstorms.com/nxtlog)

- display of robot creations, contests


MINDSTORMS NXT Building Instructions (http://www.freewebs.com/legorobots)

- free building instructions


LEGO Education (http://www.legoeducation.com)
You Tube – many video clips are available (Rubix Cube Solver, Segway, Roboflush)
More links and additional information can be found at: http://www.nxtguide.davidjperdue.com (companion website for The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide

Scaffolding Approach Activities

  • borrowed from Meri V. Cummings, Ph.D. http://www.cet.edu/robotics/


Challenge 1: Line Program

  • Create and test a program to make the robot go forward in a straight line for exactly 1 second




  • Save your program as your first name and Line


Challenge 2: Square Program

  • Create and test a program to make the robot go in a square




  • Save your program as your first name and Square


Challenge 3: Light Dark Program




  • Save your program as your first name and Light Dark


Challenge 4: Tracker Program




  • Save your program as your first name and Tracker




  • Hints: You need a loop, and it’s easier if the robot starts at less than a 90° angle


Challenge 5: Bump Program

  • Create a program to make the robot:

    • Go forward until it finds a wall

    • Turn moving backward for 2 seconds

    • Repeat these behaviors for 5 “wall bumps”




  • Save your program as your first name and Bump




  • Hint: You’ll need to use wait until Touch in for the first step.



Bonus: Beep Challenge

  • Create a program to make the robot:

  • Save your program as your first name and Beep


Other Possibilities:

  • Give a list of criteria:


    • Robot Evaluation

      BE

      AP

      ME

      Design

      Areas of design interfere with operation of robot.

      Slight problems that do not stop the robot from functioning.

      Practical and functional design that allows the robot to complete its task.

      Programming

      Basic programming, minimal editing with features and options.

      Some creativity applied, program is functional and uses some features and options.

      Creative and well-planned program utilizing many features of the program.

      Sensors / Motors

      1 – 2 motors or sensors are used successfully.

      Robot operates successfully with 3 sensors.

      At least 4 sensors and motors are used creatively.




      Purpose / Task

      The robot attempts to complete a task.

      The robot has some success with the assigned task.

      The robot successfully completes a number of tasks or functions.
      Forward movement

    • Backward movement

    • 360° turn

    • Sound sensor

    • Touch sensor

    • Stop before bumping into anything



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